|With yesterday's dawn,
a new year arrived--
new decade, in fact,
a major milestone in the way we human ones
According to God's time, all dawns are new beginnings,
continual reenactments of that first dawn of Creation,
the birth of that great fire ball
that brought us into being
and blessed us from the first:
the wheel keeps turning; the cycle doesn't cease
or even pause;
each moment speaks of newness
and the chance for new beginnings and fresh insights--
why wait, then, for man-made milestones
every year or thousand
to begin again the building of our lives upon this earth?
But wait we do, in our human sort of way,
and so, with the dawn of a new age--
better late than never--
let us resolve yet again
to begin yet again.
As I start to list the changes needed,
hopes and dreams to be deferred no longer,
the list grows long, too long.
My list is not unique, I know:
Five billion lists like mine our planet needs
to be born over.
So many deeds cry out to be done,
and always urgently.
Time passes; the world moves on...
Another millennium squandered would be too long:
It is time to seize the hour and seize the day, we know.
But that takes real work.
It is so much easier merely to despair,
Or return again to life on the surface of things,
where nothing is born,
and nothing changes.
With so many virtues, so many hopes
crying out to be nurtured within our souls,
the question nags:
Where do we begin
to begin again?
These seven, chosen centuries ago
seem as good a place as any:
May this fresh, new century--
Ours to foster or to ruin--
bring to me, and you, and all of us
these seven virtues of the mind and soul:
May we have Justice:
a deep, inner sense
that as great as our personal bliss may be,
we have no right to enjoy it at the expense of others,
and that we can never be truly happy
in a world that is unjust.
May we have Prudence:
We modern ones have become so used
to having it all, spending it all, saying it all;
may we return to a sense
that there is, sometimes, great wisdom
in saving something
for the morrow,
that there can be even greater wisdom
in leaving some words unspoken,
and even some deeds undone.
May we have Fortitude:
May we have the courage to stand alone
if need be--
to sacrifice even the comfortable, easy parts of who we are
for that whom we can become.
And then there's Temperance,
no longer a virtue merely fold old spinsters on a crusade:
in a society as wed to its addictions as ours is,
temperance may be the virtue we'll need most
to survive the years that are before us,
and to remind us that, sometimes,
the body, like the soul,
grows more by subtraction than by addition.
And then, the final three,
added by Christian hand at later date,
but speaking still down the ages to us:
Faith, hope, and love--
We'll need them, too,
a sense of inner knowing
that miracles can happen,
that life can be born over,
that new things are always possible,
that everything can change on a new year's day...
that we, can, somehow
witness the day of our own rebirth,
and dare to do those things
to help the world
be born anew as well;
For we know:
It has to happen sometime.
It has to happen somewhere.
What better time than now?
What better place than here?
And with hope engaged in
our hearts and minds and souls
no force of heaven or hell can stop us now.
And may we have, now more than ever,
Love-- simple love:
Tielhard de Chardin once said that when
we had finished all our human building and tinkering and
harnessing and doing
and finally turned ourselves to learning to love
we would have taken part
in the second discovery of fire.
It's time. Now
as we set our feet, at first tentatively
in this first year
of this first century
of this brand new age
(at least how we reckon it).
to kindle new fires
It's time to love
and to listen:
to listen to one another,
and really hear what others might be saying to us;
to listen to our own deep inner voice,
and discern, at last,
our highest ideals and most noble aspirations;
to listen to the voice of God--
beneath the clamor, beneath the gaily ringing bells,
beneath the rage, beneath the incessant noise of society's damnable machine:
to listen to the voice of God,
still and small,
but all-powerful and wise
speaking in our ever newly reborn souls.
A blessed and peaceful New Year to you all.
Blessed be. Amen.