Wednesday, 1 January 2014

At The Turning of The Year

I do not make resolutions for the new year. I suppose I am old enough to know that being resolute about changes in one's life must be a daily project, a process of responding to the grace of the moment.

What one is inclined to do, however, is look towards another 365 days with either trepidation or hope, apathy or excitement, perplexity or clarity.

It is the nature of humans to be optimistic about the future. Few people actually "fear" or "dread" unknown future events. As we know we are not like God, Who sees all events, things, people as in the "now", the ever-present of His Immortality and Omniscience, we see things linearly, looking towards the past for clues, hints, patterns of the future.

Too often, some think "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." But, for the Christian, especially for the Catholic, this pessimism seems unnatural, forced, even in the yearly celebrations which surround us at this time.

When one is very young, one feels completely immortal, potent, without fear. A young person takes risks, is creative, willing to change.

For many who are older, fear and the experience of failure creep into the psyche causing a reluctance to accept μετἀνοια, that daily turning around, daily repentance, and acceptance of the new, which is being offered to the soul.

When I was studying Scripture for my degree so long ago, I felt the power of the meaning of metanoia when I first studied this word- “change of Mind, a change in the trend and action of the whole inner nature, intellectual, affectional and moral." Partly because I had superb teachers, I knew the real meaning of the word as the turning, the change of the entire person and all the faculties.

The changing of the intellectual means learning to think like a Catholic. The purification of the intellect and the imagination comes from accepting metanoia.

The changing of the affectional means the changing of the heart, the leaving of all attachments which keep one from God. One learns to love God first, making this love a priority in one's life. This is the purification of the heart.

The turning from immorality in both thought and deed, and even more, the denying of self, is the process of metanoia regarding the moral, the purification of the will.

These turnings make our lives ever new, ever fresh, like the dawning of 2014.

Can we not turn and turn and turn again towards the Light of the new this day and every day, becoming, like a mini-spiritual Merlin, younger and younger in the Life of Christ?

Happy New Year!

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