Here are my wishes for you for the New Year:
I wish you PEACE…but not complete peace. For total peace and calm in life could cause laziness, stagnation, rust, even death. No, I wish you peace with sufficient accompanying winds…some gentle…others strong…so that you, like a good sailing vessel, will use the winds of your life to keep you moving forward.
I wish you LIGHT…but not complete light. For good things happen in the darkness as well as in the light. In the darkness we rest and regain our strength. In the darkness seeds germinate and babies develop. And in the darkness the moon and the stars shine brightest. I wish you light, yes, but I also wish you enough darkness for you to rest and regain your strength…Enough darkness for your good intentions to germinate into loving deeds…And enough darkness to allow you to gaze in wonder at the moon and the stars.
I wish you JOY…but not complete joy. For in every heart there must be a corner for sadness to come and rest…Sadness for all that is not yet right or good in the world. I wish you joy, yes, but I also wish you enough sadness to remind you that your work on earth is not finished yet…Enough sadness for you to keep striving to bring more kindness and truth and justice into our world.
I wish you LOVE…but not complete love. For perfect love would make us proud and satisfied with ourselves…No, it is precisely the acceptance of imperfect love (our own and that of others) that helps us grow in humility, patience, and understanding… And imperfect love helps us recognize our profound need for God whose name we also know is Love.
I wish you COURAGE…but not continuous courage. For continuous courage would make us insensitive to the fears of others. I wish you courage that can coexist with doubt and fear…I wish you not the blaring courage of a gladiator wielding a sword in the arena…No, I wish you the quiet courage of a crocus pushing itself up through the snow.
I wish you HOPE…but not the kind of hope that glosses over the pain of others…not the kind that goes around saying, “Cheer up!” to everyone in mourning and in tears. No, I wish you the kind of hope that understands loss and pain…the hope that accepts limitations without succumbing to cynicism…the hope that rests not in ourselves but squarely in God.
And I wish you a very Happy New Year!
In honor of the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, about 100 Carmelite Sisters from around the world formed a virtual choir. Here is one of the songs they sing, a composition written by Sr. Claire Sokol, OCD, based on St. Teresa’s famous bookmark, “Let nothing disturb you.” It sung in Spanish, so I’ve included the English translation below. Each Sister sang her part wherever she lives. All the voices and faces were recorded and blended together to form the choir. As they sing, a collage of Carmelite Saints is shown in the background. How fitting to hear Teresa’s words as we begin a New Year:
Let nothing disturb you…Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing away…God does not change.
Patience achieves everything…
Whoever has God lacks nothing…God alone suffices.
What are your wishes for the New Year?