The topics of discussion for the last few days of any year are so predicable. The weight we have put on over Christmas, the ongoing battle with the cigarettes, the decision to go to bed earlier and get up earlier, maybe we could get fitter, walk more, maybe even run, spend less, save more. Before we know it we are into the realm of resolution. The R word! Even people who make up their mind, that’s it, never again will they make a New Year’s resolution, find, come the 28th or 29tH of December, it is very difficult not to think about what they might do
differently in the coming twelve months.

Apart from the preoccupation with resolutions, the media will be taken up with either looking back or looking ahead. We will be presented with endless reviews of 2016. All sorts of celebrities will be asked for their own personal highs and lows of last year. In addition to this there will be many questions regarding the New Year. These questions will sooner or later take the form of speculation, as in people being asked for their predictions for 2017. Now a lot of this is pretty harmless and is very useful ‘media- filler’ at what can be a slack time of year for news. However there is a very real sense in which all this looking back and forward is a complete waste of time. This is particularly true from a spiritual perspective.

It might be useful to just very briefly to take a look at the end of another year and the beginning of a new year, but to do so through a spiritual lens. Let’s have a glance at 2016.

Is there much debris? Did you blow up any emotional bridges? Should you have blown up some of these bridges?

Let’s decode that. What precisely does that mean?

Well did you slam the door on anybody? Not necessarily physically but metaphorically. Is there anybody you gave up on? Is there any row outstanding? Are you waiting on her ringing, or him calling with you? Is there any company that you keep, or relationship that you are in, that is toxic to your soul? There are many reasons not to leave the debris of 2016 lying there to fester and get worse….

SOUL HEALTH WARNING!!! It is not a good idea to leave the mess of last year piling up on the sidewalk of life. This has the nasty habit of causing problems later, either this side of the tomb or the other side. Since we are speaking of our spiritual life believe it or not there is nothing more toxic for our souls than resentment or lack of forgiveness. The ultimate Spa Treatment for your Soul is Confession, the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Maybe the main concern of 2016 is not actually damage done and more like,all that was not done!! The good news is you still have time, admittedly we do not know how much time, but the chances are, since you are reading this, that you have some. The likelihood is, if you choose, you have time to build a few bridges.

Enough of that! Let’s keep the spiritual lens on and have a quick glance at 2017.

It is very interesting to note whether your starting point is more dread and foreboding or enthusiasm and excitement. This may in fact reveal something about the state of your spiritual health. If, when you think of the New Year, you have fear and gloom, then it tells you, you are spiritually unwell, or at the very least that you could be in better spiritual shape. Fear is the opposite of freedom and is not what the Lord wants for you. Dread and gloom are enemies of one of the most important Christian virtues namely, hope. Let’s at least start 2017 well. Let’s start 2017 with a few spiritual press-ups! Let’s begin with hope and confidence. Let’s circle the wagons. If God is for us who can be against. Let’s rally the troops, starting with the guardian angels. Let’s immerse  ourselves in the Holy Family. Lest steep ourselves in the Holy Spirit! Who is our patron saint? Who is our favourite Saint? Do we allow Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to take us by the hand?

If for a moment to play the resolution game, but to do so with the spiritual lens on what might 2017 benefit from… Drink more water, more fresh air. Read a few lines of the Gospel every day, maybe before going to bed. Read a psalm a week. Make friends with the Guardian Angel. Weekly Rosary. Read a spiritual book, there’s one recommended every week in this newsletter. Befriend silence. Make a novena, or even a pilgrimage. Choose a priest you can talk to, for a chat, confession or both. Some of the EWTN stuff is good, as is some of Spirit Radio’s . Form a lectio Divina group. Get a spiritual director. Do the Stations of the Cross on a Friday. Make a point of coming to St. Matthew’s at 7.30 pm on the First Friday of every month. Try and talk to somebody who
loves Jesus.

2017 is going to be bright , brilliant and beautiful. Let’s make up our mind now to grab it as the gift, that it is, and with God’s grace make it the best yet! I PRAY THAT 2017 MAY BE FILLED WITH MANY OF GOD’S GIFTS FOR YOU AND ALL WHOM YOU LOVE, AND BY THE END OF 2017, MAY YOU KNOW JESUS AND HIS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR YOU BETTER THAN EVER.


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