Tag Archives: New Year

A New Year Is Here

new year

Looking at the New Year, Karl Rahner speaks of our need for “a mysticism of everyday life.” It’s not in big things God’s grace will be found, but in steady, commonplace living. Accepting time in small dimensions readies us for its big moments.

“The New Year is coming.  A year like all the rest.  A year of trouble and disappointment with myself and others. When God is building the house of our eternity, he puts up fine scaffolding in order to carry out the work. So fine, that we may prefer to live in it.

“The trouble is we find it is taken down again and again. We call that dismantling the painful fragility of life. We lament and become melancholy if we look at the new year and see only the demolition of the house of our life, which is really being quietly built up for eternity behind this scaffolding that’s put up and taken down again.

“No, the coming year is not a year of disappointment or a year of pleasing illusions. It’s God’s year. The year when decisive hours are approaching me quietly and unobtrusively, and the fullness of my time is coming. Shall I notice these hours? Or will they be empty, because they seem too small, too humble and commonplace?

“Outwardly they won’t look different and can be overlooked: the slight patience it takes to make life slightly more tolerable for those around me; the omission of an excuse; risking good faith in someone I’m inclined to mistrust because I’ve had an bad experience with them before; accepting someone’s criticism of me; allowing an injury done to me to die away, without complaining, bitterness or revenge; being faithful to prayer without being rewarded by “consolations” or “religious experience”; trying to love those who get on my nerves (through their fault, of course); trying to see in someone else’s stupidity an intelligence that is not mine; not trading on my virtues to justify my faults; suppressing my complaints and omitting self-praise.”

Rahner doesn’t glamorize everyday mysticism. It can be both tough and boring. “Even the saints yawn sometimes, and have to shave.”

K. Rahner, The Great Church Year, New York 1994  p. 85

Totus Tuus, Maria!

“The Virgin has given birth to the Savior (4 panels)”
From the Liturgy of the Hours, January 1, Morning Prayer, Antiphon 1
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

Totus Tuus (“totally yours” or “all yours”) was the personal and episcopal motto of St. John Paul II. The motto is inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort who wrote:

Tuus totus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt...

I am all yours, and all that I have is yours, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, your most holy Mother.

Treatise on True Devotion, n. 233

Morning Thoughts: New Year, New Love



Mary Cassatt, “Breakfast in Bed”, 1897


Lord, a new year is upon us.

Help us.

Help us to be grateful.

Gracious and grateful.

Gracious, grateful, and giving.

You give and you take away.

Nothing but Your love is truly ours.

For love You give and love You never take away.

Love only love.

Love just love.

What is it, Lord? What is Your love?

A million answers.

Each of us could probably come up with a thousand.

It’s times such as these that You are not silent, although You don’t seem to say a word.

You answer. You have and will always continue to do so.

You gave Your Only Begotten Son.

A tiny babe. A beautiful child. A strong young man. A fearless leader. A lamb to be slaughtered.

You gave the Tree of Life.

You threw it into the River.

You made all that is bitter sweet.

You gave the Sign of the Cross.

You wrote Your name upon our foreheads.

You gave us a mother, and common brothers and sisters, and holy angels and saints, all of whom we are free to call friends.

Yes, You gave us love.

But what is it, Lord?

We know love exits and we know it does not come from ourselves.

Even for those who say You don’t exist.

To them we could point at the ocean, or the sky—the sun, the moon, and the stars—or even a simple common everyday tree—a single leaf of grass.

“Who made them?”, we can ask.

“Who but God alone?”

Who but You, Lord God, Who willed not to be alone?

You willed love.

You willed Yourself.

Proof of Your existence is You don’t need it.

For nothing will prove You, for nothing can disprove You.

For the love You send is not only born, crucified, and risen, it also ascends.

Above all knowledge.

Into Heaven.

Pure and simple.


Knowledge that You love us.

You truly love us.

Little old us.

That is what You love.

The object of Your love.

The product of Your love.

We are Your love.

Thank You, Lord.


—Howard Hain


Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The Passionists have daily reflections on the Mass readings and I was the reflector for today:

The final days of the year are days for looking back and looking ahead.  It’s a favorite time for pundits and experts of all kind to take their seats on radio and television talk shows to measure the times.  They mostly see the past and future through the lens of politics and economics. Power and money explain it all, they say.  But do they?

Our readings for today advise measuring things differently. “Children, it is the last hour; ?and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,? so now many antichrists have appeared.” A grim assessment isn’t it? St. John’s 1st Letter seems to paint the times dark and haunted by evil spirits.

Yet, the opening words of his gospel that follow look beyond the darkness, beyond time and space, to the beginning of it all.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The Word of God, Jesus Christ, brings to the world life and light, and darkness cannot overcome him. That’s something to remember as commentators throw up their hands trying to make sense of the world today. Or, more personally, when we hear ourselves thinking we’re going to be overcome by the dark.

The Word became flesh and has made his dwelling among us. “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.”