Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me"

Today, on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, we also observe the XLIV (i.e., 44th) World Day of Peace, which is the occasion for Pope Benedict's urgent appeal for religious freedom and tolerance. Of course, today is the last day in the octave of Christmas as we end the first week of this year's two week celebration of Christmas, which we will bring to a close next Sunday on the Baptism of the Lord.

In the second chapter of St. Luke's Gospel the angel with "a multitude of the heavenly host" praised God as they sang:
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
In his homily for Midnight Mass, the Holy Father reflected on what the angel, along with the heavenly multitude, sang, observering that "Saint Luke does not say that the angels sang," pointing that we "have always known that the speech of angels is different from human speech, and that above all on this night of joyful proclamation it was in song that they extolled God’s heavenly glory." Just so, as the old song goes, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." In that same spirit, just in time for New Year's Day, courtesy of my dear friend and brother deacon, Greg Kandra, via HufPo, are the 12 things Fr. James Martin, S.J., who turned 50 on 29 December, Tweeted on his birthday, things he wishes he had known at 25. See how circuitous the route to get to you dear Καθολικός διάκονος reader?

1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It's useless. (I.e. Jesus was right.)

2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.

3. There's no right way to pray, any more than there's a right way to be a friend. What's "best" is what works best for you.

4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You're not God. This ain't heaven. Don't act like a jerk.

5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God's desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.

6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God's grace.

Our Lady Queen of Peace

7. Don't worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.

8. You can't force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.

9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else's life falsely. So our real-life loses out. I.e. Compare and despair.

10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.

11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I'm so happy for you! Why not? Yes.

12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you -- from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.

So, in keeping with his lessons- Thank you, Fr. Martin for sharing your wisdom and for your ministry among us, which is so fruitful!

If you are looking for some very useful and enlightening spiritual reading, I cannot recommend highly enough Fr. Martin's books My Life With the Saints and Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints . Again, I wish all my readers a blessed and happy new year.

Veni adoramus

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