December/January 2018 - Joy or Lamentation?
The year 2018 is here, and we may be tempted to think that it could only be worse than the last. However, we must reject the temptation towards discouragement and despair, and strive faithfully in the Christian life for the glories of Heaven.
While it is our duty to war against the evils and enticements of the world, we must never surrender the joy that is our inheritance as children of God. Indeed, with Christ as our champion, our victory is assured.
JOY OR LAMENTATION ?
January 1, 2018.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
First of all, allow us to wish you, with joy and from the depths of our hearts,
a good and blessed New Year 2018.
Life is a wonderful gift of God since it enables us to gain Heaven. Let us then not allow the joy that we rightly have as children of God to be diminished by those gloomy souls who constantly lament the sad state of the world today.
We cannot deny that we live in troubled times, but nevertheless, we steadfastly refuse to allow our joy to be tarnished by this fact. We challenge these faultfinders who cannot say anything good, not even express halfheartedly their Christmas wishes, without adding some complaint about the world today.
We would like to ask them, “Really?” Have they reflected on the history of mankind? Have they taken the trouble to study it? They would realize that all ages of the world were troubled and that the honest Job, sitting on his manure heap, was right to affirm that the life of man is a struggle on earth.
It is true that for about the last fifty years, the hedonism that has become our daily bread has shaped our thinking in such a way that we now believe that life should be a long and pleasant journey, akin to effortlessly floating down a smooth and quietly flowing river.
Such an ideal is quite low. Man’s life does not consist in letting sleeping dogs lie, but, on the contrary, in a battle by which he proves his love for his Creator and Savior.
By nature man must fight on all fronts and be vigilant to keep a proper balance in all things.
The aspirations of his animal nature constantly fight against those of his spiritual nature. Human nature is a wounded nature, reluctant to let itself be healed by the cross which is the instrument of grace. Finally, very often the concrete circumstances of our lives oblige us to struggle against our tyrannical desire for ease and comfort.
In spite of these combats, or rather because of them, we repeat to you, with a joyful heart, our wishes for a good and holy New Year. Let us forcefully reject all that complaining which, at bottom, is only an unhealthy pretext to justify our own unfaithfulness.
The lessons of the Crib are still too present in our souls for us to abandon the combat.
Indeed, the Crib opens another path, the path of joy. Before the mystery of this Child-God, our souls adore and let themselves be elevated in thanksgiving. God loves us with such a love!
Life is not a trap; the combats which we must undertake are unique opportunities to prove to God that we believe in His love, a love that invites us to follow Him, doing battle to enter in His eternal joy.
Christian life is a perpetual song of thanksgiving for this “too great love” of God, as St. John calls it.
What a joy, indeed, in knowing that we are divinely loved and that nothing escapes this love. The smallest detail of our existence is governed by this love. What can we fear?
Knowing our nature, its propensity to want everything centered on itself and its constant search for ease, it is thus important to place our souls before the incredible superabundance of the love with which the Father loves us in His Son, so that we may become another Christ.
Yes, coming from the hands of God and going back to Him: life is magnificent. It is more beautiful than ever since it was restored in so admirable a manner by Christ on the Cross.
Thus, let us remain in joy, thanksgiving and confidence, because, as St. Paul says, if God is with us, who will be against us?
Stay in the presence of God’s love and make room for joy and its conquests.
Have a good and holy new year: God is with us!
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria.