Merry Christmas! Christmas day is almost a full week ago and for many it may seem like a very distant memory already as the chores of cleaning up the house, returning gifts, taking down decorations and paying the bills kicks in. However, Christmas, like Easter is too big to be limited to just one day so as Catholics we celebrate the Octave of Christmas. Eight days to celebrate the love God has shown to us through the Nativity of His Son. So I say it again, Merry Christmas. Do not allow the secular influences to strip away the joy that the coming of the Savior brings. Do not allow God's saving plan to be swept away as just another day. Hold on to the joy, peace and love that God dispenses through the Christmas season. Be transformed by that love even in the hustle and bustle of daily life; even in the frustrations that this world can bring.
We are about to begin a new calendar year as well. I hope and pray that everyone has a good time celebrating New Year's Eve. It is a time when we look both backwards and forwards. Looking back we remember all the events of this past year-the good and the not so good. Right here at St. Magdalen de Pazzi we have much to thank Almighty God for during 2012. The devotion and faith of the parish continues to grow. It was visible throughout the year with increased Eucharistic Adoration on Friday, an increase in people coming to Confession and daily Mass, Corpus Christi procession, Divine Mercy Sunday devotion, the Thanksgiving dinner and all the beautiful ways we live out our faith. There is a tangible love for God and a desire to grow in faith by the people in the parish.
We were able to survive the storms that the year brought as well. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice and snow… it was a violent year of weather, but together with the grace of God we were able to support one another and help each other get passed the worst while remembering those who were much worse off than us.
Not all of the events of the year were positive though. We still have issues to confront. The attacks on Religious Liberty are still on-going and must be resisted. It seems so long ago that this issue arose, that maybe some have forgotten about it or have grown tired and weary of it, but it is vital to our nation and to us as faithful Catholics that we protect our God given right to follow our conscience and our right to live our faith as our properly formed conscience dictates.
As the New Year begins, we also look forward and try to resolve to improve ourselves or our lives. Usually we make resolutions to exercise more, eat less, read more and watch TV less or other similar things. All of these are good things and help us to improve our bodies and minds. But when is the last time we made a resolution that is good for the soul? Resolve to prioritize God this year! Make God more important than sports, work, or recreation. Just as we need exercise and diets for the body we need prayer to have a healthy soul. Resolve to pray more or to come to daily Mass. Picture yourself beginning each day receiving the Eucharist and offering that day to God and then make it happen. Resolve to come to frequent Confession for the year, or to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Friday. Make this year, this Year of Faith, a time when we take special care of our souls.
I wish everyone a Happy, healthy, and Grace filled New Year. May God's peace fill your life throughout 2013.