The new year has begun

Wishing everyone a happy new year, and all the blessings and opportunities a new beginning can bring. May we all play our part, however small, in making 2017 a kinder, gentler year, bringing ourselves and our world closer to God's dream for us...

Thus went the New Year's Eve greeting I posted on Facebook, echoing those posted by several of my friends and RSCJ sisters. Courage... peace... love... solidarity... caring... light out of darkness, hope for the future and building a better world, one small act at a time... These were by no means empty words or platitudes, but born from our urgent, heartfelt desire for our world to move out of the fear and loathing into which it has been plunged - a movement in which we must all play our part. And in the midst of all this I heard from someone who has just finished a 30 days retreat, recounting a heart-opening time filled with tenderness and calls to love and love more, and her fervent desire to live this as fully as possible.

And then, having dug out the Patron Saint Generator, I clicked and paused and clicked again, and got my patron for 2017: St John Eudes, about whom I knew very little, except that he had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. As that Heart is the source of all the love, tenderness and compassion our world so desperately needs and we are called to offer, that alone makes him an excellent patron for the year ahead.

And thus the new year has begun, with all its challenges and opportunities, and so much that is unknown and unsure, except for the certainty of God. And so, in these words of Hadewijch, which yesterday crept quietly into my Twitter feed...

The new year has begun. Now must God grant us with love, that we may be able so to begin it. That it may be of value for Love.