My dear friends from Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School,
Happy New Year!
We certainly pray and hope that 2021 will be a better year for all than 2020!
As I look forward to this new year, I suggest one word that I think would be helpful for all of us in 2021 – reconciliation. We live in a very fragmented world. You may remember back in high school, you pledged allegiance daily to “. . . one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Sad to say, we no longer have one nation. Our country is no longer under God. We are deeply divided, and we have become more and more aware that liberty and justice do not exist for all. We are also painfully aware that our Church also suffers deep divisions. And while for many families the pandemic was a time for drawing closer to one another, for others it was a time of further separation and alienation. In addition, many of us have struggled to be at peace with ourselves. Witness the tremendous number of deaths from suicides and overdoses, particularly among young people.
The beautiful feast of Christmas, which we have just finished celebrating, marks the opening moment in the drama of grace that enables us to overcome the alienation from God wrought by our first parents, Adam and Eve, and to restore again that harmony and love among us that was lost in the Garden of Eden. The angels sang at Christmas “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people of good will.” The ordering of these words is important – first glory to God, then peace on earth. We cannot be at peace with one another if we have not strengthened our relationship with God. Simply put, become one with God, and then the path to harmony with others will be more readily opened. In the Second Reconciliation Canon, as we address our prayer to our heavenly Father, we acknowledge the power of our heavenly Father to change our hardened hearts: . . . by your Spirit, you move human hearts, that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries join hands, and peoples seek to meet together. By the working of your power, it comes about, O Lord, that hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord is changed to mutual respect.
On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,
Fr. Garrett Long, S.M.