Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you all. I hope and pray that your Christmas celebrations were filled with great joy and happiness.
We are now embarking on a new year – 2020. I am confident that it will be a great year for the Diocese of Saginaw. We begin the New Year continuing to celebrate the beautiful message of Christmas in the heart of Mary, Mother of God.
God has kept His promise through Mary’s faith-filled “yes”. Through the birth of Jesus Christ, you and I have become adopted sons and daughters of God. We have been given the gift of eternal salvation. God’s love and goodness are now overflowing upon humankind – only to be received by us. We have been richly blessed.
But unlike Mary, you and I can be forgetful in coming to the Lord, with open hands and heart to receive the Father’s love and goodness. In a sense, it is like celebrating Christmas for one day and then life reverts to what is “normal” instead of “keeping all these things, reflecting on them in our heart.” The more we ponder, the more we realize the need in our own lives for a savior; and the more we realize that we are not the source and summit of our happiness.
The beginning of another year for many people also fosters New Year’s resolutions with the hope of making positive changes in their lives. This can be a wonderful thing if we are able to stick with it.
I would like to offer one resolution for everyone in the diocese. Spend a half hour each day with the Lord Jesus in prayer – only one half hour of the twenty four hours allotted to us each day! When we think about the magnitude of God’s love for us, how are we not compelled to return daily to the Lord in gratitude?
Yes, thirty minutes is a long time for many people to be in silence with the Lord. But spending time in silence with our hearts and minds gazing upon the Lord Jesus, either in Eucharistic Adoration or simply in private prayer, leads to intimate communion with the One who loves us more than we love ourselves.
I know that this is already part of everyday life for some of you, but my prayer is that it become a part of everyone’s lives. I guarantee that embracing this resolution will bring God’s abundant blessings upon us as individuals, upon your families, your parish community and upon our diocese. When practiced with desire, determination and discipline, lives will be changed and enriched in ways you cannot yet imagine. Guaranteed!
So as we begin this New Year, we ask Mary, Our Mother, to pray for us. We ask Our Lady to awaken in all of us a new desire for holiness. We ask her to help us to hear the Lord’s voice and respond, not with indifference, but with love and generosity.
You know, none of us knows what lies ahead for us in 2020. But we do know that it lies hidden in a God of infinite, consuming love for us. So as the New Year begins, may Christ’s love lead you to new heights in faith and may His peace reign in your hearts now and forever. Happy New Year!