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A New Year Message

 

What I wish and pray for you, my beloved people of Bataan, for 2011:

First, let your New Year be peaceful. Peace in not just the absence of conflict. Peace is not just a ceremonial courtesy. As Saint Augustine said in his De Civitate Dei, 19,13, peace is tranquilitas ordinis (the tranquility of order). Peace is when everything is in proper order, when there is harmony, and mutual understanding, when there is serenity. Wishing one a peaceful New Year is to desire happiness for them. We want them to experience the good things in life. It is also expressing a willingness to share with them the good tidings of God in the same way the heavenly angels proclaimed on the night of the birth of the Savior, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth for God is blessing humankind” (Luke 2,14).

Peace involves a call for reconciliation. Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, “For Christ is our peace, he who has made the two people one, destroying in his own flesh the wall – the hatred – which separated us. He abolished the Law with its commands and precepts. He made peace in uniting the two peoples in him, creating out of the two one new man. He destroyed hatred and reconciled us both to God through the cross, making the two one body” (2, 14-16). Our reconciliation with God is our peace. Our reconciliation with our community is our road to peace. We foster peace when we recognize what is morally and legally due others. Peace is maintained when we respect other people.

When we wish our New Year to be peaceful, we are saying yes to justice and no to oppression; yes to love and no to vengeance. We are showing our desire for unity among ourselves and with God.

Second, may your New Year be prosperous. God desires that we enjoy the fullness of life. God is always generous. He gives in abundance. He wills the best for us. He shares everything with us, giving us all the means and ways so that we can be productive. We are not lacking in anything since God has gifted us with all the skills to make ourselves prosperous. Prosperity is within our reach.

To be prosperous we must harness our potentials and maximize our talents. We must put into reality all our resolutions and convert into actions all our promises. Prosperity demands perseverance and hard work. The road to prosperity is lined with patience and good performance.

Greeting one a prosperous New Year is to wish him to have a successful life and a flourishing career. We want him to have continued good fortune. We desire that he experience material and physical wellbeing. To be prosperous, we must face our days with enthusiasm, fulfill our given tasks with competence and treat people with constant courtesy and compassion.

Third, let your New Year be prayerful. Peace and prosperity will not be possible without prayers. Our prayers are the manifestations of our trust in God. He makes all things possible because “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1, 37).

In prayers, we commit ourselves to God. We open ourselves to Him. Prayers enable us to see and feel God’s presence. Through prayers, we are made safe and secure as we make our way through this pilgrimage of life. Peace and prosperity are only attainable through prayers and with God’s grace.

When we greet one a prayerful New Year, we commend him to God. We lift up to God his aspirations, his efforts and endeavors. Wishing our New Year to be prayerful means we place our life in His hands and under His guidance. We offer our work for His glory. When we wish our New Year to be prayerful, we beg God for His grace. We ask for and seek His healing when we are afflicted with sickness; His comfort when we are alone and suffering; His protection when we are in danger; His serenity when we are troubled; His strength when we are tempted and weak; His peace when we are doubting and confused; His wealth of wisdom when we are failing; and His love when we are lonely and lost.

 

 

+Ruperto Cruz SANTOS

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Diocese of Balanga
(Bataan, Philippines)