I remember being in Rome as it prepared for the great Jubilee and here it is 2014. 2013 was a good year but I am glad to welcome a new one. It was a good year but not an easy one and I hope I've learned a bit to make this year even better.
Jen's Saint Generator selected a very interesting Saint for me this year, none other than St. Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, patron of theologians. I found it somewhat ironic as my husband taught several courses on Augustine last year and for Christmas I bought him the DVD of Restless Heart, a biography of St. Augustine. Having my Masters Degree in theology, one could argue I'm a theologian, but certainly my husband is one. I've read his Confessions (more than once), and translated some of it from Latin, but not much else he wrote. I will have to get better acquainted this year but he wrote so, so much, I'm going to have to ask just which works I should read.
A few years ago I also adopted the tradition of selecting a word for the year, a year to focus on and reflect on. This year I'm choosing the word PEACE. It is something often missing from my day and my self and I hope to acquire more of it before 2015.
While I had actually known my word for the year before receiving my patron for the year, Augustine's famous quote from his Confessions fits perfectly: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. I am often restless, and always tired so some peaceful rest is exactly what is needed.
Interestingly, January 1 is also a Solemnity associated with peace:
"Pope Paul VI made the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in order to tie Mary, Mother of God into an earlier feast that he had set up for peace," said Father Buby. "So it’s a good idea for us as Catholics to celebrate the solemnity with peace in the background."
The World Day of Peace also takes place on Jan. 1 in the Catholic liturgical calendar as part of the Christmas season. It was instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1967 upon the inspiration of Pope John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical, Pacem in Terris.
In Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI wrote, "It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. For this reason … we have instituted the World Day of Peace, an observance that is gaining increasing support and is already bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many."While I am not necessarily seeking the same kind of peace he is talking about, if you haven't read Pope Francis' message for World Day of Peace, you can here.
Peace, Be Still by He Qi
Also, you can receive a plenary indulgence today if you recite a prayer I hold very dear, the Veni Creator Spiritus (and I assume meet the usual requirements):
Come, O Creator Spirit blest!
And in our souls take up Thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high!
O font of life! O fire of love!
And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy Sevenfold gifts are known,
The finger of Gods hand we own;
The promise of the Father, Thou!
Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses from above,
And make our hearts overflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high
The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us Thy true peace instead;
So shall we not, with Thee for guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know,
And Thee through endless times confessed
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son
Who rose from death; the same to Thee,
O Holy Spirit, eternally. Amen.
Even without the indulgence though, invoking the Holy Spirit is a great way to kick off the new year. From our family to yours, we hope you have a very holy and blessed 2014!