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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Four-Point Plan for the New Year from St. Paul

By: Msgr. Charles Pope




On the Day known as New Years Day in the secular world, there is a veritable feast of identities for this day on the Church’s calendar. It is the octave of Christmas, the Feast of Mary Mother God, the Feast that commemorates the Holy Name of Jesus and also of the Circumcision. Quite a lot to ponder actually!

In previous years I have commented on all these liturgical aspects, and even on the mystery of time.

But this year it strikes me to preach out of a text of St. Paul from the 3rd chapter of the Letter to the Philippians. The text recommends itself to a New Year’s theme, because Paul speaks and meditates on “what is behind, and what is before” him. And in his meditation he sets forth a kind of plan for a Christian to follow, a Christian who prayerfully reflects on the year that is passed, and the year that is about to unfold. Here then is the text from St. Paul, and a kind of four-point plan that follows.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, …I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things….Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (Phil 3:7-16)

I. Consider your Profit–in the text St. Paul says, But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him. …I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

At the end of one year the beginning of another, we do well to consider what it is that we truly value. Now we need to be careful when we make this consideration. For it often happens that we make answer the question, “What do I most value” in a way that speaks more to how we should answer the question, than what is really true. Most of us who are believers, know that we should value God, the Lord Jesus, above all things. But honestly, that is not always so.

So we ought to reflect, at the end of the year, what, or who, do we really value most. What, or who, is our greatest prize? Perhaps it is the Lord, but often other things compete for this title. Many idolize money, creature comforts, political outcomes, sports victories, career advancement, and many other things more than God, and the things of God. (...)

Continue reading: http://blog.adw.org/2012/12/a-four-point-plan-for-the-new-year-from-st-paul/

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