Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
The chronological New Year takes place on Jan. 1st. Cheers and tears greet the new year as people change their calendars. Our economic New Year begins July 1st. Business managers and accountants balance their books and project budgets. The liturgical New Year begins on the first Sunday in Advent. A different cycle of readings is used announcing new spiritual themes. But the New Year that reflects our personal rhythm of life, takes place in the month of September, usually after Labor Day. It seems that the sense of summer is over, vacation a memory and the routine of life begins to resume. Although many have already returned to school (college, high school or grammar school) it feels that education now begins in earnest. Most parents must assume two schedules, their own work appointments and their children’s school commitments.
New beginnings have the advantage of a “start over.” It is not that our history disappears, but there is an implicit understanding of a “clean slate” that helps to motivate us as we navigate our way through the months ahead. Really getting back to a routine can be a blessing. In my own personal life, it allows me to reconnect with many people who have made significant contributions to the success of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (pastors, associates, parish directors, priests, deacons, religious, lay ministers, educators, lay faithful and various members of the secular community) by plugging into the ebb and flow of their parish, school, institutional or community life. It also allows me to celebrate their various accomplishments with the congregations or organizations that they serve.
Although resolutions are usually reserved to the chronological New Year, allow me to offer a few suggestions as we begin our post-Labor Day New Year. Life is fragile and can change in an instance. So, I offer three areas for consideration.
First, faith. Our relationship with God is of primary importance. Say a daily prayer, perhaps pick out a favorite saint, and memorize a special prayer associated with that holy person. Read a spiritual book about the Church. We forget that the Church is a mystery that calls us to encounter Christ. Do some charitable work by devoting some time to a worthy cause, and, do it in the name of the Lord.
Second, remember that family is also extremely important. Don’t pass up an opportunity to let those closest to you know that you love them. Do some activities as a family. Play a board game, take a walk or pray the rosary together. It may at first seem awkward, but after a while, most family members look forward to that special time. Review some pictures and share family history. Family stories are a great way to celebrate who we are.
Lastly, remember to be in contact with friends. So many have had a significant part in the formation of our lives. Make a phone call, e-mail or write a card or letter; it takes only a few moments, but conveys just how important the relationship has been. Happy New Year to you all, and may we try our best to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the September 4, 2012 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.