Saturday, December 31, 2011

The True Light

December 31, 2011
Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. 1 John 2:18-19

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. John 1:9-13

Father, help us to see and know the Light that you sent to the world. Strengthen our foundation for hearing, believing and acting upon the consistent ethic of life that is at the core of the teachings of your Son. Send forth your Holy Spirit to grant us the gifts that will help us to stay on the right path to peace for the next year…in the beginning and through the end. Amen.

In the beginning…

As we watch the sun come up and set on the last day of this calendar year, it is ironic and fitting that the Gospel reminds us of new beginnings. In the cycles of our years – solar and liturgical – we have come to rely upon the repetition of cycles spinning around and around. These familiar cycles and lessons remind us repeatedly of what we too quickly forget.

The anti-christs want to have their way. They want us to follow a different path. But we need to be strengthened by these story-cycles to avoid being drawn away. Or, if we have been drawn away, we need to be pulled back to the light.

For all our collective intelligence, we seem to not have the simple nature of a moth – who is always drawn to the light. Sometimes, the light can be right in front of our eyes, and we go the other way.

Who or what is the anti-christ in your life? Who or what is trying to lead you in a different direction? The forces working against the truth are similar today to the forces working two thousand years ago: anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. In fact, each of these sins has been paired with a Biblical demon. They take different forms today but the lies that they represent tempt us in similar fashion to the ways that they tempted Adam and Judas, Peter and James, Job and Moses, Noah and Abraham.

As you contemplate the “resolution” you might make as we start a new year, consider not just trying to give in to these sins less but instead resolve to follow the opposite path and increase the good choices that you make – choices about being more chaste in mind and body, being more moderate in your patterns of consumption of food, drink and consumer goods; providing more charity of time or treasure to those in need; being more diligent in following the path of peace; being more patient, kind, and humble.

Choosing to instill more of these virtues in your life will ultimately help you succeed in all those resolutions that get shelved after less than 30 days by building a stronger foundation that will keep out the demons. Not that there is anything wrong with trying to lose weight, smoke less, spend wisely, invest more or other typical resolutions.

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