I came that they might have life, and have it to the full! (John 10:10)
The beginning of a new year is often a time for recalling the events of the past twelve months in order to make resolutions of self-improvement for the upcoming year. Those of us who have seen many years go by may look back even farther and regard long ago times with nostalgia. The strange thing about this type of mental meandering is that those events which are most remote sometimes are viewed by us with the warmest regard. Pleasant though these remembrances may be, we cannot revive them with all their former emotional impact, and if we begin to feel sorry for ourselves because the warm glow instigated by them tells us life does not deal with us so kindly now, they can become stumbling blocks to fuller living. Jesus came to bring us life to the full, an abundance of joyful fullness. In Scripture we find Him telling us to sing praise, to be thankful and joyful; nowhere does He ask us to sing doom or to be afraid of life. No doubt He waits daily for our faith-filled response. Can we give it to Him? I always remember with gratitude the remark made to a group of us many years ago by the late Sister Madeleva Wolff, C.S.C., former president of St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame. She said, “I have learned to hang on to things with a relaxed grasp.” This conjures up for me the image of someone skiing or riding on a surfboard. One must hang on, of course, but you have to know just the right moment to relax your grasp in order to enjoy the experience to the fullest. This may not be a bad image with which we might like to greet the New Year!
Jesus, open us to living life in all its fullness!
—Sister Mary E. Penrose, OSB
|Sister Mary E. Penrose is a Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. She edits readings for the liturgical Hours and writes reflections for the Community. And she is a tutor for the African Sisters attending The College of St. Scholastica. She was editor of a journal, Spirit & Life, for 18 years.