Friday, January 1, 2016

Spirituality: John XXIII - An Address on January 1, 1962

The life of every man flows on and every year, on January 1st, we all feel impelled to make good resolutions about new and sterner efforts to do our duty. These are certainly good decisions, but it is still more noble and profitable for our souls to place ourselves in the presence of God, the author of life, in order to find out how much progress we have made in the light of his law and his teachings, and to entrust ourselves to his grace. By doing this our souls draw upon that never failing vigor which is the joy of God, and which continues to sustain, renew and strengthen us, and prepare us for eternal happiness.

We are all bound to examine the past, reflect upon the failures ever to be found therein, and seek a remedy; we must all try to revive our own spiritual lives, to pray better and to make progress in the essential virtues: patience, generosity, and the joyful acceptance of sacrifice. Old and young alike are called to make this salutary self-examination, and to be born again in Christ and with Christ. If they do this the good wishes of the Holy Father will be welcomed, and will bear good fruit. They will open the way to a sincere and profound understanding, and a real, lasting peace among men and nations.

We often like to compare ourselves with the noblest creatures around us. So, in so far as we can, let us imitate the angels, and on the wings of faith and prayer rise ever nearer to God. Then it will be easy for us to reconcile this fleeting life with the life of eternity, and the needs of the moment with the more important needs of the spirit; so that the Lord, who sees and protects all, may be pleased with us and we, for our part, looking to heaven, may be able to say that we can trust ourselves to the grace, the power, and the blessing of God.