January 29, 2010


Let’s make 2010 a year of peace through growth in love and faith

We are now 10 years into the third Christian millennium. This has so far been a troubled decade characterized by terrorism, war and economic crisis. Surely we can do better than this.

Cardinal Francis E. George, in his recently published collection of essays, The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion and Culture, argues that all of our social, political and economic problems stem from the radical separation of our spiritual lives as the people of God from our secular lives as people who are political, economic and social beings.

“The problem,” he says, “is not how to reconcile the competing concerns of the spiritual and secular; the problem is orthodoxy, that is to say, getting our metaphysics and our praise of God in order, so that we can live in a just, rightly ordered society.”

“Metaphysics” is the way that we understand reality, the truth about our world and about our existence as human beings.

“Our praise of God” refers to our prayer and worship, certainly, but also to the way our daily lives give witness to who we are as children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.

How do we get our metaphysics and our praise of God in order? This is the challenge we face as individuals and communities who seek to live in a just, rightly ordered society characterized by peace and love.

We face this challenge at the beginning of every new year. Looking back 2,010 years, it would be easy to give in to despair. Has any real progress been made since Christ first became one of us or since he redeemed us by his passion, death and resurrection? Have we learned anything as a result of the ups and downs of 2,000 years of Christian history? Or are we still stuck in our sins as individuals and as communities?

Fortunately, we begin each new year as people of hope. The gift Christ gives us each Christmas and, indeed, each time we celebrate the holy Eucharist is the assurance that he is here with us and that he will come again; that the kingdom of God is here now in our midst as well as coming again at the end of time; and that God’s love continues to grow in us, and in our world, no matter how bleak or hopeless things may seem.

In his encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is Love”), Pope Benedict XVI writes: “Love grows through love. Love is ‘divine’ because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a ‘we’ which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is ‘every thing to every one’ ” (1 Cor 15:28).

We are called to be stewards of the gift of God’s love—women and men who accept gratefully, and share generously, the divine love that makes us one with God and with each other.

As hard as it may sometimes be to believe, love is growing in our anxious hearts and in our troubled world. The seeds of love were planted by God at the beginning of time. They were renewed and restored through the miracle of Christ’s resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

These same seeds of love have been nourished by the blood of the martyrs, and by 2,000 years of Christian witness given by holy men and women, who taught us by their words and their example that God is love and that peace is possible if we acknowledge him, and praise him, in our daily lives.

The saints teach us that we can get our metaphysics and our praise of God in order. We can get our act together as individuals and as Christian communities—if we open our minds and hearts to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, if we pray, if we celebrate the sacraments, and if we live simply and accept responsibility for others. We can change ourselves and our world if we let God’s love grow in us so that it transcends our divisions and makes us one.

Let’s resolve this new year to begin again in Christ. Let’s make 2010 a year of peace by letting love grow in our individual hearts, in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our nation and in the world community.

Let’s become people of peace and love who live in a just, rightly ordered society by recognizing that we are, first and foremost, the stewards of God’s love.

May peace reign in our hearts this new year and always.

—Daniel Conway

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