We dragged ourselves out to Mass Tuesday morning. In case you missed the memo it was a Holy Day of Obligation, The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
We were tired after a long night but happy to be together. In Texas, even those who do not want to stay up late ringing in the new year tend to lie awake half the night, due to the non-stop neighborhood firework displays.
The Mass was uneventful, except for the music which seemed too slow for a New Year’s morning, when we are thinking about fresh starts and resolutions. But it ended on a strong note when our pastor had everyone bow for a New Year’s blessing. It was lengthy, but there were a few phrases that stuck with me.
I emailed my pastor, Fr. Sean Horrigan, and he was kind enough to provide me the text from the Roman Missal.
May God, the source and origin of all blessing,
grant you grace,
pour out his blessing in abundance,
and keep you safe from harm throughout the year. Amen.
May he give you integrity of faith,
endurance in hope,
and perseverance in charity
with holy patience to the end. Amen.
May he order your days and your deeds in his peace,
grant your prayers in this and in every place,
and lead you happily to eternal life. Amen.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. Amen.
–Roman Missal, Solemn Blessings, “The Beginning of the Year”-
I really like the second paragraph – “integrity of faith, endurance of hope, perseverance in charity and holy patience to the end.”
I think as Catholics, both out in the world and in our respective industries, we need these things in abundance to begin 2019. I can still feel the sucker punches we all took from the Church scandals last year. Some pessimistic-types say 2019 won’t be much better.
I say for the world to see faith, hope, charity and patience in action it will most likely have to come from us – you and me. That’s where our faith, in all it’s goodness, beauty and truth is displayed. Lay Catholics venture out each day, and put that faith in motion.
You can see it in the mother at church, quieting and instructing her little ones to follow along.
You see it at after natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, when parishioners, lead by groups like the Knights of Columbus, rally together to rescue the stranded, clean up the neighborhoods and feed and comfort the displaced and devastated.
You see it when you revisit the victorious lives of the saints. But you also find it in the stillness of the Adoration chapels, where unassuming adorers take turns providing constant company to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
And if you look for it, you can even see it in the daily log jams on Houston’s highways, where some are audacious enough to let others in, or display a bumper sticker promoting things like the Rosary, choosing Life or keeping Christ in Christmas.
Each of us will have daily opportunities to show Catholicism’s truth, beauty and goodness this year, but we need encouragement and support from one another. It won’t always be easy to have integrity of faith. We will need the grace of the sacraments to nourish us and help us begin again when we fall.
And to endure in hope means to cling to what we’ve been taught, as we continue to adjust our pace to life’s marathon. Work isn’t called the daily grind for nothing.
Persevering in charity will require extra effort, because the world operates on the rule of self indulgence and won’t immediately understand why it should look to the needs of others. It will need to be shown why that’s so important.
And though patience is a virtue, it is rare these days. Holy patience, whatever that is, must be even more unique. However something tells me that it can be discovered and excavated with the help of one another. With grace from the Mass, the sacraments, prayer and each other, we can not only find it but keep it and use that holy patience to the end.
So if you missed New Year’s Mass and didn’t hear this blessing, I encourage you to reread it and share it with those you care about. It’s meant for us all, whether in attendance or not.
And throughout 2019, when at Mass and sharing those signs of peace, remember our universal need for integrity of faith, endurance of hope, perseverance in charity and holy patience to the end. Re-extend this blessing to each other along with your hand.
The world needs Catholic professionals more than ever this year. It needs to see our faith put in motion each day, in order to understand how important and beneficial it is for us all.
Happy New Year friends. Please help me out by sharing this post with someone else.