Have a “reasonably” Happy New Year

The greeting for a Merry Christmas haw given way to the wish for a Happy New Year.  After celebrating the birth of Jesus and the Feast of the Holy Family, we celebrate the Feast of Mary as Mother of God …. and we stand on the threshold of a new year.  2012 and its joys and challenges fade into history …. and 2013 with its hopes and dreams is about to unfold before us.

What is it that will make 2013 a “happy” year?  What is it that will make us “happy” in the year to come?

Answering this question made me recall the entire “Serenity Prayer.”  Most of us can easily recite the first part of this prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr.  Some may not have even known there was a second part — but as we begin a new year, the second part holds some wisdom for us.  Here is the entire prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.  AMEN.

Reasonably happy?  Isn’t that settling for less?  Why not pray for total happiness?  Well … hoping for total happiness is quite ok — expecting it just may not be realistic.

I am sure that every time a major league baseball player steps to the plate, he is trying to get a hit.  But, he knows that if he gets 3 hits in 10 at bats, he will be considered a very good hitter.  If he gets 35 hits in 100 at bats, he will be considered a great hitter.  No one has a baseball career of hitting .500!

Is it possible for us to begin everyday believing that it is going to be a happy day and maybe even a great day?  Some folks say that just waking up makes it a good day.  If perchance things do not go our way, then we will still be ok and we will still live with hope for tomorrow.

In preparing couples for marriage, I would often tell them that if they had 6 good days out of 10, that they should be pleased.  Not everyday is going to be a blast.  Not every day is going to be exciting.  Some days will be just ordinary … some days will be boring …. some days will be challenging … and some days will be disappointing ….But everyday is a gift and everyday is a possibility.  Every day is a good day … and some days will be better than others.

Today, we honor Mary as Mother of God.  Just saying those words — Mother of God — is an awesome expression.  In her life, Mary knew normal ups and downs …. the proverbial good times and bad times …. she knew the wonder of collaborating with God … she knew the challenges of raising a special child … of being a widow … of losing her son in an early death.

Because of her faith … because she trusted that what was said to her would come true … we have been ransomed.  [Galatians 4:4-7]  We have been ransomed from death …and we have been ransomed from miserable days.  Because of her faith, Mary gave birth to Jesus, our Savior.  Because of faith, we give birth … to the possibility that every day will be a good day.

If you do not have a copy of the whole Serenity Prayer …. “google Serenity Prayer” and print it out …. read it, pray it.

Begin each day by saying …. Today is a good day.

End each day by saying … This was a good day.

There are 365 days in front of us …. 365 gifts from God … each of these days will be a good day …. and most of them will be happy days.

I trust that God will make all things right …. I surrender to his plan …. and all is well.


About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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