Sunday, January 1, 2012

How to Live a Happy New Year

A religious sister, a much-loved poet whose widely read books of poetry transcend all religious persuasions, writes in "Bible and Life" magazine about the art of seeing, hearing and speaking with more awareness.  She has been fighting a battle with cancer which gives her words more meaning.
Though every moment has meaning, why do we usually come to this realization, she laments, only much later in life.  In this coming New Year, she wants to 'read' every moment of every day and everyone she meets as if she were reading the Scriptures, as if life itself were a Lectio Divina.
She recalls the sensitivity of Mary at the feast of Cana, where the eyes of her heart could see quickly the need for more wine. The sister wishes to have the same sensitivity in seeing what is needed in any situation she is in, responding not out of frivolous curiosity but out of concern for the welfare of others.
Hearing is not less important than seeing, she says, and wants to be delivered from listening absentmindedly to others so that she can listen more attentively, as if the one talking were the only person in the world. But how many times, she wonders, is our listening done without attention and interest, a listening that can easily be interrupted by the ever-present hand phone. When she is not pleased with what she hears, she wants to show appropriate interest and not jump to conclusions or humiliate the other; she would like, instead, to bless and show the kindness of Jesus to the other. Remembering her own times of bullheadedness when she found it difficult to hear, she hopes to make amends and follow the advice of St. James, "Be quick to hear but slow to talk."

Sister tells us that in her purse she carries the Scriptures and a book of poetry. In the future, when traveling and meeting with others, she will take out the Scriptures or the book of poetry and ask if she could read some passages before the meeting, words that will give strength to the tired, help one grow in wisdom, and open us to graces. "Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things you need to hear, things that will really help you" (Eph. 4:23).

She ends by praying that she not be taken up with her importance but be able to see the sadness and joy in her life objectively and to speak from there. On her pilgrimage to God, she wants to get rid of any lingering selfishness and live with love that will allow her to see, hear, and speak well. This is the way of the saints and the way we trust in the God within us. She wishes all a "Happy New Year."


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