Can you believe that a full decade of the Third Millennium has past under the bridge?
Do you remember the awesome millennial celebrations all over the earth ten years ago today?
Do you remember that for one shining moment the whole earth was one (won)?
And where are we today?
Ten years ago I dreamed about “A New Humanity for a New Millennium.”
In the December 1999 issue of Arise I wrote:
We have failed to embrace the potential of the human family. Even though we have failed, we are called to a deeper faith and hope. The work of Jesus is hardly begun. The task of building a new humanity, partially begun in the first and second millennia, remains the agenda for the third.
At this moment of western history, (as the clocks turn to 2000) we can take our blinders off and think in millennia, at least for this one brief moment, instead of years or seasons. As we reach beyond our self-imposed limits of sight, we can see where we are headed.
Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw humanity as evolving toward the “Omega Point,” a point of union of all of creation drawing together in Christ. The Omega Point, Teilhard observes, is the endpoint of the historical process.
Perhaps we can see glimpses of this wonderful and exciting world view in the theology of St. Paul:
“There is no Jew or Greek . . . Christ is everything in all of you” (Colossians 3:10).
“Let us profess the truth in love and grow toward the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body [the world?] grows and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16)
Thus, we are part of something big; with each generation, we grow closer to the goal of all humanity — complete and utter union with Christ. We can look upon this process with hope that, despite our failures in love, humanity will one day grow into loving relationship with all there is.
Can you feel it? Can you peer down into the future of humanity and see that we are growing in our ability to love? Or can we only be cynical about all of the devastation that so many humans now create for one another and our planet?
If there is one thing that we can learn at the threshold of the Third Millennium, it is that we live in the present moment, yet connected with a past with all of its achievement and failure, and with a future, yet connected with all of its hope and uncertainty.
The focus of renewing humanity has got to be with renewing ourselves, of having faith in our own growth and hope in our own future. Of realizing that we can be transformed again and again into a new person by receiving the grace of transformation that the incarnate and risen Christ extends to us.
Where are we, this New Year’s Day 2010, Lord?
Are we better off or worse off than we were ten years ago?
And what will 2010 bring for us?
Are we prepared for whatever it will bring?
Do we realize that “You never know . . . what the next minute will bring?
Give us hope, Lord, this New Year’s Day.
A realistic hope that we might be a little kinder with one another,
a little less self-centered,
a little more willing to go the extra mile for someone, even — or especially — a stranger.
Give us the strength to be ready for whatever may come.
— If the economy would get worse;
–if we lose our job;
–if any of the dreadful possibilities I I pray might not happen that would send our country into dire crisis and possible ruin.
Give us the grace to be truly thankful and truly repentant, truly humble this New Year’s morning.
This is my prayer, Lord, for me, for my friends, for our country, for our world.
This morning may we pray as St. Francis taught us . . .
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen!
May it be so! may it be so!
A Happy and Blessed New Year, everyone!
priest / writer