A Liturgy for Beginning a New Year

Oh dear Father,

I look ahead, but first I look behind.

Remind me, Lord. Tell me. May I acknowledge the past year?

How many? How much? How often?

How many times did I listen, truly listen, to the person that you placed in front of me? How many times did I give to those who asked and not turn away those who were in need? How many people were made better because of something that I did or said?

How much did I give? How much did I receive? How much did I learn, grow, fast, pray, question, or hear?

How often did I grasp the lesson that I was being taught? How often did I care? How often did I disciple, encourage, model, teach, or be present?

Father, I want to remember the good I’ve been blessed to be a part of. I want to hold on to the ways in which I’ve been shaped and formed by you and others. I want to be thankful for the moments that I made the right choice, said the right thing, helped the right person.

But Lord, I am also so aware that all year long, all 52 weeks, all of the plain old Tuesdays, I have desperately needed your grace. I have needed your mercy. I have needed your love. Last year I needed you as my guide. You were guiding; was I following?

Father, now I look ahead. The party is over. The food has been eaten. The friends have been hugged. The toasts have been said. Our ways have been parted. My kitchen is a mess, yet I look ahead.

This year, this precious year, what will it bring? I search not for a resolution, but a formation. A transformation. Make me better. Mold me to be more like you. Open my eyes to need. Open my heart to others. Let my life be used. And changed. Grant me opportunities to be your hands and feet. Give me reasons to be challenged. Don’t allow me to choose to remain the same. Though I don’t know if I will be given 12 more months or 52 more weeks or 365 more days, if I am, if you choose to give me one more year of life, let me not waste even one minute. And when I do, thank you for the grace and mercy that will bring me back to your plan and your ways.

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