Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year Epiphany

In reflecting on this weekend's Gospel of the Epiphany, I am struck by Herod's response of fear to the news about Christ and how I can (unfortunately) relate to that response as I'm sure we all can.

Here there is some curious, possibly Good News, it seems, coming to Herod and his people. Men from the East have heard that a King has been born and they want to seek Him out. Herod responds in fear to this news and seeks to control this situation. I think about all the many, many times I let fear enter into my responses and I seek to control the situation myself rather than let God let His plan unfold. This is what Herod is doing here and it is easy to see his sin in this story, but maybe not as much our own when we respond similarly.

Maybe that is because, like I mentioned in the last blog, it is not out of the cultural norm to take matters into our own hands if we don't like the necessary outcome to something. It is a common, accepted response to act out of fear of a situation by controlling it.

The Magi either see through Herod's response or they are converted at the scene. Maybe a little bit of both. Either way, they allow God to enter in and though God's plan may put them at risk, they do not allow the fear to overtake them. They allow the beauty of God's plan to enter in.

I pray for each of us in this New Year that we can respond to the beauty of God's plans freely and openly. And that we do not let fear get the best of us. And for myself, that I do not resort to attempting to control situations out of fear like Herod.

This week for New Year's, I went up to Atlantic City with some friends from college that I hadn't gotten to spend time with in a while. Then I made a little vacation of the trip to New Jersey and visited a teammate from my NET team (1 of 2 getting married this August!) and a few more friends from college. I am grateful that I rang in the new year with old friends- some of whom I have now known for 10 years! 2009 marks the 10th year since my high school graduation and beginnings at Catholic U! And I am grateful that we continue to grow with each other and are open to sharing where we are at in our lives with one another.

Tonight I am recovering from the hectic but blessed week of celebrations and just prayed Saturday night Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours for the first Saturday in a long time!

The Saturday Night Prayer psalm will forever make me think of my first summer in Guatemala and praying it with my dear friend Lauren from CUA (also getting married in 09!) Mainly because at the time we found a line the psalm humorous and applicable to our lives when taken literally:

"O men, how long will your hearts be closed?"

We took that to mean men's hearts towards the two of us since it had been a 'dry year' you could say romantically :)

But tonight I read it as a prayer to follow up my reflections of the past two weeks on our society and its attitudes versus God and His promises. I pray it will also be an inspiration for you. Happy New Year! May it be one of great joy and growth for each of us.


Psalm 4

"When I call, answer me, O God of justice; from anguish you released me; have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed, will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom He loves; the Lord hears me whenever I call Him.

Fear Him, do not sin; ponder on your bed and be still. Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.

'What can bring us happiness?' many say. Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."


paulinespirit said...

I was wandering on the internet...I found your blog. It brought back many beautiful community life memories for me. Thanks for blogging. During the Pauline Year, may your journey with St. Paul the Apostle be a very blessed one.
United in St. Paul :).

Julia said...

Thank you for the comments! I hope this blog is fruitful for others. Did you also spend time in formation with the Daughters or Society of St. Paul?

Thomas Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas Joseph said...

Julia, I love reading your reflections! You help me grow... :)