2005, Articles, Raiati

The New Year / 02.01.2005

In our Ecclesiastic rituals the New Year is on September first, while the first of January is the new civil year that goes back to the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. In this day, we do not have any feast called “New Year”. However, we do have the feast of the circumcision of Lord Jesus and the feast of Saint Basil the Great. Nevertheless, people consider it a particular day as they shoot in the air at midnight to celebrate the new things that they are expecting. But what is this new thing? Twelve months that will probably be like previous years carrying intense poverty, a lot of violence, and low expectations from the local and international political life. However, we still think that this gives a space of hope because man during tribulations usually hopes for goodness. We, the faithful, believe that blessings come from God who penetrates time and has the ability to send us his grace. A miracle could happen and change the political and economical conditions and this way poverty would decrease and world peace would be spread. Our hope is the phrase that the angels said: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”; by “men”, it is meant the people that God was pleased with their righteousness.

As if the chant of the angels doesn’t wish peace to all humanity but only to those that loved and were love by the Lord. The angels spoke about the peace of the hearts through purity and didn’t talk about peace in the political world. The latter doesn’t have any promise. Therefore, you can make the year new in yourself if you renewed your soul through grace. This internal peace could be experienced even if you were suffering and even if wars continued like in Iraq and Palestine and their influence on Lebanon. You shall not hope for a new year but for a soul renewal and purification for this shall make a lot of other hearts become renewed too.

Wars could end by one decision, and the level of living might increase through a number of decisions taken inside and outside the country, but some people may stay evil and start wars without weapons. The wound of hearts might be much deeper than that of wars.

Think from now about the way to repent and how you could be crowned with the people that repented and become the small faithful flock that doesn’t feel afraid because it was rewarded the Kingdom. “The Kingdom is within you” as the Lord said. But, if we stay on the level of social life, you are allowed to work with others in order to improve the situation through all possible political means at least in your small country. This way you can see that many things were renewed and you can feel comforted through this and get rid of the pressure of despair and sadness.

There are two accompanying efforts: A deep and serious spiritual effort, and another effort in the civil community through national struggle that God asks from you in order for people to live in slight affluence and comfort and seek the happiness of their families and the country that they live in. Repentance that descended on you makes you a good and intrepid citizen because bad people cannot make together a country that serves its citizens. When sin increases and love abates, the nation will neither have anything new nor become a noble country.

Nothing around you or in the society will be new if hearts were fallen and had no flame and if words were meaningless.

You can imagine a conciliation of hearts, happiness of peace, and civilized nobility in which all neighboring countries would reach agglutination and insist on not having wars and on common economical growth. This is what happened in western Europe between Germany and France that had three wars together until they understood that peace is beneficial for them. This might have happened too in the large European community. Why can’t Arabs do the same?

Rich countries should understand that it is beneficial for them to help weak nations that are driven through the suppression that they live into signs of violence and into what might be called terrorism. Rich countries must also understand that their interest is achieved in the nobility of all nations. God has nothing against world’s organization of its affairs through knowing that everyone’s need is to share the blessings and the intellectual and artistic productions. This means that the people responsible for the nations must believe that good competition serves everyone’s interest. We hope that a day would come when no person needs to prove himself through weapon, but proves himself and others through love.

When this happens, every New Year would become greater than the previous one. Our role as believers is to prepare, through piety, people’s mind for this conviction. When you feel the importance of God in your life, you wish that others will get to experience this too.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “السنة الجديدة” – 02.01.2005

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