How do we approach the coming year 2023 as we reflect upon the disturbing events of 2022?
Newsdesk (04/01/2023 8:05 PM, Gaudium Press) It is inevitable: the year ends and everyone makes, explicitly or not, a reflection about the twelve months that have passed and a prediction for the next twelve.
And so we will not be the ones to avoid the inevitable! — pondering which events of the dying year will be read in future history textbooks? — which of them were truly significant, turning the wheel of world events? And, also, looking forward to the coming year, what should we expect, what should we fear, what should we fight for?
These are the questions posed by the inevitable reflection…
Covid-19 and War
The pandemic had already lasted two years as 2022 began to dawn with promises of a cure. Promises that made humanity inhale a deep breath of the air of security, saturated as it had been for so long with fear, precautions and confinement.
Russia, finding its territorial space too scarce for its liking, demanded that the Ukraine cede to it two regions populated (at least in theory) predominately by ethnic Russians. In the face of refusal, bombs arrived on the scene.
It would seem that all the hatreds that had cooled down during the Cold War rose again, armed, from their most fiery ashes. And the sanctions, threats and speeches of war began to make themselves heard… with the following ominous detail: the potential invasion of Eastern Europe. This region ever seems like a red-button trigger for the beginning of World Wars.
The differences between the present and past conflicts are only minor in detail: 1913 promised 1914 a war between monarchs, 1938 to 1939, a clash between republics, 2022 to 2023, a battle between atomic powers.
“The fruit of justice shall be peace.” (Is 32:17) And what is war the fruit of then? If we answer that it is the fruit of injustice perhaps we will find the explanation for the warmongering that has resurfaced in the old, pacifist nations of Europe.
In fact, we have been spectators this year of an increase in the magnitude, arrogance and ambition of moral deviancy. Of an immorality that claims the full right of acceptability and citizenship in society.
As if all this were not enough, one of the greatest remaining symbols of morality, order and nobility departed from the view of humanity as the world silently contemplated the magnificent funeral procession that took place amidst the pageantry of the English monarchy: from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the exemplary and upright Queen Elizabeth II would never again wave.
A beautiful page of English history had been turned.
The holy place
An enormous change in 2022 was also the reopening of the doors of the churches after two Easter celebrations which had not taken place publicly. What joy on the faces of those who returned. But how much was lacking in the state of spirit of so many believers: the faithful who had not been vigilant found their fervor diminished; churchgoers who had been careless became lukewarm; the latter, cooled down in their already weak faith, did not return.
But it should be noted that this cooling off of fervour is not common currency only among the faithful, for the moral scandals of those in the Church who should be the very examples of purity have in fact multiplied, serving to tarnish and obscure the true face of Holy Mother Church, on the one hand, and uprooting the faith of believers already shaken by the pandemic, on the other.
Faced with this obscuring of what has always been the beacon of the world, the faithful have lost their bearings. Bewildered, they are in danger of being shipwrecked in the coming year because they cannot find a harbour.
Three attitudes for 2023
What, then, is the solution in 2023 to this whole equation full of uncertainties (and whose consequences appear to be exclusively negative) that the facts of 2022 have laid out before us?
If we dig deep enough, we find the source of the problem: forgetfulness of God, or perhaps, hatred of Him. In effect, if war is on the throne of events, it is because the Prince of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has been dethroned; if immorality is rampant, it is due to disrespect towards Him who is Purity, the Son of the Virgin; if we are surprised by the situation of the Church, let us look for the cause only in the forgetfulness of her Founder and Divine Spouse.
That is the problem. And what is the solution? As simple as the opposite: to seek the Kingdom of God and His justice.
For true Christians, this mission in 2023 will consist of three points: PRAYER, VIGILANCE and ENCOURAGEMENT!
Prayer: this is the advice repeated in all the apparitions of Fatima by Our Lady: “Pray the Rosary every day and you will have peace”. Vigilance: “Take care that your hearts are not weighed down with lust, drunkenness and cares of life, and that the day does not come upon you suddenly” (Lk 21:34). And let us take heart: for the victory of God and of the Church is certain!
Let us put these three points into practice and, surely, the pages of the coming year will be written with more beauty than those that filled the crooked lines of the year 2022.
By Angelo Francisco
Compiled by Roberta MacEwan