Canossaville Heartbeat – Vol 16

Cycle of Life – The Beginning and The End

We are approaching the end of another calendar year and liturgical season. 2021 has been a difficult year with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet we look back and recall the many silver linings and thank God for them. Despite the deaths and the millions of people who were affected, we have witnessed the resilience of the human spirit and the kindness roused in human hearts. We experienced hope in our lives and in the society around us through the help extended to those who were impacted physically, emotionally, financially, and mentally.

In this month of November, we celebrated All Saints’ Day and commemorated All Souls’ Day. The month is dedicated to praying for those who have gone before us. We remember life, death, and life again with Jesus: a reminder of the cycle of life with a beginning and an end. As we come to the end of the year, we are filled with a sense of relief while looking forward to the beginning of what we hope will be a better year. But did we realise that each year is separated only by a split second? 2021 becomes 2022 in just a split second. It is that split second that brings us so much hope. 

Painting of various saints by Fra Angelico

We live in hope by filling ourselves with the breath of positivity. The coming season of Advent reminds us that Christmas is near and we celebrate Jesus the Immanuel: God with us. We are comforted that we are not alone in dealing with life’s challenges – not only the pandemic but also the effects of wars, violence, injustice, poverty, food insecurity, and climate change.

We cannot live in despair. We must decide to be agents of change and bringers of hope. We are called to live our life with a higher purpose, to grow as a person, to make a difference to the lives of others, and to make the world a better place. St Paul reminds us that God helps us in our weakness. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? (Romans 8:24). The end and the beginning go hand in hand. Death and life go hand in hand. Our past and the future go hand in hand. The sinner and the saint go hand in hand. When the year ends, the New Year begins. St Paul also reminds us that we are all called to be saints: trust in God and live with hope. Let go of negativity and embrace what is positive. Look at ourselves and others with this new mindset and embrace ourselves and others with new eyes of what we can become.

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne

So let us look to the new year with hope and faith, and begin to do the good we can. If each of us contributes to a better world whether for a day, a month, a year, or our whole life, the world will be beautified. As saints, we are called to fulfil God’s plan in the world. Despite life’s challenges, let us make a difference to others around us. With the gift of each new day, let us cultivate the garden of kindness and grow our spiritual flowers. Let us see the beauty in the diversity around us, especially in our neighbours.

Wishing each of us a wonderful year-end celebration as we wait in expectant HOPE for 2022 with FAITH. May God bless you and your loved ones. Stay safe and keep healthy!