Different cultures celebrate the New Year on different dates. Matariki, the Maori New Year occurs on June 10, 2019; the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 5, 2019. While these celebrations have their different origins and dates, our calendars flipped from 2018 to 2019 at midnight Monday 31 December. 1 January 2019 arrived as a new day, a new year.  

Many of us use this juncture as a dividing line to farewell a year that perhaps didn’t pan out as we might have wished and welcome a year for which we hold out hope of life being different, better – a better job, a new house, improved health and fitness, greater harmony in our relationships. Such goals have their place, especially where they are righting imbalances that can creep into our lives in daily increments. But do they deliver a better (aka ‘happier’) life?  

A devotion encountered during advent readings this December uncovered a challenging prayer that perhaps presents a more productive foundation to a better year. Why it may be more productive is that it deals with our hearts, rather than our circumstances. It centres on seeking the humility of Christ in our lives, to follow in his humble footsteps. Hard to think of a more fitting head- and heart-space within which to enter a new year.

 Read it and you’ll see it takes more than a little courage to pray it.

 ‘Happy’ New Year.

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being criticised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

 From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.  

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.
O Jesus meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Help me to put my self-importance aside
To learn the kind of co-operation with others
That makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household.

Amen.

Adapted from a prayer by Rafael, Cardinal Merry Del Val, 1865-1930; source: ‘Waiting Here for You’, Louie Giglio.

Comment