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Entries in New Year (3)


Stepping into a New  Year

If you have been listening to any talk shows on the radio or TV this is the time of the year that we hear about people making New Year’s Resolutions.  Most of these are personal.  Things like shedding extra weight, putting down our devices to have a real conversation with someone we care about.  These are all good in their intent and some even life changing.  However, I stepped into this new year with a heavy heart given the very serious issues that are facing us in Canada and around the world.

I wonder if we could make a resolution that could have real impact in Canada and beyond for 2019.  Here are few thoughts to consider:

Climate Change – Canada is in real danger of failing to keep its commitments to lower its greenhouse emissions.  Somehow many Canadians do not take the threats to our country and planet as real.  It makes wonder if we are just too busy to change our patterns of living.  There is no shortage of choices we can make -like using our cars less, or supporting public transit, or lowering our house temperatures, or supporting more efficient building materials.  We can ask ourselves - What is one thing I can do that I am not already doing?

Truth and Reconciliation – We have heard more conversations acknowledging Indigenous peoples and lands and teaching a more truthful story about Indigenous history and culture.  This is good.  However, of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of 2015 only 7 have been realized fully.  There is still much work for all of us in Canada to do.  We can ask our government both federally and provincially to take this work seriously.  We can ask our federal government to live up to the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People that Canada signed.  Our Indigenous people must be at the table to negotiate any agreements that affect their lands, water and resources.

Use of Social Media – We can make use of these tools for honest and respectful engagement with people, on issues, and work towards a better world for 2019.

These are only a few thoughts…and we are all responsible for and can make Canada and our world more peaceful, open and inclusive for all one choice at a time.

- Joan Atkinson, CSJ | Office for Systemic Justice


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

Nothing paralyzes our lives like the attitude that things can never change.  We need to remind ourselves that God can change things.  Outlook determines outcome.  If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory. 

- Warren Wiersbe


A Pocket Full of Miracles

With our recent 366 days of experience behind us, hopefully, everyone is a little bit wiser and kinder. Has Pope Francis' call to embrace mercy anew, changed us? Are we kinder? Have we paid closer attention to the ongoing challenges of 'Mercy-ing' so as to move us forward to a more consistent way of living?

Pope Francis is well aware of our human condition. Though the Year of Mercy officially ended in the closing days of 2016, he was quick to encourage us to stretch our hearts and continue to hone our Mercy-ing skills.

As Canadian author, Louise Penny’s, Inspector Gamache, wisely states, “We are all blessed and blighted.” If this be true, mercy is both ours to give and receive, and thus Mercy-ing offers ample opportunities for New Year's resolutions. Even with the best of intentions, resolutions can easily slip away from our consciousness.

Would it be helpful to imagine 2017 as a year of miracles? Miracles? Would you be surprised to discover that there are miracles in your own pocket right now? God-given miracles to be extended through your hands. Carrying pocket miracles out into the world, is a simple, easily remembered New Year's resolution.

"If your hand is willing,
you could pull a small miracle out of your pocket,
a small gift - a note that made a soul stronger,
a cup of something warm to soothe someone's knotted places,
a hand to help someone up,
open arms just to embrace the overwhelmed
and whisper grace.
Carry pocket miracles out into the world..."



Srs. Loretta Hagen, csj; Magdalena Vogt, cps; Nancy Wales, csj



Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.