By: Staci Stallings
The New Year is always ushered in at my house with New Year’s Eve Mass. One of the cool things about the Catholic Church is that no matter where you are, the Mass for that day is always about the same thing. On our way home last night from the party we went to afterward, my husband and I were talking about New Years past. Though we’ve only been married for 18 of them, we’ve been together for 26. That’s a lot of ringing in the New Years together. And it’s interesting to me to think how our New Years have evolved in the past 26 years.
We’ve celebrated some with his family, some with mine, at least one with just friends. We’ve been to his sister’s, my sister’s, my brother’s, and my parents for the big Y-2K event (remember that?). We’ve played Bunk-o, Scattergories, 31, Texas Hold ‘Em, and Solo (among many others).
As I stood in Mass last night, my mind went forward and backward in time, remembering and weaving what I’ve learned and what I’m learning together. One of the things I’ve learned is how very, very precious this time is. I don’t mean “this time” like 2009. I mean like this moment. I have learned that things change, and sometimes they change drastically. I remember last year my sister (after we lost my brother in 2007) said, “New Years used to be so exciting. Now, I just wonder who we’re not going to have next year at this time.” I have to admit, my mind does those kinds of calculations as well. And in doing them, one truth I have hit upon is this: You have to make the most of right now because it is all that you really have.
So when the co-theme for Mass on New Years came up, I had to smile. Peace.
Specifically, Christ’s first words to the Apostles after His death and resurrection. “Shalom. Peace be with you.” In fact, He says this over and over to people. “Peace be with you.”
I thought about that phrase in conjunction with some other things I’m learning, and I’m getting it in a way I didn’t before. You see, there is a Bible verse that’s been following me around. It say, “In Me, you will have peace. In the world, there will be trials and tribulations, but fear not, for I have overcome the world.”
I think that’s the same thing as saying, “Spend this moment with Me. Those you spend with Me peace will be with you. When the world gets you down and things look out of control and scary, come to Me, and I will show you how to be at peace.”
The other night as I was thinking about the state of the world, my mind started spinning all kinds of horrible scenarios for the new year. Suddenly a very strong voice came over my thoughts. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but Mary has chosen the better place.” It was like God was saying, “Staci, Staci. Stop worrying so much, and come spend some time with Me.”
I know why He said that. It’s the same reason He said, “Peace be with you.”
So I wish you peace in 2009, but most of all, I hope you will remember to Go to God this year. If you do, then that peace thing is covered.