By Fr. Roy Cimagala

A YEAR has just ended. A new year has just begun. It would be funny if in marking this transition, we simply get stuck in the fanfare and celebration.
     The hoopla we give to this event actually points to a most important reality we should not ignore.
    In the flow of time, there are things that will and should endure, and things that will and should change, ushering in new elements.
    It’s in not getting lost in the mix of the old and the new that we should train ourselves and become experts. As we and the world grow older, with challenges and problems becoming harder and subtler, this is the crying need.
    While something in us will always stay constant, as it should, we have to learn to move with the times and confront fresh realities with ever-renewing passion and quick-adapting skills.
    This is the core of progress and the dare of development. We don’t destroy things. We retain the essential, discard the outmoding accidentals, and welcome the new things with discernment.
    The idea is to organically blend the old and the new elements to connect us vitally with our permanent dignity and vocation, on the one hand, and the changing times, on the other.
    The essential is the truth that we are persons who work mainly through the mind and the heart. We are not animals. This means we cannot rely only on routine and structure.
    More than this, we are children of God, made in his image and likeness, and called to share his life now and in eternity. This means we cannot remain in worldly and temporal dimensions. We have to enter the spiritual and supernatural realities.
    Given our nature and vocation, we need to think always, leading us to continually renew, adapt, reinvent ourselves. We also need to pray and learn to love, to give ourselves to God and others. We need to be men and women of interior life.
    In short, the necessary goal for us is to be saints. It’s not so much that we be wise and clever, that we be successful professionals, rich, powerful and famous. It’s rather to be holy. All the rest are secondary and meant only to be occasions and instruments of our sanctification.
     “Only one thing is necessary,” Our Lord reminded the busybody Martha who failed to recognize the priority of prayer over work, being with the Lord over being in the world, that her sister Mary upheld. (Luke 10:42)
     The beginning of the New Year should alert us about the true meaning of life and the purpose of time in general. It should occasion deeper examination of conscience and the resolve to make the necessary changes and adaptations.
    What is clear is that for us to truly grow and mature as persons and God’s children, we need conversion, a more radical and extensive one the older we get. This is because age tends to deaden our impulse to convert.
     We have to realize that we cannot move on properly if we do not acknowledge our failures, sins and even our limitations. We cannot move on properly if we don’t demand on ourselves to be and to do better than what we have been and done the previous year.
     If we are contented with what we have been and done so far, not only are we doomed to stagnation. We are doomed to retrogression. In our case, the principle that applies is that if we don’t advance, we retrogress. We just don’t stay put.
    We need to improve our thinking and judgments, as well as our praying. We need to learn to see God in everything, developing a unity of life that is rooted on our abiding faith and love for God.
     More than this, we need to improve our ability to know God’s will in any given moment, to work and live with God. These needs should not remain as goals. They have to be tirelessly worked out and really lived.
     We have to help one another in this lifelong task. And we should understand that this concern covers all aspects of our life, from our personal and family life, to our politics, business, media, etc. We have a lot to do!