Saturday, January 28, 2012


It’s normally a week into January that half of us realise that we never got around to thinking up a New Year’s Resolution. A fortnight in, that same half will realise that they still haven’t thought anything up. I’ve heard of a few people finally having thought some up in time for Chinese New Year, but doubtless the rest of us will give it up as a bad job. Which seems a little defeatist really, doesn’t it?

Newman House is long since back up to full strength now; some poor souls have already had their first taste of the library again, and even the exam hall. Over Christmas however, we were spread all over the place, and while I don’t know how everyone else’s priests preached on Christmas night, I thought I would share with you a little wisdom that my own parish priest imparted.

As Catholics, we look to Christ’s death on the cross, and the resurrection that lies behind, as the centre of our lives. Father made the point that, often, we perhaps focus too much on the wood of the cross, able to see nothing beyond our own failings. He suggested that we must always remember the wood of the crib. The nativity is a tale of journeys: Joseph and Mary going to Jerusalem; the Magi and the shepherds following the star; the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt. All were journeys of great courage, however insignificant they may have seemed to many of the people around them at the time.

As Catholics, we do not need January 1st to begin again. Christ healed all those who came to him, whatever their sins, if they really wanted forgiveness; we can begin again in him on any given morning. It is important that we recognise our failings, but Christ’s death on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice, served to save us. So here’s a little suggestion for those still clinging to the idea that they might yet come up with a resolution.

Every time you look at the crosses which we see up on walls, remember also the wooden cribs now safely stowed away until December, and then that first crib. If we remember the unlikely people who made those journeys at the time of Christ’s birth, we might feel brave enough to begin again in the morning. And then the morning after that, too.

Picture: Glimpses of Grace blog,

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