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Hope, Peace and Providence in the New Year

From our Lay Director

Happy New Year! As often as I share this greeting as a new year is approaching or has just arrived, it usually has a unique meaning for me. Some years, it is the hope of a new year that doesn’t have the difficult losses or changes that I’ve experienced in the past year. Sometimes, it is the hope of a new year that is already inviting me into the excitement of events to come that look to bring much joy and/or fulfillment. At other times, there is a peace with the knowledge that although I don’t know of something special to look forward to in the coming year or have experienced a past year that was particularly challenging, God is still in control (as usual!), and I don’t have to fear the future or regret the past.

This year, I came upon (by God’s providence!), the Surrender Novena written by Padre Pio’s Spiritual Director, Servant of God Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo. The Novena contains 9 days of prayers that Jesus spoke to Fr. Ruotolo, each day ending with “O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!”, recited 10 times. I prayed the 9-day Novena, then prayed it again 2 more times. I couldn’t sustain that practice but have found myself (usually several times daily) praying, “O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything!” And Jesus does. He continually answers my prayer for Him to take care of everything, often with surprises that exceed anything I could have hoped for.

I have appreciated this verse from Jeremiah 29:11 “Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” It has been a source of peace and comfort for many years. The verses from Proverbs 3:5-6 have also been a good reminder of who is in control of my life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” The prayer of surrendering myself has helped to more frequently connect me with my loving Jesus who desires me with His whole heart, who wants nothing for me but what is best for me.

I am looking forward to this new year with the hope that I can become ever more joined to Jesus, my Lord and Savior, the One who came to this earth to teach us how to love and to show us how to surrender ourselves to the will of the Father. Ultreya!

Your brother and sister in Christ,

John Lyons, Kathy Otermat

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