Reflection for 2021

We have now entered a New Year – 2021. It doesn’t seem long ago since we entered a new millennium, writes Sr Abbie O’Sullivan.

How time has flown by. ‘Tempus fugit’ as the ancient philosophers proclaimed. How everything has changed during the past twenty years and how we have changed too. Such upheavals in our world and such an upheaval brought about by the pandemic!

More and more we realise our fragility and our ineptitude when it comes to getting rid of an unseen virus – an invisible force that brought untold suffering to the whole world. Our lives have changed – have been changed by an outside force which functioned freely throughout our world.

For months it was a numbers game playing with our most cherished treasures – family and friends and imposing restrictions that affected our whole being. We were propelled into a ‘new normal’, an uncertain place where none of us felt at home. Our comfort zones were shattered and we were left wondering, questioning and trying to embrace the new reality of our lives. Did we learn anything?

In his book ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’ Richard Bach wrote, “We teach best what we most need to learn.” Jonathan Seagull learned well and look at the heights he soared to! His courage overcame his fear and he discovered abilities within himself that took him beyond his wildest dreams.

He wondered why all the other seagulls couldn’t find the same courage and freedom. Like him we too must delve into our own inner being and find there the abilities and energies that are lying dormant.

It has been traditional to make New Year’s resolutions even though within the month of January they often fade away. Perhaps our normal vision is conditioned by the needs of our egos. But there is an alternative. Perhaps 2021 could be a year of personal prayer. How about a resolution to pray at all times. Prayer is never wasted. It always brings transformation as God is very near to us.

In his book ‘Eternal Echoes’ John O’Donohue says, “Real Prayer is the liberation of that inner voice of the Eternal.” Let us be silent and listen. Prayer teaches us not to be uneasy or anxious because prayer is the activity of the soul in which the Eternal God is related to each one of us in a very unique way.

Our soul is always at prayer whether we are aware of it or not because the Divine is always alive in us and sustains us. It makes us wonder at the awesomeness of a Loving Father who sent His own Son to teach us how to pray. His prayer was simply the ‘Our Father’.

It was the ancient philosopher Plato who said, “All thought begins in wonder.” Profound wonder can only be expressed in silence as words become redundant when we encounter the Divine who draws us out of ourselves.

This enables us to appreciate the mystery of our own lives as wonder is the natural source of prayer. Prayer then, enables us to form a bridge between our longing for the Divine and our belonging to a higher Being.

So let us allow WONDER to waken our soul. Wonder…Wonder…Wonder. Every person we meet, everything we encounter, every puff of wind that caresses us, every drop of rain that sprinkles us, light and darkness and everything else calls us to more vibrancy and enables us to respond to the wonder of our universe.

The wonder of my being responds to the psalmist when he says:
“It was You who created my inmost self
Knit me together in my mother’s womb
For so many marvels I thank You.
A wonder am I
And all Your works are wonderful.” Psalm 138

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