The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in God.” Lamentations 3.22-24
A Word of Hope
The first week of year in the world of social media is nostalgic to me. It reminds me of the earliest days of Facebook, Instagram and the other sites on which people routinely posted pictures or told stories of their likes and shared good feeling with both friends and strangers. During this first week, we see the word “Happy” used more than we ever see it on any other week of the year. It is a week of agreement in which happy comments reflect the tone of the original positive greeting.
Throughout 2017, I’m sure most of us became increasingly aware that social media’s original intent of presenting an opportunity to increase our friend base had frequently detoured down the dark path of creating new enemies. Resentment, hatred, and total disrespect seemed to be standard practices of both strangers and people we had considered to be our friends. Friendly debates became bitter wars of words. Opponents were designated as monsters in need of slaying. Christians seemed to have developed selective amnesia in regard to positive Bible promises, such as the one above.
-But, it’s 2018 now, and we are still in social media’s “Happy” week. It is also the week of resolutions. I am personally resolving to stay that way for as long as possible. I’m resolving to simply be civil to friend and stranger alike, and in all things to remember to listen to the voice of my soul; to hope in God.
The Following New Year’s prayer was first offered on Facebook by my dear friend and fellow Franciscan, David Fahnle, a person who remembers social media’s original mission:
New Years and the idea of a year's end are arbitrary, human assignments made to denote the end of one time period and to welcome the next one with optimism and hope. Still, knowing this, the last, arbitrary labeled time period, beginning on January 1, 2017, has been filled with joy and wonder for some friends and family but fraught with pain, fear and loss for others. For the next 365 day time period I hope and pray for peace where there is anguish, comfort where there is pain, healing where there is illness, clarity where there is confusion and prosperity where there is need or want. May God shower you all with care, love and blessings! –David Fahnle OFC
Dan Peele, Minister for Children and Families, Order of St. Francis and St. Clare