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A New Year’s Wish for You
It is always a magnificent site to see sunrays radiating through clouds over the flint hills. Not only do you have the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows; but when those are contrasted with the sky you can also see hues of blue, green, and even purple. The sunrays, breaking through the clouds, shine down upon the earth like various shafts of light piercing the ground. Such a Kansas sky is especially moving when those shafts of light feel like they are directed at you. In my mind, that is what I imagine God’s blessings to look like: sunrays, breaking through the clouds of life, radiating down upon the soul.
And this is my Christmas and New Year’s wish for you: that the Love of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, can break through the clouds of life and flood you, and your family, with the light of the Holy Spirit. There is an ancient blessing in the Scriptures (Num 6:24-26) that Priests use to this day. It goes:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May he let his face shine upon you and show you his mercy.
May he turn his countenance towards you and give you his peace.
Isn’t this a beautiful blessing? As the sun shines down upon the earth so, too, I pray that the face of the Lord shines upon you. As you celebrate this Christmas Season and prepare yourself for New Year I pray that God’s blessings burst forth from the highest heavens and flood you with joy, peace, contentment, and life.
A New Year’s Spiritual Tradition
As a sort of Christmas gift I want share with you a special tradition within the Church on New Year’s Eve. There is a hymn in the Church that is called the Te Deum. This hymn is sung in the Church on all its highest feasts. Most Catholics know this hymn as the Holy God, We Praise Thy Name which is normally sung at the end of adoration. The Church teaches, “A plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly assist either at a recitation or a solemn singing of the Te Deum, on the final day of the year, to offer thanks to God for gifts received throughout the course of the entire year.” I encourage you to either sing or say this hymn with your family on New Year’s Eve to receive such great graces. Here are all the verses to Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, which are the whole translation of the Te Duem:
1. Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.
2. Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.
3. Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun,
Through the Church the song goes on.
4. Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.
5. Thou art King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
For us sinners sacrificed,
And to death a tributary:
First to break the bars of death,
Thou has opened Heaven to faith.
6. From Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
We believe that Thou shalt come
In the dreaded doomsday morning;
When Thy voice shall shake the earth,
And the startled dead come forth.
7. Therefore do we pray Thee, Lord:
Help Thy servants whom, redeeming
By Thy precious blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan’s scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
In the glory of the blest.
8. Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.