January 5, 2017

A New Year, A New Beginning (Monk Moses the Athonite)

By Monk Moses the Athonite

Every new beginning is a joy. It is a new start. A bright sun that rises with meaning and hope. Every new start is an enjoyable contest. The new year creates assessment, thoughts, plans, programs, emotional enthusiasm. A responsible struggle is essential for these things. Every beginning renews us significantly. We forget the old and extend towards the new.

Saint John Chrysostom beautifully teaches how the year will pass pleasantly if you happily do the divine will. If you work righteousness, your day will be good. If you sin, your day will be wicked, disturbing and dark. If you believe in virtue and practice it, your entire year will go well. But if you neglect virtue and depend on the number of days, you will remain desolate and poor of all good things.

The recent past took with it many elements of sacredness, beauty, peace, quietude, and joy. What are we celebrating? The loss of wisdom, virtue and true wealth? Are we celebrating the entrance of a new year to repeat recent evils and complete disasters? The year that passed had anger, malice, hatred, conceit and great agitation. Unfortunately, the same situation continues. Seeking self-advantage, individualism, speculation, and only our own personal well-being continues.

Christians remain mere spectators of bitter events, some already affected while others have been swept away. We no longer smile, no longer send a warm good day, no longer stand by each other in an honest way. We have not let go of our cunning, weirdness, whining, gossip, condemnation and our insatiable egocentrism. We have been carried away by morbid greed, demonic gloating, and closed ourselves in the shell of our ego.

If our way of thinking and life from last year continues in the new year, then what is the point of any kind of celebration? If the new year is entirely the same, if not worse, then what is the difference? What new beginning will come? Should laughter lead us to tears? Should we speak seriously again for sincere repentance? It is worth making this a precious gift to ourselves. Let us leave the old year with its irreversible vices, and let in the new year by beginning an essential change. Let it be a milestone in our spiritual journey, so that we may regenerate our new selves and let it stay new through the year.

We do not know what the new year hides. We know that Christ blesses times and seasons. It is He Who was born and baptized as a man. He was tempted as a man, but was victorious as God, and He encourages us to resistance. He was hungry, thirsty, tired, fell asleep and payed taxes in order to more closely approach His creatures. He was called a Samaritan, considered demonized, was stoned and endured imperiously. He was stoned, sold, abused, wounded, given vinegar for water, crucified, pierced with a spear and buried. He prayed, wept, descended to Hades, rose, and ascended to the heavens. He is the eternal model for the new year and the new beginning.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.