Dec 31 – Memorial for St. Sylvester I, pope
St. Sylvester (d. 335) was pope in the reign of Emperor Constantine I, who built the Lateran and other churches. He sent legates to the First Council of Nicaea, and was involved in the controversy over Arianism. The spurious Donation of Constantine was supposedly given to St. Sylvester.
- Patron Saint Index
1 Jn 2:18-21
But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God
A few days ago, I made an interesting observation while booking my seat for the first mass of January 2022 through the online mass registration system. While selecting my preferred timeslot for the weekend mass, I noticed that the evening mass for New Year’s Eve on Friday and the morning mass on New Year’s Day were already fully booked while the weekend mass slots still had hundreds of vacancies. I suppose I can infer from this observation that attending mass to mark the new year holds great significance for a lot of Catholics.
Indeed, the start of a new year invariably prompts one to look back in recollection and reflection of the year that passed and resolve to do better for the year ahead. Instead of coming up with a laundry list of resolutions, the kind often promoted by secular media, I encourage you to simply pay attention. Pay attention to your own thoughts, the little things that you say and do, and also the things that you don’t do. Which are the ones that lead you towards God, and which are the ones that don’t? Jesus is “a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower” (John 1:5). If we are not even aware of the darkness within us, how can we let Jesus be our light?
A long-standing issue I have is my tendency to harbour negative thoughts about others. I was recently appalled by a sudden realisation that the first thought I have about certain people is a highly critical one. Something in my mind harps on some flaw in these people, be it their personality traits or lack of competency in their work. I have found that this judgemental way of thinking is not healthy as it predisposes me to say sarcastic or hurtful things to them. “Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness” (1 John 2:10-11). I know that instead of loving them and praying for them as I should, I have chosen to throw stones at them instead.
One can decide to form good habits anytime. There isn’t really a need to do so for the sake of the new year. Rather, let us make use of the occasion to make a serious examination of how we are doing as followers of Christ.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray that as we work on letting go of the difficulties and grievances we had to endure in the past year, we may look forward to the new year with renewed hope and trust in the Lord. May we learn from our mistakes, reorientate ourselves towards God, and seek to transform our very selves in His image.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the blessings we received the past year, even in the midst of trying circumstances.
Edith – thank you for your honest reflection. I can relate to your feelings and thoughts as well. Thank you for reflecting on this to help me uncover my critical spirit.