7 January 2022

A Ponder for 2022
by Br. Paul de Groot, O.Carm

The church may start its new year on the first Sunday of Advent 
but I suspect like me, you tend to follow the society we live in,
and start it on the 1st January. 
This is usually a period when there is a break, 
a time for family, a time for friends, 
a time just to reflect.
We have been living in interesting times 
but do you feel blessed? 
It seems to me to have thrown our thinking into a very sharp relief.

Christmas, the birth of Jesus, when
God as a human baby becomes part of our creation
Is with us, alongside us, on our planet 
which makes our planet divine 
and us too.

Copt 26 acknowledged how precious the planet is 
and how we need to cooperate to avoid damaging it further .
The realisation that each and every animal and plant, microbe or virus is divine 
has not yet become part of our common culture.

COVID-19 (that Sars 2 virus) does not seem to be divine. 
It has made most of us feel alone, anxious, fearful 
and caused deep grief as friends and family have succumbed and died.
Loving? Divine? Hardly...

But look how we reacted:
The cooperation between scientists to create viable vaccines in record time...
the exhausting effort of the NHS to care for the afflicted...
the other key workers we did not realise were there 
supermarket shelf stackers…..
refuse collectors, the neighbour keeping an eye out...
reminiscent of the love poured out for a baby in a manager.
Humanity in its loving, exercises its divinity.

And as we venture tentatively into 2022
in hope with Saint Jude
can we realise our divinity
by acknowledging that all around us is gift,
all of creation, 
each other, every plant, animal, microbe, and virus
freely given to us to savour, honour and enjoy?


Paul is Chaplain to the Shrine of Saint Jude