Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year

O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father, the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and upon our enemies, if we have any; assist the poor and the sick; have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us; and do Thou be merciful to those who during the coming year will be summoned before Thy judgment seat. May all our actions be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance, so that all our prayers and works, having been begun in Thee, may likewise be ended through Thee. Amen

Ten Commandments for a Happy New Year

  1. Accept and appropriatefor the inner life the peace brought by the Christmas Christ.

  2. Find gladness in the memory of every great experience through the past, in the glow of every present blessing, in the hope of all future joys.

  3. Be humble and lowly of heart; always ready to forgive; quick to recognize your faults and slow to take offense.

  4. Center the thoughts each day on how much love, service and kindness can be given, instead of what material things are lacking.

  5. Seek earnestly divine guidance. Wait on the Lord and run not ahead of His plans. No blunder can ever be made whelife is lived within Hill will.

  6. Love,and there will be no room for envhy. Trust, and there will be no place for worry. Have faith, and there will be no doubts.

  7. Magnify the things of eternal value and minimize the temporary. Put aside the petty cares that pass with the passing day.

  8. Refuse to let jealousy, covetousness, greed and envhy preoccupy your mind and short-circuit your prayers.

  9. Steady life by having a lofty purpose. Life its horizon by contemplating the needs of all mankind. Widen your vision by loving the world as God loved it.

  10. Rest in Christ. He is the secret of the abundant life, the fulfillment of every worthwhuile dream and desire.

God is Not Afraid of Sin

   Pope Francis has encouraged people to encounter God's mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a reminder that the tender forgiveness of God is greater than the "ugliest" sin. "God is not afraid of our sins, he is greater than our sins," the pope said in his general audience on January 19.

   "God always forgives: put this in your head and hear. God always forgives, even the ugliest things," he said in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

   Speaking about God's tenderness and mercy, Pope Francis said the "things of God always reach us through the mediation of human experiences."  "Tenderness is the best way to touch what is fragile in us. Look how nurses touch the wounds of the sick: with tenderness, so as not to hurt them more. And so the Lord touches our wounds with the same tenderness," he said.

   "This is why it is important to encounter God's mercy, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in personal prayer with God, having an experience of truth and tenderness." The pope said that God's tenderness is greater than the logic of the world" and can be "an unexpected way of doing justice." "Without this 'revolution of tenderness'...we risk remaining imprisoned in a justice that does not allow us to get up easily and that confuses redemption with punishment," he said.

   At the end of his live-streamed audience, the pope's thoughts turned to those who are in prison today. "For this reason today, I want to remember in a special way our brothers and sisters who are in prison today" he said. "It is right that those who have made a mistake pay for their mistake, but it is equally right that those who have made a mistake can redeem themselves from their mistake."

   "There can be no condemnations with windows of hope...Let us think of our brothers and sisters in prison, and we think of God's tenderness for them and we pay for them, so that they may find in that window of hope a way out towards a better life"

   This was Pope Francis' eighth audience in a cycle of catechesis on St. Joseph that he launched in November 2021.

   The pope dedicated this week's general audience to a reflection on the saint as "a father of tenderness." As a part of this theme, he reflected on a Bible verse from the Book of Hosea (11:3-4): "He taught him to walk, taking him by the hand; he was for him like a father who raises an infant to his checks, bending down to him and feeding him."

   "It's beautiful, this description from the Bible that shows God's relationship with the people of Israel. And it is the same relationship we believe St. Joseph had with Jesus," he said. 

   Pope Francis offered the following prayer to St. Joseph at the end of the audience:

St. Joseph, father in tenderness,

teach us to accept that we are loved precisely in that which is weakest in us.

Grant that we may place no obstacle

between our poverty and the greatness of God's love.

Stir in us the desire to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation

that we may be forgiven and also made capable of loving tenderly

our brothers and sisters in the poverty.

Be close to those who have done wrong and are paying the price for it;

Help them to find not only justice but also tenderness so that they can start again.

And teach them that the first way to begin again

is to sincerely ask for forgiveness to feel the Father's caress. Amen