Ciao amici! Hello friends, and as we say in Italy, Buon Anno, Happy New Year! I’m so excited to share with you my New Year’s message as I think it will make a difference as we enter 2024, following a year with so many challenges.
Given the state of our country, our world, and much confusion in and outside the Church, it would be easy to either remain fearful, focusing only on the bad or the ugly. It’s also tempting to go to the other extreme; act as if everything is perfect, walking around with blinders on and pretending that all the problems will melt away.
The good news is that we have the Good News. St. Paul reminds us that God does not want us to wander around fearful or with our heads in the sand.
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy: 2:7)
As a syndicated talk show host, I have a front row seat to many of the major stories we see when we turn on our smart phones or laptops. But there must be a balance. Even someone in my line of work and ministry, where it is my job to keep people informed, the same approach is necessary. I believe that’s why the phrase “be aware but don’t despair” keeps coming to mind. It just came to me one morning when I was preparing to go on the air and has stuck with me. We need to know about the problems so we can be God’s hands and feet, following God’s will in doing whatever we can to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. We can’t know God’s will however, and how He wants us to help one another, if we don’t have a healthy balance in our lives and that is where my message to you today comes in.
Our relationship with God must come first, and we can’t know God unless we spend more time with Him. I really would like you to read an article I wrote about something dear to my heart, to encourage and remind myself, and you, about the importance of slowing down, making time for reflection and contemplation, and having a childlike faith by doing something as simple as hopping on park bench. We all need to make a concerted effort to get away from the noise and enter a place of peace. And while this article concerns a unique way to do just that, in my favorite place to visit, Italy, the concept can be done anywhere.
Have you thought about attending a spiritual retreat or event? I’d like to offer you some opportunities in 2024 for spiritual enrichment. If you are in Michigan, Deacon Dom & I have a few special Marriage events we would like to invite you to, including World Marriage Day for engaged and married couples February 18th. We have events across the country, and pilgrimages to Italy planned. We are also looking forward to our yearly Grand Hotel Getaway open to singles, married couples, and families, and in January 2025 another Good News Marriage Cruise.
Also, for ladies, take a look at my latest book project Wisdom from Women in Scripture, where you will meet courageous women in the Old and New Testament written through the eyes and insights of noted Catholic authors and scholars.
So, let’s begin this gift of a brand-new year, by being aware of what the Lord wants, avoiding despair and looking for new and simple ways to get closer to Christ.