Walking into 2022, cautiously

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I think everyone is a bit on edge. A bit nervous. What will 2022 bring? We all rolled in to 2020 with some distant news of some new virus in China with no idea what was ahead. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic, and it’s the uncertainty that is wearing us down. We’ve had our lives interrupted, at very short notice, and we have been thrown into chaos over an unseen threat. We’ve been very lucky in New Zealand not to have the scenes of chaos, and not to have had our health system overwhelmed.

At this time of year, a lot of people set goals. I’ve seen a few people saying, “can we put a disclaimer on our goals – if Covid gets in the way, that’s not our fault?” We all have our goals to reach. Often these involve our health – weight, fitness, food intake, alcohol intake. People are moving to be more aware of the need for “me time” and some mindfulness and taking time to ensure we look after our mental health.

Let’s acknowledge that our faith and our spiritual soul needs feeding regularly to help with our mental health. Let’s have faith-based goals, maybe not the most popular or cool idea on social media, but perhaps more relevant than most goals. It’s easy to look back and see that, in this pandemic, our faith might have slipped. In New Zealand, we have had prolonged periods of not being able to access the sacraments (at least in Auckland) over the last two years.

Prayer is always available to us. The Bible is always available to us. I have a few email subscriptions coming into in my inbox now – Opus Dei, Theology of the Body and Amen (which links to an app). This – and following some faith-based presence on social media -ensures that food for my soul is there for my attention, as well as the information on sales in shops, and updates from friends and so on. Practising our faith is, at least, partly habitual. When we can’t go to weekly Mass, we fall out of the habit of going to Mass. All of us need to make sure that we get back into that habit, now that Mass is available again. Our parish is scheduling Masses for both the vaccinated and for those who don’t use a vaccine pass. While I don’t like to see any of us divided, this is following the rules of the land that are currently in place, and allows access to the sacraments to all.

In our prayers, we need to continue to pray for the leaders of our country, and to pray for unity and a way forward for all of us. Prayers that this pandemic will end. There has been extraordinary loss of lives overseas, and a lot of pain and suffering for people financially who have lost their jobs. Many businesses have suffered, and some have closed. That is a big blow to many hard-working Kiwis. There are so many families which have been split with border closures and being kept apart for a long time. With no clear end in sight, and rules that keep changing, it’s hard to stay hopeful. We must have hope, though. This will end. The uncertainty will have built resilience for some of us. 

Faith helps us in our resiliency. There is much hope that comes from practising and living our faith. It anchors us and keeps us strong in the difficult times in which we live. We will always continue to walk towards the light. Jesus is our light, he is the way, the truth and the light for each of us and for the whole world. 

2 Corinthians 5:7-9: “For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7-9. 

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Helen Luxford

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