January 2022. Let me start by wishing you all a very blessed 2022. Hopefully, this year brings us closer to the end of the pandemic, or at least a less interrupting way to live with COVID. 

Pope Francis started the year with the 55th World Day of Peace message on the 1st of January entitled: Dialogue between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace. Click here to read the message.

To bring different generations closer together, he himself participated in a new Netflix series called Stories of a Generation. The 4-episode documentary, made by filmmakers younger than 30, highlighted interviews with people older than 70, who all made an impact on society either through their courage, creativity, their pioneering crossing of boundaries, or their joy of life. Both the document and the documentary are an inspiring start for the New Year.

One of the questions asked is: What does Love mean to you? Where does one even start to describe it? It is a question that is at the heart of the many challenges and answers in our lives. Love received or given/ denied, or overflowing can make or break our lives. Without making the experience of love something too far removed from reality by over-idealizing it, it sure is heartwarming to see concrete witnesses and acts of love as inspiring examples within reach.

During this New Year, the Church all over the world will participate in a Synod. The word means: “walking together”. Various questionnaires will go out to dioceses, parishes, monasteries, catholic institutions, and groups to stimulate faith conversations. What is it in our faith that gives us joy and strength to deal with the challenges of every day? Equally important is to talk about the other side. What stands in the way of our faith and what needs to change? Hopefully, we find inspiration in walking side by side and talking about our core values and/or our faith in this synodal process.   

At the beginning of a new year, our agendas may look rather empty, but we all know that they fill up quickly. It may therefore be a good idea to reserve some time now for ourselves and the priorities that we postponed last year. Investing in our physical and mental health, our relationships, and our faith may be a good plan, before we find ourselves, once again, with no time for them. The wise African saying: “Many people have clocks, but few have time”, may help us to spend our time in such a way that makes us feel happy.  

May 2022 gives us the time of our lives.

Fr. Sjaak