Light in Woods, taken at the IHM Motherhouse by Sister Maxine KollaschWith the new year on our doorsteps (and already here for our friends in places like Australia), we’ve been reflecting on the usual stuff — taking stock of the last 12 months and envisioning our hopes for 2013.

Sometimes as we think about the new year, we imagine we have to make some big change or find something totally new in order to achieve our “resolutions” or to mark this “new” year.

Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy in 1831, offers us some wisdom that can help us as we enter into this new year:

“The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow. Let us take one day only in hands, at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow, thus we may hope to get on taking short, careful steps, not great strides.”

– Letter to Sister M. de Sales White, February 28, 1841
(source: Sisters of Mercy website)

As we look at what is in our lives today, and tomorrow, we see that the seeds of newness are already there. We don’t have to imagine that the new year will magically bring something totally new — we just have to look at what is, and, as Catherine notes, take short, careful steps.

What might those steps look like in terms of discovering the “new” in the “already”?

  • go deeper in a choice or commitment you’ve made by looking at it in a new light or shifting your perspective
  • accentuate the good and what’s working echoing Catherine’s resolve “to be good today but better tomorrow”
  • remember your original passion and inspiration and let that guide you — in religious life we talk about this as returning to the original charism, a reference to our Vatican II commitment to re-energize and re-envision ourselves in light of the spirit of our founders and the Spirit’s call to us today
  • ask a good friend what they think are your areas of strength and gift for the world

What comes to mind as you consider the “new” in the “already”? What bits of wisdom have you encountered as you’ve taken short, careful steps into the new?

Image: Light in Woods, taken at the IHM Motherhouse by Sister Maxine Kollasch