Very few people knit nowadays. When I was a child - it was war time - my mother used to knit our sweaters and socks. The wool could be bought in a “skein “, a bundle of thread loosely coiled and knotted. We would help our mother by holding this skein on two outstretched arms and she would untangle it and wind it into a nice neat ball ready for knitting. I remember how , while she was knitting, sometimes she would, inadvertently, “drop a stitch”. If she did not notice this in time, this one dropped stitch would gradually create a hole in the sock or scarf and she would have to unravel her work and “pick up the dropped stitch”.
This image helps me to understand the importance of each and every human being in history.
The preface for Advent prays:
“When Christ came among us as a Man, He fulfilled the Plan You made long ago”.
“His purpose was to unite all things in Christ, things on heaven and things on earth” (Eph 1:10)
The same can be said of each of us. When God created me, He was fulfilling a plan He made long ago for humanity and for me. “He blessed us in Christ before the foundation of the world. He destined us in Love to be His children. In His loving kindness ,this was His purpose” (Eph 1:5)
This faith helps me when I consider the world we are living in as we enter the New Year 2023. For many people, it is a dark, threatening, violent, uncertain, unpredictable meaningless world. It is a world rushing blindly into a state where humans will be reduced to a “cipher” - a secret disguised code - where our humanity will be programmed and controlled according to some hidden plan,using artificial intelligence. That is, if we have not already annihilated ourselves by a nuclear explosion overpopulation,or by the global warming we are unable or unwilling to prevent.
That is one world view.
Father Barre gave us another view of humanity and of the world we live in. For him, each of us human beings is a unique, unrepeatable and irreplaceable image of God, who has inalienable dignity, with apersonal vocation from God, and a destiny beyond this life. Whatever happens - and each generation, each era, each time and place in history brings its own challenges – we are to remain always in peace and trust in God.We are to hope against all hope and, when all hope fails, we are to hope all the more.He taught us to pray “Nothing escapes Your adorable Providence in my life and that is enough for me”.We are to trust that the Heavenly Father has a purpose for humanity, and for each one of us, that will not be thwarted by outside forces, that our Father guides and governs events with an all Powerful, Loving, Wise Providence that is beyond our comprehension. Fr Barre told us that we can possess the Holy Spirit of God and be possessed by this Spirit and so share in the mission of Christ.
As we enter the New Year, may we find courage and hope in the assurance that each of us, though only be a tiny “stitch’ in the web of history, has our unique God-given place. We can let our little light shine in the doom and gloom. We cancollaborate with The Light that still shines in the darkness and that the darkness can never overcome. (Jn 1: 5)
Happy Bright New Year!