30 December 2019

Reconciliation in the Year 2020

Every year about this time I choose a theme for a New Year's resolution that I can label with one word and concentrate on that one thing for a whole year until it becomes an ingrained habit. I am pleased to report that this system has worked for me very well. Here is a partial list from years past:

2011 "Ideate" ("to form an idea of", "think of", "imagine", "conceive of","envision", "visualize")

2012 "Update" ("improve", "correct", "renew", "revise", "upgrade", "amend", "overhaul", "modernize", "contemporize")

2013 "Motivate" ("prompt", "drive", "move", "inspire", "stimulate", "influence", "activate", "impel", "push", "propel"

2014 "Ataraxia" ("Tranquility", a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety)

2015 "Contemplate" (Know Thyself, "examine", "inspect", "observe", "survey", "study", "scrutinize")

2016 "Intentionality" ( The is connection between our conscious mind and the object we are thinking about. It is the quality of our thoughts and beliefs that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs. In other words a clear and conscious focus.)

2017 "Altruism"  (The practice of selfless concern for the well being of others. It is the charitable and humble giving of oneself to other people in many different ways.)

2018 "Meditate" (To focus and quiet the mind to reach a higher level of awareness and inner calm.)

2019 "Validate" (To check that something is true and that there is objective evidence from a valid source to prove or confirm that it is true or correct.)

My theme for 2020 is "Reconciliate" ("To reconcile" or find a way in which two or more situations or beliefs that are opposed to each other can agree and exist together. In other words: to win over, to restore harmony, to bring together, to conciliate, to resolve, to reunite, and to rectify. In short, "to bury the hatchet".)

I took note of the fact that a number of luminaries, including Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, and Queen Elizabeth, in their annual year end messages, utilized the general theme of reconciliation and friendship to combat the growing divisiveness, and I  agree. After all, the love of one's neighbor is a commandment according to Our Lord Jesus Christ: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (See Matthew 22:36-40).

In my opinion, the love of God is the easier of the two commandments because He created us and gave us life, and by doing so He showed His love for us as did Jesus Christ by dying on the cross. It is easier to love another being who first loves you than otherwise. However, the love of one's neighbor without exception is not always so straight forward, to say the least. It is hard to wrap one's head around this concept. The Greek word in the original manuscript of the Gospel and later translated into English as "love" is "agapēseis" which means to wish well, to take pleasure in, to long for, to esteem by way of reason. There is a famous quote by Mexico's beloved former president Benito Juárez that is known to every Mexican schoolboy or girl: "Entre los Individuos, como entre Las Naciones, El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz." In English it is "Among individuals, as among nations, peace is respect for the rights of others."

St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 in the King James version, the Douay-Rheims version, and several others; "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." By "charity" these versions mean the same as the Greek word "agapē" where other versions translate the word agapē as "love" instead of charity. In Christian thought, charity is the highest form of love, signifying the reciprocal love between God and man that is made manifest in the unselfish love of one's fellow men. The key that unlocks the heart of charity is self-sacrifice, doing something for the sake of someone else no matter what the cost to one's ego or well being. That is the whole point of Christ's death on the cross. He sacrificed Himself for the rest of us. This is the "greater love" that St. John the evangelist tells us about in John 15:13 (KJV): "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

So, do we have to lay down our lives for each other to show our love for mankind? No, because not many of us are that able, courageous, or righteous. We can, however, take a great leap forward by respect for each other in search of peace. If we make the effort we will reap the reward of God's blessings and an eternal life of happiness and fulfillment.

Have a Charitable, Peaceful, and Hopeful New year in 2020!


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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.