new-years-ballWhen the exceedingly expensive ball drops on New Years Eve many folks are saying that 2016 can’t go away fast enough.  All the talk of hope and change over the last few years brought about nothing but an endless campaign and fund raising and disastrous policies that even the party that thought they were in power have trouble explaining.  Admirers of the Soviet Union when it existed are all of a sudden talking like “hawks”.  Russiaphiles are suddenly Russiaphobes and it is hard to keep score on the flips and changes and strange goings on.  People who were our friends aren’t anymore and there are concerted efforts to destroy the only real allies the US has had since WWII.  The old Chinese curse keeps coming into my mind – “may you live in interesting times”.

I came across a statement by St. Augustine that applies to new years and old years and interesting times.  “You are surprised that the world is losing its grip, that the world is grown old? Think of a man. He is born, he grows up, he becomes old. Old age has many complaints: coughing, shaking, failing eyesight, anxious, terribly tired. A man grows old; he is full of complaints. The world is old; it is full of pressing tribulations. . . . Do not hold on to the old man, the world. Do not refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you: “The world is passing away, the world
is losing its grip, the world is short of breath. Do not fear. ‘Your youth shall be renewed as an eagle.’”

Augustine wrote that after an unimaginable cataclysm.  The fall of Rome, the so called eternal city, by barbarians called Goths in A.D. 41 was seen as the end of the world by many.  The only way to get into the mindset of how people viewed that event which was so horrible and terrifying is to look around and see the uncertainty of everything that we do and all that we have trusted in.  The best motto for the new year – “Do not fear”.