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New Year’s Day

Something in him told him that the way to begin the new year was to stop, if only for a few moments, at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer. The familiar embrace of old friend Silence began as soon as he shut the car door, and continued as he entered the darkness of the chapel.

He knelt and prayed, in words something like this:

Father, this year is yours.
I give you on this first day every moment, every hope, every disappointment, every joy, every surprise, every success and every failure, every moment of light and those of darkness, every smile and every tear, all the changes and all the continuity, all the nights and all the days.
They are all yours. Let them be as you will.

He sat down on the pew in the quiet and the darkness. As his eyes adjusted, he looked above and to the left at the massive Eucharistic altar and the simple cross suspended above it. After some time, the silence was broken, not by anything auditory, not by anything anyone else in the chapel would have heard, but nevertheless the silence was broken.

It was a voice, speaking clearly, calmly, and gently. It said, “Offer yourself. I will do the rest.”

He lingered in the chapel for a few more minutes, looking still at the altar and the cross. Then he rose quietly and left. More truly than it had after any fireworks display, the new year had begun.



A native of the North Shore of Boston, I currently live on Long Island, New York. I worked at Boston College as the Acting Director of The Church in the 21st Century Center until August, 2010 and served until November 2016 as Canon for Formation, and Dean of the George Mercer Jr. School of Theology of the Diocese of Long Island. I am now Rector at the Church of Saint Anselm of Canterbury in Shoreham, New York.

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