What new beginning are you experiencing? A new job? A move to a new city? A new year? God is with us in our transitions. New beginnings are the best time to reflect on where we’ve come from and move into the future with a joyful hope.
This meditation may be helpful for life transitions or milestones, or even at the beginning of a new year. If you feel ready to push the reset button and start afresh, sit and pray with this meditation.
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New beginnings do not just happen at the beginning of a new year. They can occur with a romantic breakup, a move to a new city, a new job, a new child, or another life event. What new beginning am I experiencing now? How am I feeling at this point? … I sit for a while with that feeling.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
The stories in scripture show time and time again that God offers people a new beginning, another chance for great things. God frees the oppressed, Jesus heals and restores, and the Holy Spirit imbues new life.
When we’re in a new situation, at the beginning of a new year, or in a new state of mind it’s natural to make resolutions. But in those resolutions are we staying true to ourselves or trying to be someone different? When Jesus offers someone a new beginning, he’s simply calling them to be themselves, their best selves. Can I claim my selfhood, my own identity, loved and given by God?
ATTACHMENTS & HOPES
Sometimes new beginnings are chances to take a look at the things we’re holding onto. Saint Ignatius speaks of so-called “disordered attachments”, things we’re attached to that are not helpful to growing closer to God and our True Self. We need to get rid of those things. Are there any things that I can get rid of at this point in my life, things unhelpful to my journey? What do I need to let go of?
At this new beginning, what are my hopes?
Friendships can be very important to new beginnings. They may help us in our transition or they may help encourage us to awaken dreams. Who are my friends who can help me in my journey forward?
It’s also important to consider our friendship with God who meets us wherever we are. When we look back on a past year or past relationship or past situation, we may nostalgically long to return to that place. But the graces of those times and the memories of the past can come with us. And God, most importantly, is never left behind. God moves with us from the present moment into the future, into new and hopeful beginnings.
The verse from Isaiah says that God is going to do something “brand-new”. What brand new thing is God doing for me now?
Let us start our new beginning with a prayer attributed to St Teresa of Avila and St Thérèse of Lisieux:
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.