Before the Corona pandemic, they were usually crowded: Fitness Gyms. The dream of the perfect body has so much appeal that many people voluntarily lift heavy weights. The recipe for training success there is: a lot helps a lot. The more I train, the heavier the weights I can carry.
But there are also weights that are so heavy on your shoulders that you are in danger of collapsing under them. Especially now, loneliness and isolation often seem like a coat of iron that holds down the joy of life. How much more must the people who were already excluded before the pandemic because of their poverty, age or disability feel this burden? Here, too, there is a “training” that maybe does not remove the burdens but makes them more bearable: if we practise seeing the invisible burdens of our fellow human beings and sincerely share our time and interest with them, the weights do not disappear, but they no longer crush. We Christians call this attitude “solidarity”. It releases an umimagined power to change the world for the better. How wonderful it is to trust that Jesus knows our burdens and says to us: “If you carry each other’s heavy loads, my kingdom begins with you today!“
“Higher, faster, further!” – this motto of the
Olympic Games is a great motivation for athletes. But perhaps you also know the
experience that our normal everyday life sometimes seems to function according
to these words. Pressure to perform and fear of failure then quickly take over
your head and heart. There is then a great danger of becoming blind to what I
have already been given – and even more so to those people who cannot stand up
to the pressure to perform and fall behind.
In this month, we can try to consciously perceive what good
things we have already been given in our lives. Who accepts me simply as I am?
And who needs this promise from me? Probably then a feeling of gratitude will
arise and I will recognize where I can still grow. Jesus makes us the promise:
if we try the lifestyle of simplicity, we will realize that the blessedness of
heaven already starts with us today.
The year 2020 is behind us, in which the Covid
19 pandemic disrupted all our plans. We have learned to wear masks and keep
distance to protect each other. So many people have been infected with the
virus, too many have died from this disease – solitary in intensive care units,
without saying farewell to their loved ones. Others have lost their jobs; home
schooling and video conferencing are part of everyday life for many of us. What
On the threshold of the new year, we can ask
ourselves: Did we emerge strengthened from the crisis this year, matured in our
humanity and our faith? Have we seen the need of people, the loneliness and
helplessness of others, and stood up for them? Vidimus – we have seen, that was our motto, which could not have
been more appropriate.
Or was this year marked by self-pity and
lamentation over missed opportunities? Pope Francis stated in his Christmas
address: “This scourge was a
remarkable challenge and, at the same time, a great opportunity to convert
ourselves and become more authentic.” I wish that it was so for us.
The new year offers us abundant opportunities to begin anew and to support one
another in seeing, above all, new ways to love in the midst of crisis.
Therefore, I would like to propose to all of us
a new motto for the year, which we can update, concretize and share with each
other month by month: BLESSED ARE YOU.
You surely know the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-12), in which people gather
around Jesus, hoping for an answer to their worries and needs. These people are
not the rich and powerful, but the little ones who, in all their poverty, trust
in the blessedness of heaven: who work for peace and justice and who, despite
all their hardships, are not bitter, but hope in God. To all these people Jesus
says that they are blessed by God and that the splendor of heaven is already on
their faces: BLESSED ARE YOU,
because all human beings are loved by God!
I invite us to continue to look at the faces of
people in this new year, to share their joy and hope, sorrow and fear, and to
participate in their longing for justice, for the blessings of heaven. I am
sure that wherever this happens, we will experience that something of the
blessedness of heaven has already reached us.
There is a song in a modern German version that
could become something like our common hymn this year: “Selig seid ihr” (Blessed are You): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdlzSJI-P9o. You can
find it on Youtube with original German lyrics, which I have translated into
English, so that you can sing the song together in your group and at your
meetings. Maybe you can also translate the verses into Polish, Croatian,
Hungarian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Slovakian, Kazakh, Russian … Maybe we will
join together on Zoom to form an international digital choir. Jakob Ohm will
again write a spiritual impulse to the verses month by month. So I am convinced
that at the end of the year something of this blessedness of heaven will have
arrived in our world – and will also have settled on our hearts.
A blessed new year to you all!
1. Blessed are you if you simply live. Blessed are you When you carry loads.
2. Blessed are you if you learn to love. Blessed are you if you will be kind.
3. Blessed are you when you feel the pain. Blessed are you if you keep sincere
4. blessed are you if you are at peace. Blessed are you while feeling injury.
5. Blessed are you When you heal the wounds Sorrow and grief sharing with yourselves
6. Blessed are you When you fill the Hunger and thirst For each other quench
7. Blessed are you When you break the bonds Unsuspecting thoughts of kindness in your hearts.
8. Blessed are you When you can forgive be support and hold for every one of you