In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Every new year brings us a moment of new, fresh hope, sparking with joy. And here we are once again on this New Year’s Day, starting a new year. Christ says “I make all things new, renew everything. My touch can renew everything that has become time worn, my blessing can make it new.”
As we enter upon this new year, which is clean, unspotted, pure, which consists entirely of potentialities, we turn to God with the prayer that He should make us new: ”Behold, I make all things new.” We come to Him with our sins of the past, and hear the words of the prophet Isaiah addressed to us “though your sins be red like crimson, they shall be white as wool.” We ask God to cleanse us and allow us to enter clean and radiant into this year of still unshaken hopes and possibilities. Therefore at the frontier of these two years let us become aware of everything in us that is unworthy of God, unworthy of ourselves and of our friends, everything that could cast a cloud on the brilliance of the new year. Let us repent, let us bring all to God and enter the coming year purged.
As we stand on the brink of this new year let us remember all those who will no longer enter it on earth, but who are now in God’s eternity, for whom there is no boundary between the past and the future, for whom all frontiers are wiped out, who are in the kingdom of joy, the kingdom of love, God’s Kingdom. Let us remember them kindly, let us pray that the Lord should make this eternity radiantly joyful for them, quiet and peaceful, and that their hearts should be open to us, that their prayers should send down God’s blessing and forgiveness to us; what they forgive, God also will forgive.
Let us remember all those, known and unknown the world over, who are in need or in sorrow, those who are without a roof, without a crust of bread. Let us particularly remember those who are deprived of their freedom — whether deservedly or undeservedly according to human standards — the martyrs and the criminals, with one and the same pity and compassion. Let us remember the prisons, the psychiatric prisons, the camps, the torture chambers. Let us remember the hospitals and all those who stand now not at the frontier of a new year but at that frontier which has to be crossed in order to enter eternity, the dying and those who are condemned to death. Let us remember them all and with one voice offer this prayer to God, “Lord, have mercy; Lord, forgive; Lord, bless;” and let us enter upon this new year with God’s blessing and with hope. The mercy of God will be with us; may it be born in our hearts too, so that anyone with whom we come in contact may feel with wonder that the Lord has visited them.
Publication: Newsletter N. 70, 1975
Translated from Russian