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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year End Musings

~ from Appolo 13:

NASA Director: This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever experienced.
Flight Director, Gene Kranz: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

I recently ran across one of my favorite movies on television and as usual hung around to watch the entire thing (commercials and all). The exchange quoted above captures for me the year that looms on the horizon for people who believe in and cling to Divine Presence, Human Dignity, Justice, Mercy, and Love.

In these closing days of 2016 the air is filled with retrospection. I try to remember what my thoughts, hopes, and dreams were this time last year and reflect on how they fared. As with every year there were successes and failures, pride and disappointment, gains and losses, births and deaths, victories and defeats. As with every year, each day was the same yet unique, bringing its own opportunity, potential, challenge, and satisfaction. As with every year, there were “what ifs” and “if onlys.”  As with every year, I spend its waning days bidding farewell while turning toward the threshold of another year, a New Year. And, as with every New Year, what lies in wait are days of opportunity, potential, and challenge.

My prayer for the days ahead is John O’Donohue’s poem In Praise of Fire:

Let us praise the grace & risk of Fire.

In the beginning
The Word was red,
And the sound was thunder,
And the wound in the unseen
Spilled forth the red weather of being.

In the name of Fire,
The Flame,
And the Light:
Praise the pure presence of fire
That burns from within
Without thought of time.

The hunger of Fire has no need
For the reliquary of the future;
It adores the eros of now,
Where the memory of the earth
In flames that lick and drink the air
Is made to release

Its long enduring forms
In a powder of ashes
Left for the wind to decipher.

As air intensifies the hunger of fire,
May the thought of death
Breathe new urgency
Into our love of life.

As fire cleanses dross
May the flame of passion
Burn away what is false.

As short as the time
From spark to flame,
So brief may the distance be
Between heart and being.

May we discover
Beneath our fear
Embers of anger
To kindle justice.

May courage
Cause our lives to flame,
In the name of the Fire,
And the Flame
And the Light. 

Within every perceived "worst disaster" lies the potential for a "finest hour." I'm reminded of the chorus of a hymn I wrote a few years ago:

May the fire of faith burn bright,
May the flame of hope burn long,
Turn our shadows into light. 

And fill our hearts with grateful song.


  1. Thanks for another thought-provoking reflection on this important blog.

  2. Andy, thanks for the insight and inspiration you share. Happy New Year.