Going Forward in this New Year by Looking Back

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

One of my favorite ways to learn about my faith and to grow in my relationship with God is to try and read as much as possible the writings of Pope Benedict XVI.  For some reason the Pope’s words always hit me right between the eyes and strike me smack dab in the heart.  Whether it is something he said during his weekly Wednesday audience, his message following the Sunday Angelus prayer, or a statement in reaction to some breaking news in the world, I always find him to be a profoundly clear and prolific teacher.

That’s why at the top of my list of resolutions for 2013 is the idea that looking back at some of the Pope’s words of wisdom in 2012 could help me in my efforts to move forward in this New Year.   I try to read as much of Pope Benedict as I can.  However, often I find that reading takes place in the middle of an already jam packed day.  So I do almost a speed reading of the document, letter or article without really taking the necessary time to deeply reflect and pray about what I have just absorbed.  Initially, because of the Pope’s way with words, my reaction is usually “wow” or “how true.”  But then I put it aside and get back to the task at hand which is why taking a second look is at the top of my hit parade.

Just recently I went back to the article he wrote for the Financial Times. (http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-benedict-writes-article-for-the-financial-tim) As explained on the Vatican news web site www.news.va , the article originated from a request made by the editorial offices of the newspaper asking for the Pope’s comments regarding Christmas and on the release of his latest book on Jesus’ infancy.   Here the Pope reminds us that the birth of Christ should challenge us to “reassess our priorities, our values, our very way of life.”

“While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience.  At the end of a year that has mean economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?”

Okay here we are technically only a few weeks past all the Christmas celebrations.  How many of us have long stopped pondering the manger scene or for that matter can even remember where we stored the manger for next year? Going back to that article forced me to think about how I need to spend more time and not just during Advent and Christmas reflecting on the Incarnation.

“Christmas can be the time in which we learn to read the Gospel, to get to know Jesus not only as the Child in the manger, but as the one in whom we recognize God made Man.  It is in the Gospel that Christians find inspiration for their daily lives and their involvement in worldly affairs-be in the Houses of Parliament or the Stock Exchange.  Christians shouldn’t shun the world. They should engage with it. But their involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology.”

See what I mean?  Here comes that “wow” factor again.  Just chewing on this paragraph for a while can help us put the election into a clearer perspective in terms of those in office who claim to be Catholic but can’t seem to rise above today’s political correctness.  The Pope forced me to take stock of how I may in some ways also be buying into instead of standing up against the ideologies and actions that are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Church.

So before you move forward full force into 2013 go back to some of the writings of our Pope and other great Catholic teachers. In addition to our web site, www.osv.com some of my favorite resources include www.zenit.org, www.ewtnnews.com, and again www.news.va.  This is one resolution you won’t mind keeping and as a matter of fact will be the gift that just keeps giving by putting that extra spiritual spring in all those steps you plan to take this year.

Teresa’s latest book, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture has been on the Catholic best-seller list since its release in October, 2011.

Visit Teresa’s website: http://teresatomeo.com/

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About the Author

Teresa’s latest book, God's Bucket List: Heaven's Surefire Way to Happiness in This Life and Beyond is available on Amazon and one of her other popular books, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture has been on the Catholic best-seller list since its release in October, 2011.

Teresa Tomeo is an author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker with nearly 30 years of experience in TV, radio and newspaper.

In the year 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company. Many of you remember Teresa from her days in the Detroit media, especially her awarding winning radio work and her many years on Channel 7 and Channel 50.

Teresa’s daily morning radio program, “Catholic Connection”, is produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, and now heard on over 150 Catholic stations nationwide. Her talk show is also carried on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Teresa is a columnist and special correspondent for the national Catholic newspaper, “Our Sunday Visitor”. She appears frequently on EWTN Catholic Television, most recently covering the March for Life in Washington D.C. Teresa has also been featured on “The O’Reilly Factor” and Fox News.

In 2008 Teresa was chosen as only one of 250 delegates from around the world to attend the Vatican Women’s Congress held in Rome marking the 20th Anniversary of John Paul the Second’s Letter entitled “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.”

As a speaker Teresa travels around the country addressing media awareness and activism, as well as sharing her reversion to the Catholic Church. Her first book, “Noise—How Our Media Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families”, published by Ascension Press is a Catholic best-seller and now in its second printing. Her second book, “Newsflash! My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist” was published in September of 2008. Teresa has also co-authored a series of best selling Catholic books called “All Things Girl” for tween girls focusing on modesty and chastity.

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