Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,
Where will the Year of Our Lord 2022 take us? Where does time fly (tempus fugit)? In other cultural milieus time has seemed to be a kind of perpetual mechanism that just turns with the seasons—without end. Not so in the perspective of Holy Scripture. As a noted Catholic philosopher expresses it:
Man is naturally frightened by the irreversibility of his own duration and the very newness of unpredictable events. He refused to face them. Hence, the negation of time by archaic civilizations.… [There are] the oriental conceptions of the eternally recurrent phases of destruction and regeneration of the cosmos. Christianity has taught us that history has a direction, that it works in a determined direction. History is not an eternal return; it does not move in circles. Time is linear, not cyclical. This truth was a crucial acquisition for human thought. (Jacques Maritain, On the Philosophy of History)
So, if we are going somewhere, where? As has frequently occurred in the history of the Church, some now think that we are approaching the end of time. That could be: there are certainly alarming omens of things that are not right in the world. And yet we must remember what Our Lord solemnly told us:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matt. 24:35-36).
Then there are these striking words of Saint Paul, warning us
…not to be easily disconcerted or alarmed by any spirit or message or letter seeming to be from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has already come. Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction—is revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So, he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.… (2 Thess. 2:2-4)
In fact, the new year will, no doubt, have its dramatic moments, but we must humbly pursue the little task God has given us on earth. As a wise monk once said, “God alone counts; things and events do not matter; to work miracles or to work in the kitchen is all one; it is enough that the task be ordered and willed by God. The soul thus faces all things with the same tranquil zeal (Abbot Dom Paul Delatte, Commentary on the Rule, Chapter 58).” In other words, we just have to do God’s will and leave the great matters to Him.
May this Clear Creek calendar for 2022 help you accomplish that humble and yet sublime task that is yours, joining prayer with the monks, who keep you in theirs.
br. Philip Anderson, abbot