At the Conclusion of the Year of Faith

Winter has never been my best month, but this winter, the season is well with my soul.

I didn’t mean to fall asleep at the Eucharistic Adoration. I almost think it was Jesus who knew that I was tired gave me sleep. I dozed for a mild sleep-like rest, my body reduced to a small form in my chair. I was motionless like that for good 40 minutes. When I finally opened my eyes and lifted my head, someone was walking in for Adoration, and the door closed behind her quite loudly. It’s time. Wake up. I thanked the Lord for the restful sleep, and asked for forgiveness for falling asleep. I thought to ask to grant me rest this year in whichever way he chooses, but then, I wasn’t sure if I should pray for something like that. After all, I am only 33 years old, healthy in every way except the clinical depression tendencies. Instead, I wrote down the prayers my sister requested for her husband, and for my parents, my sisters, and my boyfriend. Then I headed home.

A few days later, Saturday morning came. As usual, I got up early to go in for my morning job at the coffee shop. I am a designated opener on Saturdays. Even though the temptation to stay home for a lazy morning with my family is always urging me to arrive at the point of frustration, I kicked my warm blanket hard, as if a trained soldier, and turned on my computer to check emails before work. My sleepy eyes met the Crucifixion Cross placed in front of my desk. I could not help my yearning soul already making a request to the Lord. ‘Grant me rest. I want to rest.’ My soul was asking.

It must be the winter. That’s all I can think of. It’s not like I have a difficult job. I do have to start my work at an odd hour such as 4:30 am or 5:30 am, but it was my choice, and I like it that way. I like leaving work before 11 am hits the world. By 11, I am done with the world, and I still have a whole day ahead of me to spend with my family and my boyfriend.

But every fall and winter, as the season matures, I am struck with increasing sense of fatigue and gloom. The symptoms deepen day by day, month by month if I don’t take caution. By the time December is at the door, I am already half way through with my recurring mood shift. December is always the hardest month for me to get by, which is ironic because it is my favorite month of all. This winter is all about taking daily naps to recover my brain, and staying in bed reading papers and books. It’s all about staying home with my beloved sister, nieces and nephew, and trying new restaurants and coffee shops with my boyfriend, enjoying meals with my mom and dad, and watching movies in the warmth of my home.

I used to carry so much guilt brought on by my self-induced uselessness and laziness. Nobody prodded me to get out of my bed in my sick state and make the world a better place. I, myself, expected that from me. Having nothing to show as a proof of my worthiness, I was far from being the staple model of this modern world. I had no real career, and no attachment to any social structures. I was always a loner, an outsider, and a lost cause. I lived feeling like that for so many years. It was when I finally saw the real picture of myself that I was set free from the deadly habit of self-criticizing. I was only a lost lamb, about to be found by my Lord, Jesus.

As of yesterday, the year of faith declared by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has been concluded. For me personally, the year of faith started right after I moved to this city when only faith was left to get me through. It was the year like any other; many ups and downs in my moods and life events, trials and failures, tears and joy always mingled together in their highest forms. In one word, it was one exhausting year. And Pope Benedict was right in recalling the Year of Faith. It could not have been more timely perfect.

I reflect on this brand new day right after the conclusion of the Year of Faith and look ahead of the upcoming year of something. Many words come to my mind. The year of hope and of love, especially. Whatever comes in the next year, it will be a year of a lot of thanksgiving to the Lord. It will be a year of humbly receiving the gifts that come from God. All the faithful shall receive the goodness of God as it has been promised. On this path of promise, where the goodness of the Lord is always promised to be given, only faith will carry me through till the end. As long as I have the gift of faith, my soul is well in this season, in this year, in this earthly life, and in Eternity.

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