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All Things New


New Year’s Day. The Cir­cum­ci­sion of the Lord. Saint Basil the Great. [Col. 2:8–12; Luke 2:20–21, 40–52]. Since New Year’s Day is the begin‐ning of the days of the year, we ought to gath­er in our soul those thoughts, feel­ings and dis­po­si­tions that would direct our affairs through­out the year in a Chris­t­ian way. We will find this the moment we bring to mind what New Year’s Day is in the spir­i­tu­al life. In the spir­i­tu­al life, New Year’s Day is when one who has been liv­ing care‐lessly becomes zeal­ous about salva‐tion and pleas­ing God. When one makes this res­o­lu­tion, then all is re‐built afresh both inter­nal­ly and ex‐ternally, upon new begin­nings —the old pass­es away and all is new. If you have this, renew it; if not, ac‐quire it — and for you this will be New Year’s Day. A wor­thy celebrati‐on of the feast of the Cir­cum­ci­sion of the Lord and of the commemora‐tion of Saint Basil the Great are also tied with this. The essence of this change we have men­tioned is that a per­son begins from this moment on to live sole­ly for God, for his salva‐tion; where­as pre­vi­ous­ly he lived exclu­sive­ly for him­self, prepar­ing destruc­tion for him­self. Now he aban­dons for­mer habits, all com‐forts and all in which he found plea‐sure; he cuts off pas­sions and lust­ful dis­po­si­tions and takes on works of strict self-denial. Such a change pre‐cisely rep­re­sents what, accord­ing to the Apos­tle, the cir­cum­ci­sion of the heart should be. The cel­e­bra­tion of the cir­cum­ci­sion of the Lord re‐minds us of this and oblig­ates us to do it, while St. Basil the Great pro‐vides us with an exam­ple to fol­low. So all the themes which crowd our con­scious­ness on New Year’s Day come togeth­er into one — our inner renew­al through the cir­cum­ci­sion of the heart. If it pleas­es the Lord to give some­one this mind­set on New Year’s Day — that is, not only to think in such a way, but also to bring all of this into his life — he will cel­e­brate New Year’s Day in a most per­fect Chris­t­ian man­ner, and will pre­pare for a Chris­t­ian pass­ing of the whole year. On the fol­low­ing New Year’s Day he will only have to renew and enliv­en what he has now tak­en on.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse