And good riddance.
What a year.
I won’t list all the awful things this year has brought to the wider world, nor even to this nation. You are familiar with the litany. That the final days of the year were overshadowed by the horror of the Newtown atrocity only seems fitting: a dreadful end to a dreadful year.
And it was a rough year personally, not least because my bride’s mother died unexpectedly a few days before my mother finally, after a long drawn-out ordeal, surrendered to death.
We are still reeling from that one.
I thought as I prepared my year-end post that I would go back to last year’s final post. To my surprise I was rather optimistic. That is because at the time- does it seem possible?- the Occupy movement was in the ascendency and it looked like Americans were waking up to the reality of economic disparity, a reality 30 years in the making.
That movement, of course, has fizzled, though it did have some impact; Obama’s moderate populist message during his reelection campaign was no doubt influenced by it.
I also saw that the Labor movement was revived, newly empowered by the defeat of Ohio’s attempt to erode collective bargaining. Since then, of course, Labor has had some setbacks: the defeat of the Wisconsin recall effort and (especially) the hijacking of Michigan by a gerrymandered state legislature, making the most Union of the states into a “right to work” state. (“Right to work” really means “right to work for union wages without contributing to the union”.)
But I look in vain for much good in the past year. I guess we can be thankful that we are not hearing the words “President-Elect Romney”, though hearing the words “President Obama” is only a very relative good (and many would disagree even with this.)
And hey, the wonderful film Beasts of the Southern Wild was realeased. And our baby is now two, which means he is talking, which is always a delight. Nothing like a talking baby.
And I am ever hopeful; perhaps the new year will bring blessings. I certainly pray it does, to the whole world, the entire nation, and to you and yours.
As I did last year, let me begin by offering my favorite prayer, the Litany of Peace, from the Divine Liturgy:
–In peace let us pray to the Lord.
-For peace from on high and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
-For peace in the whole world, the well-being of the holy churches of God, and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.
-For this house and for those who enter it with faith, reverence, and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.
-For all the bishops, priests, deacons, clergy, and people, let us pray to the Lord.
-For our public servants, for the government and all who protect us, that they may be upheld and strengthened in every good deed, let us pray to the Lord.
-For our city and every city and country and the faithful living in them, let us pray to the Lord.
-For favorable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.
-For the travelers by sea, air, and land, for the sick, the suffering, for the captives, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
-For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and need, let us pray to the Lord.
-Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by your grace.
-Remembering our all-holy, spotless, most highly blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God. Amen.