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NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2012
It is with great gratitude to “the Creator and Lord of the Ages” that we welcome today the New Year 2012. Each and every New Year granted to us by the infinite love and ineffable charity of God is indeed a golden opportunity to move forward spiritually. Now, at the beginning of the New Year, we may resolve to make an excellent start. And there is no better start and a stronger foundation to this new beginning than humility.
We have already celebrated the great Feast of Christmas. The pre-eternal God, out of extreme humility, “bowed the heavens, and came down” (Ps. 18:9) “for us men and for our salvation” (the Creed). Since man has lost Paradise because of his pride, now God humbles Himself and comes down to earth as a weak infant so that man may regain Paradise. Just as selfishness threw the first human beings out of Paradise, so can humility put all descendants of Adam and Eve back in Paradise.
After the incarnation of God, man has the potential, by imitating God and through humility, to advance spiritually to his pre-fall state. Armed with humility, he can defeat the devil, his sinful passions and worldly desires. In this way, we may lead “sober, upright, and godly lives, in this world” (Tit. 2:12).
Humility is what every devoted person needs in order to obey the Will of God, as this is expressed in the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church.
Humility is what couples need so that peace and love may prevail between them; so that they may say “forgive me” to one another when serious—or even trivial—issues arise, and not to disband their family because of them.
Humility is what children and young people need in order to obey and respect their parents and their elders, in order to learn from their parents and teachers and not to pretend they know everything.
Humility is necessary for someone to work in harmony with his colleagues, to recognize the qualifications of his subordinates, and not to look down on anyone.
Humility is what politicians and religious leaders need to always remember that that their task is to serve the people and not to be served by the people.
Humility is what the powerful of this earth need mostly in order to manage the riches and goods of the earth in a democratic manner and not according to their personal or even national interests at the expense of poor and weak countries.
My sisters and brothers, the Holy Fathers of the Church use the term “elevating” for humility. Because humility truly lifts us up to Heaven. It helps us have a taste of Heaven from this earthly life. Humility transforms us into brothers and sisters, without any ego, hatred, wars, fights, divorces, courts, poverty and all that selfishness begets and enables to make our lives hell. With humility not only can we enjoy eternally the lost Paradise, but we can also make our life on earth a paradise.
Let us all decide to make humility our objective for the year 2012. Firstly, let us pray to the Lord to grant us a humble spirit. And secondly, let us all struggle to cultivate humility during the New Year. Only in this way shall we manage to advance spiritually; and by following the way of humility we can be certain that we shall have a better relationship with our family and with our wider social environment. By doing so, we shall contribute, as much as we can, to overcoming the crisis that is plaguing our modern world.
On behalf of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Eminence Sotirios Metropolitan of Pisidia, our Clergy, the Deacons, monks and nuns and all our collaborators in the Lord, we pray that the year 2012 is filled with the grace of God, which is drawn by blessed humility, because, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Amen.
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea