By Cardinal Nichols
Books will be written chronicling the events of 2022. These simple reflections do not attempt to do that.
Rather, in the context of such a difficult year, marked by the death of our beloved Queen, the terrible conflict in the Ukraine, the soaring cost of living and its painful consequences, there is just one focus that I wish to highlight.
It is, unsurprisingly, the burden of suffering and loneliness carried by many, those who are unable to meet the expectations of previous years of plenty and struggling to find new balances between harsh reality and usual comforts.
Into this picture comes my experience of visiting Palestine in late November and being with the people in the West Bank, principally the Christian communities there.
I came away with a fresh understanding of the limitations with which they live, the great difficulties of holding together their residing love for their homeland and pursuing the futures they wish, especially for their children. I saw the practical poverties which they have to bear, especially with regard to water supplies and power. Yet, I came away full of admiration for their tenacity, for their perseverance in daily efforts of kindness and solidarity and, above all, for their joyful and vibrant faith as a community.
In this they give us an example to be followed, as well as a charitable cause to be supported. They show us how faith in our Blessed Lord is transforming, for, as St John tells us, ‘grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ'(John1.17).
In 2023 may we too deepen our faith and love for our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. Only then will we have the resources to support all who are in need through the difficult times ahead, not begrudgingly, nor with political ideologies urging us on, but simply out of love for Him who never leaves us, never fails us, but is always ‘Emmanuel’, God with us.
A happy new year to you all.
Image: Cardinal Vincent Nichols at Manger Square Hotel, Bethlehem, meeting Friends of the Holy Land grant recipients