A Reflection by Fr. Paul Mark Schwan on the time of year:

January is upon us.  I have always experienced the month as the in-between month of the year.  The Christmas season is over, the new year has arrived and been celebrated, and what used to be labelled the January white sales that had a certain hype, certainly not like black Friday or cyber Tuesday but still generating some distracting excitement for the housewives of a bygone generation, have come and gone.

January is the month we wait for winter to be over while we anxiously wait the arrival of spring.  January, characterized by dark, frigid nights and foggy, gray days, (at least here in sunny California), the forlorn deciduous trees barren of leaf and fruit, their empty skeletal branches rattling in the cold wind, sometimes seems to be a month to endure, to wait for better days, better weather, better times. 

But it is because of these very things that describe and define January, that I find it to be a month of great grace, of expectation, of waiting, of slowing down, of learning to see and appreciate the little things of life that are too often ignored and go unnoticed simply because there is no time in other seasons to do this very thing.

In these wintry, January days of “down time” allow yourself quiet moments of stillness to hear God’s whispers of love for you expressed in the countless little signs of God’s loving presence that surround you and are to be found even in the barren dark of a lonesome January night.

God bless you on your journey,

Your brothers of New Clairvaux