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Are you ready to kiss a politically bitter, and at times explosive, 2021 goodbye and lay out a welcome mat for 2022? With hopes of reconciliation and peace-making among our fractured social groupings?

If so, would you be inclined to stake out some personal resolutions for the New Year to help our nation heal?

Aphorisms, scriptures, lyrics and snippets below may spark ideas or phrasings.

Let us, in the spirit of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, turn the page into 2022 “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” (Second Inaugural).

In that same spirit:

“Do as much good as you can, for as many people as you can, for however long as you can.” — John Wesley

“You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you. You will know when it is right.” — Dorothy Day

“The heart that is generous and kind most resembles God.” — Robert Burns

“In all your human interactions lean toward charity.” — from a spiritual mentor of mine.

From Dante’s Divine Comedy: “... understand that love alone is the true seed of every merit in you and of all acts for which you must atone.” Purgatorio XVII, verses 103-105.

And just what, exactly, is love? And how does it operate?

I Corinthians 13, often used at weddings, gives a definitive answer: “Love is patient, love is kind, not self-seeking, not rude … Love endures forever.”

Much of our current trouble in America stems from the capital vice of greed. In this regard we would do well to invoke the Bard: “Nought’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content. It is safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” Macbeth, Act III, Scene ii.

And of course recall St. Paul’s advice to Timothy: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” I Timothy 6:10.

Avaricious behavior is often linked to a quest for power and influence. Here the Sufis, Islamic mystics, have memorable advice: “Yesterday I was clever and so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise and so I am changing myself.”

Most of us, I suspect, do not apologize enough for ways in which we may have harmed others, especially in belittling them or making them feel unworthy. We thus need the reminder made explicit in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12.

We ourselves often are hurting. And we reopen our wounds by mulling over suffering caused by family members, coworkers or bosses. Here is a powerful antidote to those toxins:

“We do not heal the past by dwelling there. We heal the past by dwelling in the present.” — Marianne Williamson.

Finally, we must above all turn first to God for the graces we need to put past offenses behind us, live in the moment and shape our souls for a return to the One who gave us life. And so with Rudyard Kipling, we might pray: “Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget.”

John Patrick Grace wishes all Herald-Dispatch readers a blessed, healthy and prosperous New Year. He writes a weekly column for this page.

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