The traditional “promises of the turning point” and hope that cover human life
Every New Year ‘s Eve is the same in many ways. We always want to improve our lives in many ways, and we end up making the famous promises or promises of the beginning of the year.
The end of a cycle marked by the calendar or calendar year brings many people the hope of changes or improvements. Examples: stop smoking, lose weight, lose that tummy, go back to physical activities , change jobs, pay more attention to friends, be more affectionate with family , abandon that love that seems impossible, start investing in the career of dreams, start studying English for real … Anyway, an endless list that many of us know. There are plenty of reasons for the most diverse promises.
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These promises come from the same logic that encourages people to start a diet on Monday. For many, this turning point is the moment that they can organize themselves to establish change, renew their feelings, increase their willingness to meet established goals, resume purposes or create new ones, and even abandon what they think was not good in the year that ends. British psychologist Richard Wiseman conducted a survey in 2007 and showed that just over 10% of people keep their year-end promises .
Another phenomenon that emerges at this time, especially in the media, are the so-called “gurus” of the most varied denominations, backgrounds and integrations. People who make predictions, set goals and give simple and magical answers to understand everything and answer everything. Many exploit the despair of people who want quick, magical and certainly positive solutions. We only need to pay attention to the TVs, especially on December 31, to see the increase in queries to shells, letters, oracles, growth in sales of self-help books, etc. Not to mention the wishes made on those dates that, attached to the various sympathies , make hopes unfold, at least, in the first weeks of the year and, for many, wither soon after.
What drives many promises to failure? Promises in vain? We commit ourselves and we do not comply, because we are weak, without willpower, fragile beings at the mercy of stronger habits, victims of ourselves, of our person structure, of a past that condemns us? Should we, then, put aside our New Year’s plans and promises and continue to do the same, or remain in the passivity of those waiting for the train, standing with their suitcase at the station? Shouldn’t we do anything different and wait for things to change direction on their own?
The hope has its anthropological roots and is experienced as a basis of experience of human existence, personal, community and collective. Hope emerges, first of all, as the dynamism of life. The deep rooting of hope in the very unconscious or preconscious vital link gives the human being a very special strength and significance. It is lived before it is known. To nourish and reinforce hope is, first of all, to offer concrete bases and conditions for living.
In its very human fulfillment, hope meets the person who is a living bundle of desires and projects. Its very point of insertion is the human being, as a capacity for success and failure. The individual, the couple, the family, the society in all its forms, are governed by this absolute and immanent law. Everyone and everything aspire to success and are terrified of failure. This law extends, simultaneously and jointly, to the unconscious, preconscious and conscious plane.
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It is true that, on the horizon of hope, there are uncertainties and fears, but it is also true that, on the horizon of hope, there is daring, adventure. And also, as Emmanuel Mounier says: “A man without hope always reinvents any hope”. Gabriel Marcel emphasized that anyone who lives life as a routine is “a desperate person who doesn’t even know he is desperate”. Hope needs to be seen in the context of total human life. “Where there is life, there is hope”, says the popular adage! However, hope is, for many, the fundamental and primary force that stimulates and impels all human activity. Erich Fromm likens hope to the tiger’s leap toward its goal. Waiting, then, is a state of being, an innate capacity to dream and make the dream come true. The hope of being happy is the fundamental tendency of human action that makes you more,
With all this, we affirm that it is not a bad thing to make promises at the beginning of the year, to assume purposes, to set goals, to make projects. It is human nature to hope, to establish projects. The problem is in the use of the wrong, false, illusory and even superstition means as ways to know the future and create projects. Superstition, belief or practice, which is generally considered irrational or the result of ignorance and fear of the unknown, implies belief in the invisible forces on which it believes it is possible to influence.
Christian hope and a better future
“You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your understanding”. This commandment invites man to believe in God, to hope in Him and to love Him above all. Man has a duty to worship and worship God, both individually and in society, therefore, “superstition is a deviation from the worship that we yield to the true God, showing itself in idolatry, divination and magic” (CIC, nº 2138 ).
Christian hope is lived in prayer, in the virtue of patience and in the practice of charity. Christian action is all hope, for it seeks man’s ultimate end in God. Waiting, for the Christian, was never an accommodation. Christian hope has a character of trust in God that includes a desire and a tendency towards the future. Momentary experience cannot be the sole foundation of a Christian theology of hope.
All hope rests on the conviction that it is possible to achieve the expected object. In human hope, the foundation of this conviction is human strength and the belief in the fundamental goodness of beings. In the religious man, this becomes the belief in a Divine Providence, in a God who has revealed himself as a Father and wants the good of his children. The Christian does not seek answers or illuminations in objects, superstitions or false “gurus”, but it is in the Word of God that he finds light for the future and the strength to walk.
Illuminating hearts and minds with the Good News of Salvation is essential for everyone to understand that human hope – man’s deepest longings – is definitively realized in Christian hope. The Christian community can, at last, make sense of the crosses and sufferings of contemporary man, since he himself knows that his hope rests on the cross and resurrection of his Lord. Without great illusions, but also without exaggerated pessimism and despair, let us face each new year as one who believes in the good and one who is not afraid of the bad. May each new year find us as it has found other Christians since the first year of our era. Waiting for better days and making the days better!