Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (January 3, 2008)

By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY, Archbishop of Atlanta | Published January 3, 2008  | En Español

Atlanta is a key transportation hub for the nation and increasingly for the entire world. Our airport is one of the busiest places that I know. Last Friday, as I was trying to return home after visiting my parents in Chicago, I spent six hours waiting at O’Hare Airport hoping and praying that the scheduled plane that would arrive from Atlanta would be able to get to Chicago and then back again to Atlanta—with me on board! There were rainstorms here in Atlanta (which we desperately needed and were an answer to our prayers) and a snowstorm in Chicago (which was only par for the course).

Those of us who travel regularly gamble that the elements will cooperate and the mechanical maintenance personnel and the flight staffs will be able to keep things on schedule so that our comings and goings will run smoothly. We gamble that events and details that are generally out of our control will proceed with ease so that our lives will not be unduly interrupted or inconvenienced.

As we begin a new year, we rely on God’s grace that the events that will unfold will bring us happiness and success and good fortune. But we also must humbly acknowledge that we rely on God’s Providence in this regard even more so than we do at airports or in other circumstances.

After having my first flight canceled and the second one delayed several times, I resolved that there was little that I could do to change the course of events and that the best line of attack would be just to relax and to accept what might occur next. So I did, more or less. I trusted that the airlines would use their best wisdom to make the decisions that would get travelers to their destinations safely. All of my fretting and anxious pacing back and forth to the boarding podium would not accomplish very much—except the potential annoyance of the service personnel (not a very desired outcome).

So I quietly sat in my chair and let things happen as God would have them. That’s not bad advice for those of us entering this New Year of 2008.

Let God’s Providence guide and direct us where He might want us to be. After all, He has far more control over things than even the mighty airline industry—and He loves us far more than they ever could.

No doubt during the closing days of the old year and the opening days of 2008, the media will be filled with suggestions about life changing behavior—diets, resolutions and new attitudes. Some sources may even suggest that they can forecast what might occur in 2008!

These may all be good things in themselves, but far more important for those of us who are people of faith is the realization that God’s Providence in 2008 is a more important reality than any of our own individual plans or projections—as noble and as good as they may be.

Let us begin this New Year of 2008 with a renewed willingness to trust in God’s grace and design for each of us. He knows us and loves us and invites us to trust Him and to love Him and one another more. May we find in this new year greater opportunities to do just that!