A New Year has begun! So many plans for self-improvement! But what could use attention in our spiritual lives? For my part, I’d like to learn more from the lives of the saints. Their inspiring human stories remind me that the road we walk as Christians is a well-traveled one.

And I’m in luck: 2,000 years of Church history yields daily examples to nourish the soul. Of the two saints we honor today, I knew that Gregory of Nazianzen presided over the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 AD, which completed the Nicene Creed we recite at mass each Sunday. St. Basil was a hermit called upon to be a bishop and help the Church through difficult times. Here’s something I didn’t know: the two men were best friends. How wonderful to recall that even the saints had friendships to support their faith journeys!

We have a duty as Christians to help and serve the poor. But some days, the place our attention is needed most is with a friend. Is there a friend who could use a New Year’s check-in today?

 —Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a scholastic of the West Province currently in Regency in the Advancement Office at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California.


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