Hitting the 'Jesus' year!

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday...rather sheepishly I have to admit as I was conscious that I was hitting a kind of milestone! Thank God for 33 years of adventure…more to come I pray. However, my friends and companions here at Deschatelets ensured that it was a really special day, beginning right from the vigil, as did many people from all over the world who took time out to call (and sing!), skype, text, facebook, email, write cards, find gifts, bake Nutella cookies, get cupcakes and a beautiful plant, organise a party...the list goes on! For this, I am so grateful and overwhelmed and in humble thanksgiving, I offer my prayer.
Despite my initial reluctance, I caved and began to think of it in another way. Having had attended a pro-life talk by Stephanie Gray on abortion and gendercide earlier yesterday evening, I was just grateful to be alive. My parents choose to give me the gift of life and this is worthy of celebration and to come together to strengthen the bonds of communion as a community. So a birthday is a momentous occasion, to be commemorated just as a nation commemorates its birth or as an organization celebrates its founding. It is a chance to remember the day that a major event occurred, to celebrate and give thanks and to reflect upon how well we are fulfilling our calling, the gift which the Lord has given us. It is also a time to do a reality check on life...yep, hitting 33 was an adapt time to do that and was somewhat facilitated by the thoughts below.

Psychologist Donna Dawson, says:
“The age of thirty-three is enough time to have shaken off childhood naivety and the wild scheming of teen-aged years without losing the energy and enthusiasm of youth. By this age innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a “can do” spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities. We have yet to develop the cynicism and world-weariness that comes with later years.” 
Hmmm!  Not quite sure what to make with all that! Maybe I can journal on it later! One thing though, I feel that this interpretation doesn't  take into account the frustrations faced by today's thirtysomethings.  Often the basic milestones that young people of previous generations could expect to complete by the age of 30 – graduating school, leaving home, becoming financial independent and forming their own families – aren't necessarily occurring in that standard fashion. So, the Jesus Year has become a meme for dealing with, not amid-life crisis but rather a stalled-life crisis.

Lately in pop culture world, people have been calling someone’s 33rd year their "Jesus Year" because it was in Jesus’ 33rd year that He accomplished the most. It was a pretty busy year for the Saviour actually... including saving mankind from eternal damnation. Pretty productive really. Reflecting on his life though, we can see that by 33, Jesus knew what His purpose was. He knew what was coming and told people about it. He had full knowledge of His purpose and made sure His disciples were ready and in place to carry out theirs once He had gone because that was part of His purpose. It was brilliant. Jesus knew where, when, and why He was supposed to walk where He did. His steps were truly ordered of God and He got to Jerusalem at just the right time. The "by faith" part that we often interpret as "walking blindly" was actually, proceeding boldly on His mission having faith that His Father would do His part. Jesus repeatedly showed restraint (control over His emotions and words) so that they didn't distract Him or rob Him (or others) of His purpose and goal. Lastly, He fulfilled His purpose exactly as God had planned... and how He Himself had spoken of.

Some interesting ‘33’ facts:
If you take the numeric value of the word "Amen" in Hebrew, it adds up to 33 (AMEN: 1+13+5+14=33).
The Basilica of saint Peter in Rome counts 33 chapels: 29 in the Basilica itself and 4 of more in the crypt.
His Holiness John Paul I reigned as Pope for 33 days.
Each of the three sections of Dante Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso) consist of 33 cantos.
Humans are born with 33 vertebrae!

Birthday celebration:
Me with my Aussie hat (courtesy of Fr. Matt).
P. S It's apple juice!
So the day after my 33rd birthday, where do I go from here?  I continue to have my struggles, my good days and my bad days. Having the opportunity to further understand oneself is always a blessing, even at times it is painful. We understand ourselves more so as to be able to give ourselves more and more to the service of the Lord, to love and to be loved, to be a silent instrument of change for the better in a world which needs reminders of hope and love. Were there no struggles there would be no victory over sin. My struggles are known to my confessor, but your prayers are known to God – and for them I am grateful. I assure you all of mine. It is recognition that we cannot make this journey alone. I have days when I think I’m doing ok, and then there are much longer periods when I realize that only by the prayers of others and the mercies of God will I make this journey in any shape or form. Then I am reminded that even ‘before I was formed in the womb’ the Lord knew me and loved me for who I am. He walks with me and continues to put wonderful people upon the journey who also remind me that each one of us is worth celebrating, even when it is not our birthday! Viva la vita!