Leaning in and Letting Go - Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 8th January 2018

This morning our Pastoral Co-Ordinator, Ms Anne Marie Dolan led the first Morning Prayer of 2018…

‘For many of us a new year is an invitation to say good bye to what has been and look forward to what will be. It is also a chance to make those “new year resolutions”. From a spiritual perspective a new year can be looked at as leaning into a new season of life and may be viewed as going through a season of change like a trapeze artist. In other words, as we make changes and go through Transitions, it’s like a trapeze artist swinging from bar to bar.

Sometimes, we can easily make the transition from one bar to the other, while at other times, we cling to the old bar with an arm outstretched for the new bar because we are not quite ready to grasp the new bar of our lives. Prayer can offer us that space and support as we let go of the old bars of life and lean into the new bars.

Prayer methods such as the Examen or Spiritual Journaling can offer us space to name what the old bars were. We can reflect on what we are being invited to let go of – things like:

  • An old set of beliefs
  • A change in relationship status
  • A job
  • A city.

As we name what we are being asked to release, we can invite God into our grief, our joy, and our other emotions stirred from letting go of the old bar.

Prayer also supports us in reaching out and holding onto the new bar. If it’s a new beginning that we discerned was right for us, we can check the fruits of our discernment in prayer by noticing if we feel an increase of faith, of hope, and of love as we let go of the old bar and lean into the new bar.

As you try to do this, you may notice that the new bars that appear suddenly out of nowhere are the ones that are hardest to grab onto. It is then that an opportunity of prayer acts like the safety net of a trapeze artist, providing us with a safe space to talk freely and honestly to God and to voice our frustrations, our sadness, or our grief.

It is important to keep in mind that a new beginning will eventually become more familiar to us. And we may find ourselves moving more freely through the new season like a trapeze artist swinging gracefully through the air.

So, this morning as you are provided with this opportunity for prayer and a space to stop and think about a brand new year, what are your hopes and aspirations? What changes do you want to make and what bars do you need to let go of in helping you to embrace the new ones?

Finally a thought as we leave Christmas behind…

When the carols have been stilled

When the star topped tree is taken down

When family and friends are gone home

When we are back to our schedules


To welcome the refugee

To heal a broken planet

To feed the hungry

To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear

To share our gifts, To seek justuce and peace

For all people, to bring Christs light into our world.

Ms Anne Marie Dolan, Pastoral Co-Ordinator

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