All things new

Working at Bishop Stang High School, and I’m sure most schools, you quickly learn that there is very little down time. There is always something going on. During the summer, Stang offers several athletic, academic, and arts summer camps. This summer however, we have some more excitement going on in  our building. Since the end of the 2016-2017 school year, we have started updating our chemistry and biology labs. In June they did the demolition and then started with the reconstruction of the labs. It has been such a great process to watch how something old can be made new.

This whole “deconstruction and reconstruction” of our labs began to get me thinking about what in my own life and in the world could use some deconstruction and reconstruction. We read so many times in Scripture that God can make all things new. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read, “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the Spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 4: 20-24). 

I love the image of a “new self.” As someone who is perpetually on a diet, the idea of a “new self” is one I search for with each new passing fad. Beyond our physical search for a “new self” however, is this need to be constantly seeking to make our inner self better. It is not that we are constantly in a state “corrupted in the accordance with lusts of deceit,” but it is a wonderful reminder that when we find ourselves outside of a state of grace, that we are given an opportunity to make ourselves new. 

One of the ways that God makes all things new is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We go into the Sacrament weighed down with the burden of sin and come out of the Sacrament a new person, freed from the prison of iniquity. God makes us a new creation in His forgiveness. We are given a new heart in a way, a heart that is light and free, and in this new creation we can love more perfectly. 

Later in the Book of Revelations we read, “Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth; for the first Heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the Tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Rev 21:1-5). In this passage we read about a whole new earth and a whole new Heaven. In this new earth, God will dwell among His people forever. He speaks of this new Earth being a place where there will be no more death, or illness or sadness. 

God makes all things new through resurrection. We get a chance to live a new life in Heaven to live with Him forever. We will live with Him in a way that will only bring us joy, peace and the purest form of love. While we wait for this resurrection and this new earth however, we are called to continuously find the time and the ways to make our hearts new. 

For many of us there are two new years; the one we all celebrate on January 1 and the one we begin with in September when a new school year starts. These milestones can help us to remember that we need to be made new but it does not just have to be in the big moments. If we can look at all the construction around us (and Lord knows there is plenty on the roads) we can remind ourselves that there are things in our lives that we need to deconstruct and reconstruct to make ourselves better Christians. Maybe it is a habit, a relationship, an addiction or any other way that keeps us from completely giving our lives to God, we need to find a way to deconstruct that mess from our hearts and our lives and reconstruct ourselves to be made new. As we finish up our summer, I pray that we do not get stuck in the traffic of construction, but rather we find that deconstruction of our journey as a stepping stone to the reconstruction of being made new!

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.


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