AS the new year begins, I am filled with hope—-hope for better things to come.

That our country might be rid of crime and corruption. That our leaders might begin serving with a conscience. That our electorate might vote with courage and wisdom.

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That poverty in our country might be alleviated. That calamities might visit us less often. That service not politics might reign in government.

That there might be less in the world of abused children and battered women. That the world might be rid of war, disease and famine. That the world might be safer for everyone.

That wars might end. That peace can reign. That people from all countries and cultures might understand each other better by becoming more tolerant of each other’s differences.

That humility might overcome us in times of triumph. That magnanimity might envelope us in times of victory. That generosity might fill us in times of bounty.

That we may earn more, spend less. Give more, take less. Pay our debts before we splurge and celebrate. That we may remember those we have wronged, those we have hurt, those we have borrowed money from. That we may endeavor to pay what we have owed, do what we have promised to do, give back to those who have helped us become who we are today.

That we might not be afflicted with amnesia when it comes to debt and duty. That we might not be intoxicated with arrogance when it comes to giving credit to those who have stood behind us every step of the way. That we might not be forgetful of those who serve us everyday so that we might go about our lives the way we do.

That priests might be more enlightened. That the church might be more relevant. That the pious might be less self-righteous.

That teachers might be more inspiring. That students might be more dedicated. That parents might be more nurturing.

That I might be more patient with the unproductive and inefficient. That I might be more tolerant with the lazy and underachieving. That I might be more understanding with the slow and unable to comprehend.

That I might try harder to be kinder. That I might try to be more thoughtful of others. That I might try to be compassionate to those who cannot live up to my expectations.

That I might become braver in the face of crisis. That I might become stronger in the face of heartbreak. That I might become wiser in the face of failure.

As the new year begins, I think of all the remarkable places I will visit, all the extraordinary people I will meet and all the unforgettable memories I will make. It will be a fabulous year, no doubt. And I thank God for always filling me with hope for better things to come. Here’s to 2010.