HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CANADA!

The older we get, the faster that birthdays breeze by. When we were young, they proceeded at a stately pace. Now they’re just a blur.

Canada is 152 years old this year. Only a heartbeat ago, we were celebrating our sesquicentennial. Within my lifetime, I recall the celebrations of our centennial year, 1967, with all the awakening that represented for what was still a very new country.

The history of Canada includes the history of the Church, and more germane to us here, the history of Novalis. We are celebrating our 83rd birthday this year, a venerable age for a publishing house. So from one old-timer — Novalis — to another — Canada — we salute you on this day, July 1. And we pray for many more.

Histories are never static, neither are human lives. What a person says or does when they are 18 is usually not indicative of what they would do a half-century later. The same goes for countries and publishing houses.

One laudable aspect of the human condition is that we can learn from our experiences. Failures, in particular, teach us more powerfully than most other lessons how to change for the better. We are sums of all these experiences, failures and successes.

The Canadian myth has been shaped by many things. The salutary list is long: our involvement in two global wars and its accompanying loss of thousands of young soldiers; our creation of the world’s second largest country, one of peace and prosperity, due to farsightedness and astute diplomacy at the hands of our founding leaders; our development of national publicly funded health care and our social safety net, just to name a few of those epoch-shaping events.

The failure list is notable too: Leading the way is our deplorable relations with Canada’s indigenous peoples, a failure in compassion and generosity that continues to call for justice today. Our short-sighted dealings with our own natural environment has also contributed more than our share to the pollution of the earth. And our ongoing struggle to find ways to welcome the stranger in our midst, though reasonably enlightened compared to many other countries, continues to need strengthening. Nor is this a comprehensive list.

Anniversaries are days for celebrating the good things we have become and more thoughtful reflection on the ways we can become better. They are times to set aside the business of daily life and cast our thoughts to farther horizons — those where our own hopes and aspirations, our fears and weaknesses, find a warm embrace within the loving arms of our Creator.

Lake O’Hara, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Yes, Creator. It is above all, essential on this day that all our human endeavours are only truly blessed when we remind ourselves that we do not act alone.

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director

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