Several days ago the Plain Dealer ran a front-page story entitled, “Does anybody really know what time it is?” It discussed the trivialities of how to decide when a decade begins and ends: if you want to be chronologically correct, then it ends with the year that is divisible by ten; but if you want to be culturally correct, then it includes only those years with the same tens-place number. So, the chronological decade that is ending this week went from 2011-2020, but what might be called the 2010s ended this time last year (2010-2019). Like I said, trivial, but still what we used to call “fun facts.”
The story then went on to speak of a man known as St. Dionysius Exiguus, or Dionysius the Humble. He was the person who gave us both the approximate date for the birth of Jesus – noting that event as happening in Year 1 – and also the designation AD or Anno Domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord.” In one sense we could call the work of St. Dionysius “the great reset.” To do so might be seen as clever, but it would miss out on the bigger picture, and that bigger picture is the event that caused him to want to revise the calendar.
The phrase “the great reset” is one that most people had never heard prior to 2020, and, to be honest, I am one of those people. I also had never heard of the World Economic Forum or of their director Klaus Schwab. As a person who gets nervous passing the “For the Betterment of All” sign in front of the NASA Glenn Research Center, I get a creepy dystopian Brave New World-1984 vibe when I hear about such initiatives.
What always takes that feeling away is the realization that no human – not Klaus Schwab or his friend Prince Charles, nor any of the other rich and powerful, known and unknown – is really in charge. And in the context of whatever plan the oligarchs intend on hatching, the real Great Reset has already happened, and it did so in what would have, at the time, been designated as 754 AUC (Ad Urbe Condita or “from the founding of the City” meaning Rome).
When a young virgin named Mary, descendant of King David, said “yes” to the invitation from God, through Gabriel, to be the mother of the Logos, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Messiah or Christ, she initiated the one and only Great Reset worthy of the name.
The people of that time period, and certainly in prior ages, were infected with a great disease. One could literally call it a pandemic. Like the present situation, many who were infected were, to their own experience, asymptomatic. Yet, unlike the world of 2020, no one was spared – except that young virgin named Mary and her Son Jesus.
The great disease was sin, and it had been transmitted from generation to generation from the time of our first parents. Of all the viruses known to humankind this was, and still is, the most deadly. It is the only thing that can, as the great Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper points out in The Christian Idea of Man, his brief work on virtue ethics, separate us “from the ultimate ground of being,” from God.
The Incarnation, the result of Mary’s “yes” to God, was the cure of this great disease and it has proven to literally have miraculous results. It was the Great Reset offered on behalf of the entire human race and it has enabled young and old, rich and poor, influential and obscure alike to be inoculated against the ravages of the only disease that is ultimately terrible and deadly.
So as we look back on a most difficult year and look ahead to what we hope is a better one, it is indeed worth asking again: Does anybody really know what time it is? As Christians we know exactly what time it is. It is time to recognize the importance of the Great Reset of the Incarnation for the salvation of the world and to see our own attempts at a reset – usually called New Year’s resolutions – as our personal “yes” to God’s call.
May you and all those you love have a blessed, safe, and happy New Year.