To honor Mary as the Theotokos, the Mother of God, is to celebrate the unique role that she has played (and continues to play) in God’s plan of salvation. Today, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and the Octave Day of Christmas, we also recall the circumcision and naming of Jesus on the eighth day after his birth (cf. Luke 2:21). In a special way, on New Year’s Day, the Church invites us to pray for peace: “It is Our desire that, every year, this commemoration [of “The Day of Peace”] be repeated as a hope and as a promise… that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come” (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Message for World Day of Peace I, 1968).
The iconic image of Mary, holding her infant Son, embodies the mystery of the Lord’s birth as it brings together the human and divine elements of the Incarnation. And yet, in honoring Mary as the Mother of God, we are also invited to consider another image: the Mother cradling the body of her murdered Son. The same arms which held the Prince of Peace in Bethlehem received the crucified Savior of the world on Mount Golgotha. The Son of this Mother is the true source of peace among nations, within families and communities, and in the deepest recesses of our hearts.
|Pieta by William-Adolphe Bouguereau|
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Happy New Year.