Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Mother's Love: A Reflection for New Year's Day

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

—Luke 2:16-19

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
Mindful that Mary treasured all the “Christmas” mysteries in her heart, we honor the Mother of God, “through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life. It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, listening again to the tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace” (Pope Paul VI, Marialiscultus, 5).

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Happy New Year.

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