January 1st, 2012: The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and World Day of Peace
I’ve been reflecting on Mary as a model for the New Year and a model for peace. Mary is the Mother of God, the mother of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace who came among us to establish the Kingdom of Peace where persons, nations, and all creation are to live in accord. Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Peace also connotes the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, justice, equality, adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, unity, serenity, and an order that serves the true good of all.
In his message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI said that peace is not merely a gift to be received; it is also a task to be undertaken. He quotes Jesus who says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”Without grace we cannot be peacemakers. Mary was able to say “yes” to God throughout her life through her cooperation with grace. In the Gospel for January 1st we hear that “Mary pondered all things in her heart.” In other words, she brought all things to God in prayer – the joys and the sorrows. Her life was not easy. Yet by grace and by being open to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit she acted on behalf of others. She was a bearer of joy and peace when she visited her elderly, pregnant cousin Elizabeth. She told Jesus the plight of the anxious wedding party at Cana: “They have no wine.” She remained at the foot of the cross bringing peace and solace to her Son and did not retaliate against her Son’s persecutors. She encouraged the disciples in the upper room who were fearful and lacking in peace. She rejoiced at her Son’s resurrection and his farewell gift to us is peace.
As we begin this New Year, may Mary’s example and intercessionand God’s grace make us instruments of peace.
Sister Jeanne Ann Weber
Sister Jeanne Ann Weber is Director of Liturgy. She has experience as a teacher, advocate for women and children, giving retreats and spiritual direction. She is a member of the Shalom Spiritual Direction Training Program at the Monastery.See all of Sister Jeanne Ann’s posts.