The National Catholic Review
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (B), Jan. 1, 2003
Mary kept all these things...in her heart (Lk 2:19)

Is it over yet? Are the carols gone from the air waves? Have the stores dismantled their decorations? Has Christmas been put away to make room for Valentine’s Day? It always happens so fast. We waited and waited for Christmas, and then it came and went in a flash. But it did not happen like that for Mary; and we cannot afford to let it happen like that for us. She kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart—and so must we.

All who heard the shepherds were amazed at the story they had to tell. It was Mary who kept turning the events over and over in her mind, trying to plumb the depths of their meaning. From the moment of the angel’s unbelievable declaration, she realized that for the rest of her days she would be living with mystery. And so she kept all these things in her heart.

Paul reminds us that because Jesus was born of a woman, we are made children of God. The Spirit of Jesus is given to us so that we can call God by the intimate term “Abba.” Is this any less amazing than the report of the shepherds? Yet, when was the last time any one of us went in haste to announce this marvel?

The first day of the New Year is traditionally a day to pray for peace. This year, peace is much more than a seasonal theme. It might conjure up the faces of frightened children dressed in foreign garb, or that of a daughter or son in uniform. Making the prayer of Aaron our own, we beg God to look upon us kindly and give us peace. Here again, Mary may well serve as our model. She considered deeply the events of her life. So must we, if peace is to take root in our day and take flesh in our lives.

Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., is professor of biblical studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Readings: 
Readings: Nm 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
Prayer: 

• Reflect on how you might recommit yourself to your own family, to the family of the church, to the family of all humankind.

• Think about ways that Mary can indeed be a model for contemporary people.

• Pray for openness to God’s light and for the courage to follow wherever it leads you.