The National Catholic Review
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (C), Jan. 1, 2004
Reflecting on them in her heart (Lk 2:19)

Did Mary understand how amazing her child was? Does any mother? We love our children and celebrate every little thing about them, but no one really knows the potential hidden deep within that squirming bundle of humanity. True, whenever a child is born, there are always those who gather around and marvel at how perfectly every finger has been formed, and even how healthy the lungs sound. But the amazement that surrounded this child was significantly different from what normally occurs. Strangers came to marvel at him, and it was more than a phone call that announced his birth.

 

Mary had much to ponder, and ponder she did. In this she is a model for all of us. She inspires us to consider deeply the significance of the events of which we are a part. For example: as we move through this Christmas season of joy, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the reality of the world within which we find ourselves—a world of terror, fear and war.

The first day of the New Year is traditionally a day to pray for peace. Following Mary’s example, we must ponder deeply the events in our world, in our country, in our church and in our families that cry out for genuine and lasting peace. The prayer of Aaron given to the Israelites is given to us today: “The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.” Could there be a better New Year greeting for this year?

As Mary pondered, she sought God’s will for herself and her child. Following her example, we too must seek God’s will for us in this world of vengeance and war, God’s will for us and for our children. As adopted children of God, we have been given the grace to live in a godly manner, calling God our Abba. If we are resolved to live this new identity, we will be granted the courage of heart that shows itself in works of peace and justice. Following upon such a commitment, we will discover that this child himself is “our peace.”

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: 

• Do a kind deed for an elderly person, and one for a child.

• What can you do to foster peace in the world, in the church or in your family?

• Be enlightened again by rereading the Gospel for the Epiphany.