January 1 is the feast of Mary, Mother of God. This is the most sublime title we can give to this lovely creature who is the finest example of what the human race was meant to be. Because she was chosen to give birth to God come in the flesh, she was preserved from all stain of sin from the first moment of her conception in the womb of St. Anne. This meant that she was free to put all her energy into cooperating with God and thus acquiring more and more grace and virtue.
Mary was the Mother of the human Christ, but because He was eternally united with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, she is also the Mother of God. However it is a bit breathtaking to read in Scripture that “anyone who does the will of my Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt 12:50). We can bring Christ to birth in our souls. But this is not easy. Mary suffered much in carrying to term her baby Jesus. She endured the sarcastic remarks of her villagers who whispered about this child conceived out of wedlock. Even Joseph at first did not understand. She had to leave the preparations made in her home to travel to Bethlehem at the demand of the government. And this when she was almost nine months pregnant. To ride on a donkey for a week of travel would not be easy even for a woman in tip top physical shape, but for one ready to give birth it must have been incredibly difficult and painful. And it was in the dead of winter. It was cold, rainy, muddy, not much to eat, no comfortable bed to rest in at night. And when they arrived they were refused shelter in the local inn. Her Baby was brought forth in a stable amid the animals. No, it was not easy to be the Mother of Jesus. And it will not be easy for us to bring forth Christ in our lives. But it is worth every minute of discomfort, pain, rejection by those who don’t believe. The joy of knowing the Christ within will wipe away every memory of pain.
January 1 is also World Day of Peace. Peace in this sad world is something that all of us long for and hope for and pray for. It is a big prayer for a big intention. None of us is able alone to bring about peace on a worldwide scale. But we can each create a little puddle of peace around us. Let us start with those at home - spouse, children, parents, extended family. Then spread to the workplace - coworkers, managers, directors, supervisors. Because we are all human and belong to a fallen race, there are so many opportunities to create a tiny bit of peace. Without becoming door mats, we can overlook little digs, restrain an angry reproof, respond instead of react, let the little things pass and save the ones that must be dealt with for a time when we can speak calmly and respectfully. These little puddles of peace will multiply and spread. Soon there will be real ponds of peace, and hopefully as these ponds grow, there will be lakes and eventually oceans of peace.
May peace be with you and around you in the New Year of 2013.