The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and New Year’s Day 2017
We usually put the first day of the year as a day of making resolutions. Whether or not we fulfill them the coming weeks and months is a different story. Moreover, in the liturgical calendar of the Church, the first day of the year is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, as the Mother of peace. She generously accepted to be the Mother of all, as She is the Mother of Jesus, the firstborn of all creatures. She is the Mother of all Christians who seek peace, Jesus, the only source of real peace in the world. That is why we also celebrate this day as World Day of Prayer for Peace.
On Christmas day, God, through His angels, has already proclaimed His desire and promise of peace and life, in a sense, His vision and goal for all: His glory and peace to those on whom his favor rests (Lk 2:14).
The following can be our considerations for this new year with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
- Proclaim your goals to yourself, and if possible, to others, so they can support you. Pessimists are concerned with the penalties and sour effects of failure. Optimists are concerned with the rewards and good effects of success. Failure can mean a flop or a collapse of an endeavor, but it can also mean discouragement or disappointment. While success can mean accomplishment or victory, it can also mean growth in capacities or encouragement for others to be and to do better.
Start listening to the optimistic view of yourself and of others. Stop pessimism in your thoughts, words, actions and attitude. Mary listened to the voice within Her, and she proclaimed: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Lk 1:38). She would not only be the Mother of Jesus, but the Mother of all believers; and She would also be her disciple, leading all Her children in Jesus to be His disciples.
Many think that things can be just okay. That is mediocrity, and that is pessimistic. Nothing has to be JUST okay; no one can be just okay. They have to be good, life has to be good, for God is good, as when He created the world, He saw that it was good, very good. And to follow Him and obey His commands is the good that we can possess now till we come the second life. These should energize you and your relationship with others. Those that do not give you energy are the ways of the pessimistic you. Re-think and re-model your goals in life. You are a creation of the glory and favor of God.
So, if you fall, it’s not okay, but if you rise and learn not to trip in the same spot and situation, then that is good. If you break a plate, it’s not okay, but if you learn to be careful, then that is good. If you break your ankle, it’s not okay, but if you learn to be more careful, that’s good. If you trash your New Year’s resolutions because they are a bit difficult, it’s not okay, but if you review them every day and do one at a time, that is good. Then you grow. If you commit sin, it’s not okay, but if you learn to be repentant and find your way to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then that is good. If you are humiliated or have lost something, it’s not okay, but if you learn to be humble, grateful and forgiving, then that is very good.
Think of these things: We cannot be brave if we don’t get hurt. We cannot learn if we do not acknowledge our mistakes. We cannot be successful if we do not face our failures. We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must use troubles and difficulties, as they carry gifts in themselves, to attain deep participation in the life of Jesus and happiness in our souls. Just don’t be bloated, don’t be proud, don’t be boastful. Remember: you are braver than you believe; you are stronger than you seem; you are smarter that you think. You can do things better with and for Christ and the Church. Be honest and exert a little more effort. And these are God’s encouraging words to the Israelites through Moses: The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! (Nm 6:24-26).
- Make the best of life, and make the best of the New Year. Life is not really what you want, for it never came from you from the very beginning anyway. Life is what God can do to others and to the world through you. You want to see Him working? Pray and be kind and merciful to others. You want to see others living decent lives? Pray for them and assist them spiritually, financially, socially. You want to see others and the world at peace? Pray and be at peace with God. You want to see God’s glory? Pray and glorify Him by your life and be that favor that God has given us on Christmas. And you want to celebrate Christmas every day? Pray with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and allow Jesus to be born in your families by being faithful, humble and loving servants and disciples of His. So, give out some blessing and grace. You cannot have a perfect day unless you have shared with someone something that can change his life for the better, and knowing that you will not even be acknowledged as the giver.
The best is still to come, and it comes with Jesus. Mother Mary brings us close to Herself only be leading us to Jesus, Her Son, and to follow His commands. She is still our best way to Her Son, Jesus, to the Father, in the Holy Spirit and to His Kingdom.
So, as God has already proclaimed that His coming is for His greater glory and for peace to people of good will, let us hurry to the Bethlehem in our hearts and in the hearts of our families, to find Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and tell them what we have been told by the angels of God, by the Church, by our neighbors, so that we can also proclaim to the world the good news of our presence, the good news of others’ lives and the good news of the life of Jesus in us and among us: all these for the glory of God and for peace in the world. Proclaim the Kingdom of God as your goal this year, and make the best of it in Him, with Mary the Mother of God, with all the Angels and Saints, and with the whole Church.
God bless you; and a Blessed New Year to you all.