Let us ask the Mother of God to guide us throughout these coming 365 days.
One week after Christmas, the Church solemnly celebrates the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary. Of course, we have already celebrated her at Christmas: we cannot dissociate her from her Son Jesus. This is why, for centuries, in the Western liturgy, there was no special feast celebrating Mary’s divine motherhood, apart from local traditions. It was Pope Pius XI who extended this solemnity to the universal Church, in order to better mark the extraordinary privilege of Mary, Mother of God. Indeed, she holds a very special place in the history of salvation: it is through her and in her that the Son of God became incarnate to save us all.
One week after Christmas is also the first day of the New Year, when we like to exchange wishes of happiness with those around us. The fact that this day is consecrated to Mary, Mother of God, is an invitation to entrust these wishes to her and to all the people we greet. It also invites us to entrust ourselves to her who, better than anyone else, can help us find true happiness throughout these 365 days that are opening up to us.
The Virgin Mary guides all parents
Mary is mother — mother of Jesus and our mother. Let us continually ask for her help in our mission as parents. Mary was not exclusively the Mother of God, she was also a mother like any other, the mother of a real “flesh and blood” little boy who needed to be cared for just like every other little boy on Earth. We should not have, nor transmit to our children, an ethereal vision of the Holy Family.
Like all mothers, Mary prepared the meals, washed and changed her baby, taught him to walk and put away his things. She knew, as well, what it was to be exhausted at the end of a long day and weary of life’s chores. The life of the Holy Family was apparently nothing exceptional: what was exceptional was the infinite love with which Mary, Joseph, and Jesus accomplished all things … beginning with the ordinary little things that filled their days, just as they fill ours.
Mary teaches us to say “yes” to God on a daily basis
Mary, Mother of God, is the first of all creatures. And yet her life is completely discreet and humble; she submits herself to Jewish law like all other women (for example, for purification). She does not stand out. In the streets of Nazareth, at the fountain, nothing distinguishes her from other women, no one can guess what is extraordinary in her ordinary life. She teaches us to take our place, without boasting of the talents that God has given us or those that He has blessed our children with. She teaches us that the only thing that counts is to desire God, to say “yes” to Him in everything and everywhere, without worrying or glorifying ourselves. Saying “yes” can sometimes lead us on extraordinary paths.
Mary knows that everything comes to her from God. That is why she is so joyfully free. Recall the “Song of Mary.” Mary teaches us how to recognize our gifts, to cultivate them in order to make them bear fruit, but always with a humble heart: the heart of one who knows that alone they are nothing and that everything they receive comes from God.
Being at peace in all circumstances
Mary, Mother of God, is also a daughter of God, and she knows that above all else, she is loved. She is fully confident about the future, in spite of having heard Simeon’s dreadful prophecy in the Temple of Jerusalem: “Behold, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Imagine hearing such a prophecy less than two months after the birth of your baby. But Mary did not let herself be shaken. It is not that she was insensitive, nor shut off from her maternal instincts. On the contrary, suffice it to read in the Gospel about Jesus’ recovery in the Temple: “My Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you” (Lk 2:48). Faith is not a tranquilizer and Mary’s faith does not at all prevent her from suffering like any mother … more, if possible, because she loves more. But she always remains immersed in God, so nothing disturbs her deeply. Everything develops in her against a background of joyful and indestructible peace. It is this peace that we can ask for, at the beginning of this new year, for our families and the whole world.