Thursday, January 1, 2015

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

So today begins a new year. Philosophically-speaking, time is a function of change. Particularly as I get older I realize that time is of limited quantity, which means opportunities to change, or let myself be changed, are limited too. We're reminded of this in the liturgy throughout Advent, when kept hearing St Paul tell us to awake from our slumber, to start living the new life, the eternal life, given us by God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit through our baptism and strengthened through confirmation. I hope among the resolutions most of us have made spending more time in prayer, doing some form of fasting, of self-denial, on a consistent basis, attending Mass more regularly, and going to confession with some, or greater, regularity are included.

I don't start 2015 here on Καθολικός διάκονος with anything terribly profound, or earth-shattering. I will turn 50 later this year, which is a sobering thought for me.

Today's lovely solemnity, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the day which the church, at least for the past forty-eight years, also observes our annual World Day of Peace. It is customary for the Supreme Pontiff to issue a message for the World Day of Peace. This year is no different. In his message for this year, entitled "No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters," Pope Francis, who has proven a tireless advocate for peace since becoming pope. The title comes from St Paul's wonderful, if very short, Letter to Philemon (see 1:16).

In his message, Pope Francis challenges us to reach out to one another, to overcome those things that separate us:
In the light of all this, I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement. Let us ask ourselves, as individuals and as communities, whether we feel challenged when, in our daily lives, we meet or deal with persons who could be victims of human trafficking, or when we are tempted to select items which may well have been produced by exploiting others. Some of us, out of indifference, or financial reasons, or because we are caught up in our daily concerns, close our eyes to this. Others, however, decide to do something about it, to join civic associations or to practice small, everyday gestures – which have so much merit! – such as offering a kind word, a greeting or a smile. These cost us nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change the life of another person who lives clandestinely; they can also change our own lives with respect to this reality
Despite myself, I still find New Year a time of hope, a time of new possibility, a time to wake from my slumber. Holy Mary, Mother of God, as we embark on this New Year, pray for us, pray for peace among us.

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