Thursday, January 1, 2015

Starting Right

January 1, 2015
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Catholics begin the New Year celebrating motherhood with the feast of "Mary, Mother of God." Motherhood means life. But for us life means sharing in divine Life. So we celebrate the Mother of God—as Jesus’ Mother and ours.

Mary didn't raise her boy just to be a good human being. And our parents didn't raise us that way either, if we grew up Christian. We were taught from the beginning that, because of our Baptism, God is our Father. Because of our Baptism, we live by the life of his Son, Jesus Christ, who took our bodies to be his own, to live and act and continue his mission with us, in us and through us. Because of our Baptism, the Holy Spirit was poured out into our hearts, so that we might “live by the Spirit” and “be guided by the Spirit” in everything we do (Galatians 5:25).

Our prayer to begin the New Year is the prayer with which we begin every Mass: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the favor of sharing in the divine life of God) be with you!” If we claimed the freedom to express our faith openly, this is the way we would meet and part from every Christian we live and work with. And in the silence of our hearts, this should be our prayer for every “non-” and “none” we meet also, unless they would welcome our saying it out loud.

We might say “Goodbye” without abbreviating it: “God be with you.”

Every Jew, every Muslim, and every other recipient of the Scriptures that are “the gift of the Jews” will welcome the blessing God taught 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!

What the blessing says is that the Lord alone—not luck or circumstances—can make the New Year happy. This is doubly obvious to Christians, who understand that the only “full life” is divine life, which depends on God acting with us and in us and through us in everything we do: “The Lord bless… the Lord keep… the Lord be… the Lord look… the Lord give….”What the New Year is all about is the Lord acting with us, in us, through us and for us in everything we do.

We begin the New Year saying with Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of the Father,
And communion in the Holy Spirit
Be with you.

Pray and Practice: Form the habit of saying the WIT prayer—Lord, do this with me, do this in me, do this through me”—all day, every day, all year long.

Discuss: Has this reflection given you a new attitude toward the New Year?

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