Today, the first day of 2017, is the octave day of Christmas and is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. This is the oldest feast of Our Lady in the Liturgical calendar . It is also World Day of Prayer for Peace. In the first reading at Mass we hear how God gave Moses a special blessing prayer to say. Here it is. “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.” We definitely need peace in our world at this time; In a letter Pope Francis has written for this World day of Prayer for peace he says “I would like to reflect on nonviolence as a style of politics for peace. I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values”. He reminds us how Saint Mother Theresa clearly stated her own message of nonviolence: She said; ”We in our family don’t need bombs and guns, to destroy; to bring pea
ce – just get together, love one another… And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world”. For the force of arms is deceptive. “While weapons traffickers do their work, there are poor peacemakers who give their lives to help one person, then another and another and another”; for such peacemakers, Mother Teresa is “a symbol, an icon of our times”. The Pope praised her readiness to make herself available for everyone “through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded… She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognise their guilt for the crimes – the crimes! – of poverty they created”. In response, her mission – and she stands for thousands, even millions of persons – was to reach out to the suffering, with generous dedication, touching and binding up every wounded body, healing every broken life.” Mary is the Queen of Peace. At the birth of her Son, the angels gave glory to God and wished peace on earth to men and women of good will (cf. Luke 2:14). Let us pray for her guidance. “All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers”. The Pope concludes his letter by saying; “In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to build nonviolent communities that care for our common home. “Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace”. I believe this can be a great agenda for us all in this new year.
“The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace”. Mother Teresa