"A light will shine on us this day, the Lord is born for us: he shall be called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace, Father of the world to come; and his kingdom will never end." (Isaiah 9:2, 6)
Happy new year!
2009 is just minutes old -- at least in Toronto -- and though celebrations are at a fever pitch, I can only think of peace.
Christmas is the season of peace. Regardless of one's confession or creed, this time of year brings about a desire for goodwill, for generosity, for the coming together with one's neighbour, for establishing peace. It seems appropriate then that on this the first day of 2009, the Church recognizes a World Day of Peace. It's a reminder for us to extend the goodwill we felt just a week ago into the new year. To sustain it, to foster it. After all, we just experienced the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace Himself!
And it's also at this time that we turn to the Queen of Peace, as on this day the Church celebrates the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. She is the Mother of God, the Mother of Peace. I always think of our Blessed Mother as an exemplar of peace -- as I turn to Sacred Scripture and consider the Annunciation, the Wedding Feast of Cana, our Lord's Passion, and other events involving Our Mother, I think of a quiet strength, a humble trust, a faithful love. Not only a peaceful exterior, but a peaceful interior as well.
Every year brings a handful of resolutions. Rather than committing to shedding 10 pounds or giving up some awful habit, perhaps we should take something up? Perhaps we should make a better effort to take up peace. It sounds like an odd thing to do -- how do you take
up peace? -- but how can we expect to bring peace to the world on a large scale, in our communities, in our country, in our world, if we don't first start with ourselves. Peace does not have to do with weapons or violence. Peace means not shaking your fist at a person when they cut you off in traffic. Not yelling at your child when he makes a mess. Not gossiping about a co-worker. Forgiving someone who has done us wrong.
It is this way that we welcome peace into our lives this new year. It is in this way that we welcome the Child Jesus more fully our lives, in this way that we become bearers of the Prince of Peace.
From all of us at Salt + Light, have a blessed, healthy, and peaceful new year. May Mary, the Queen of Peace, the Mother of God draw you ever closer to her Son.