Happy New Year!
What will 2017 bring? None of us can know. As we venture into this New Year, the Church gives us Our Lady to be our companion because she is the pre-eminent woman of faith. While still in her teens, Mary was asked by God to venture into an unknown future that she could not have possibly understood in advance. Yet, she made a faith-filled “Yes” to the Father. This required on her part an extraordinary trust.
The Church looks to Mary on this first day of 2017 so that she might inspire in us the faith and trust we need for our journey into the future. Trust does not come easily to most of us. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to see into the future…to know what the year ahead will be or even where I will be five years from now? There are no answers to these questions.
Our Lord said, “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” Mary could have abandoned herself to fear and being overwhelmed but she trusted and anchored herself in God. This is our challenge! We must have the strong conviction that we are in God’s hands, that he loves us and takes an interest in each one of us.
There will be times when, like Our Lady, we are puzzled and bewildered. Sometimes there will be times when we must walk through life groping and it is precisely in such times that we must be faithful, keep going, knowing that God is with us. This was the experience of Mary and because it was hers, we can be sure that she is there—in the background as mothers often are.
Mary was Christ’s gift to us from Calvary. From the cross he entrusted Mary to St. John, saying, “Behold your Mother!” St. John represented us, the whole Church through the ages. Mary is not someone that we should place in the periphery of our life but she should be very close to its center, alongside her Son and our Lord.
Whenever I have the opportunity to preach on New Year’s Day, I like to include a prayer that reflects the faith and trust of Mary…the faith and trust we should strive for:
O Jesus, I see this year as a blank page that your Father is giving me, upon which he will write day by day what he has arranged for me in his divine pleasure. With full confidence I am writing at the top of the page from now on: Lord, do with me what you will. And at the bottom I have already put my “amen,” to every disposition of your divine will. Yes, O Lord, I say “yes” to all the joys, to all the sorrows, to all the graces, to all the hardships that you have prepared for me and which you will be revealing to me day by day. Let my “amen” be always followed by “alleluia,” uttered with all my heart in the joy of perfect giving. Give me your love and your grace and I shall be rich enough.
~ Sr. Carmela of the Holy Ghost (Divine Intimacy, Vol 1, p.112)