Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
May the Lord Bless you and keep you! May his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!
Isn’t this a wonderful blessing to begin this New Year’s Day, 2009?
While Ps. 67, our Psalm Response, is considered to be a communal thanksgiving for a good agricultural year, it is also our prayer together today, as we seek God’s blessings in this New Year, "May God bless us in his mercy… May his face shine upon us…and bless us."
As we ponder the Gospel today, we join the shepherds as they go to Bethlehem and find Mary and Joseph, with the infant lying in the manger. My own personal reflection on this gospel leads me to bring to heart and mind my own journey to Bethlehem with the CTU Israel Study Program under the leadership of Fr. Carroll Stuhlmueller, CP. After a time of prayer in the large Church of the Nativity, Carroll led us down the narrow stairs to the ancient caves below… in silence and awe we walked where believers had gone before us – marking the walls of the caves with their Christian symbols and words… such a sense of awe and presence, not only of Mary, Joseph, and the newborn child, Jesus, but of the faith of all believers … the people of God who, like the shepherds, made known what they saw experienced.
Whenever we reflect on these profound mysteries, like Mary, let us hold them in our own hearts and minds… share and praise God for all that God continually gifts us now, in the past and in the year to come.
Happy New Year!
Sr. Marcella Fabing, CSJ, is on the staff of Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, California.