January-Happy New Year
New beginnings give us energy. They remind us that it is possible to start anew, leaving old ways, misjudgments and mistakes behind. This is true of individuals and it is also true collectively. But it takes someone to make the first move, to step over the threshold of hope and say YES! Hence, the New Year begins with the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Mary is the example par excellence of someone who recognizes the power of the ultimate new beginning and who is willing to venture out into the messiness of the human condition by saying YES to God.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Reflection Paul Chitnis, Director Jesuit Missions
If the Magnificat does not sound like good news for the high and mighty, it does offer encouragement for the millions of people who live with the often-brutal poverty that frequently results in stunted lives and premature death. Mary’s hymn of praise is also good news for us, impoverished as we are in body and spirit, yearning for a more just and peaceful world. Mary’s generosity of spirit reflects God’s generosity towards those who trust in God. God’s decision to entrust the motherhood of Jesus to a young girl and Mary’s total surrender to God offers each of us a challenge.
As we start 2019, we too can wonder and pray:
What is the task that God has entrusted to me, here and now, as we start 2019?
Am I ready and willing to respond generously and joyfully to God’s mission?
What do I ask of God and Mary as I try to live ever more faithfully through God’s plan for me right now?
Prayer to Our Lady in the Jesuit community in Bruges, 1762
Be for me an example of surrender and engagement. Create within me
a heart that is honest and pure,
a heart that offers a haven to others,
a heart that is generous and resolute,
ever able to overcome difficulties,
always ready to begin again
a humble heart
that expects everything from Jesus
your Son and our Lord.