Today marks the beginning of a new year, and as always, the Church rings in the new year by celebrating Our Blessed Mother. It is appropriate and poetic on multiple levels. As a mother, Mary represents life and new beginnings. Her “yes” to the Lord is the only reason we have the hope of salvation. In her obedience and surrender, she allowed the Father to give us the Son—our means of hope and life for all eternity.
What might Our Blessed Mother say to us today? How might we listen with new ears?
I have a tendency to enter a new year full of great ideas. I used to really overdo it on the resolutions, setting myself up for failure. As I have gotten older, I have asked the Lord for a “word” or a “theme” to help shape my new goals, and then I keep them small. Perhaps I am slow to learn, but the Lord often has to repeat himself, and for the last few years, the words have revolved around slowing down, being still, and trusting.
No one can teach us more about trust than Mary. She, too, had to learn to trust the Lord. Her fiat came out of faith and trust in who she knew God the Father to be, but her life from that moment forward was one of constant occasions to trust God more. She had to trust that Joseph wouldn’t leave her; she had to trust that God was still Love when she was misunderstood and maligned by friends and loved ones. She had to trust God with her loneliness when she fled to Egypt, and she had to trust for decades as Jesus grew and remained a simple carpenter in her home. And then there is the trust she must have had to see her only son falsely accused, brutally beaten, and crucified. She had to continue to trust the Father as her son remained dead, while she went home without him.
It is easy to look around today—to look at the world our children are inheriting—and feel hopeless, feel fearful, or desperately want to rescue them from it. I know my tendency is to sometimes hope for heaven with such vigor that I forget God wants us here now and has beautiful plans for us. Right here and right now. Our Blessed Mother reminds us that there is no darkness her son cannot overcome. By her example, we can be assured that we are not supposed to hide. We are supposed to trust, and in trusting, we live the resurrection.
It’s easy to look to the new year and create our lists and resolutions, but perhaps this year we should ask Our Mother to teach us more about trusting Jesus. She can teach us to be still—to listen when we want to lecture, to pray when we want to instruct, and above all, to trust when our hearts are weary or overwhelmed. Through her intercession and help, we can say to the Lord every day, Let it be done to me according to thy will.