Sr Phyllis Jaszkowiak
January 1, 2018
Today we celebrate Mary, Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace. I wonder sometimes, how could Mary be peaceful going through all she did? How did she cope without letting anger, sorrow, or depression get the best of her?
“Mary pondered all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” She brought them all to God in prayer and through prayer was led what to do. She became an unwed mother by listening to God through the angel that was sent. At Cana she observed the married couple, listened to her Son, who was not concerned about the newly married couple running out of wine, and so told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” In John’s gospel at the cross, Mary stayed to the end. She did not try to hide, but had to accept her helplessness to make the crucifixion stop. She did what she could do – she stayed.
Mary is called the Mother of Peace. She asks each of us to be people of peace.
There are people today who go through tragedies in life and come out stronger. There are people, who because of the color of their skin, who are immigrants, who come from a different culture or religion, are in constant danger of violence. They resist the violence but do not retaliate with violence. Mary, I would suspect, faced the same dangers. She resisted the violence and sought peace.
Sr. Barbara Reid says, “In this contemplative space, Mary holds both joy and pain, anguish and delight, and receives all as blessing from God. Mary carves out hollow space in the midst of tumultuous circumstances so that in contemplative oneness with the Holy One, she experiences the face of God shining upon her, transforming any of her troubled feelings into a calm radiance.” (Reid)
Two sayings stand out for me. “If you want Peace, work for Justice.” And, “Peace is not the end, Peace is the way.” Peace is never passive. It is an active process of helping the world enter more fully into the Kingdom of God; removing barriers so all can live a decent, human life, and encouraging us to care for one another with compassion and solidarity, especially the poorest among us.
We, like Mary, need to sit in a contemplative space, so we can do what God is calling us to do. Our “discipleship consists in hearing and doing the Word of God. It is a both-and injunction. In the depths of contemplation we experience oneness with God, the ability to see from the Divine perspective, to accept the gift of blessedness offered us, and thus become empowered to act in ways that will bring about peace.” (Reid)
We do all this in our everyday lives as did Mary and Joseph. If we become contemplatives-in-action we can set forth a powerful challenge to the status quo by doing God’s loving work. “Mary and Joseph go about the normal way of fulfilling the law, but as they circumcise their child, they set forth a powerful challenge to the status quo by naming their son as the one who is salvation and peace.” (Reid)
So let us go this year, and like Mary, “reflect on all the happenings in our lives, that we may see God’s love and will more clearly”, (Svoboda,) and do God’s transforming, saving work in our everyday lives.
Barbara Reid, OP, ABIDING WORD YEAR B. Liturgical Press, 2011. Pages 16 & 17.
Melannie Svoboda, SND, LIVING WITH CHRIST. December 2017. Page 53.