The last few years have been particularly painful and troublesome for every one of us. The Covid-19 virus and all its many fallouts — deaths, lockdowns, lost jobs, closed businesses, vaccines mandates, closed churches, etc. — have left many of us worried, anxious, and fearful for our future and those of our loved ones. We have many sleepless nights wondering how or if we would overcome all these things.
These fears overcome and paralyze us because we tend to forget two important things. First, we fail to know the heart of God towards us. We forget that God’s heart is full of blessings and He wants to bless us abundantly. Our God is never stingy with His blessings.
God takes the initiative to bless us, even before we ask for His blessings. God gives Moses the exact words of blessing that Aaron and his sons must invoke over His people, “The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” God will surely bless His people once the right invocation is pronounced, “So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (See Nm 6:22-27)
The second thing that we tend to forget is what God’s greatest blessing to us actually is. We easily forget that God’s greatest blessing to us is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. God responded to our many dire needs in this way: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman.” In Jesus Christ, we are now in communion with God as His beloved children, with the Holy Spirit “sent into our hearts and crying out, ‘Abba, Father.’” We are no longer to live in fear of anything or anybody because “we are no longer slaves but sons.” We are not to feel hopelessly lost and abandoned anymore but hopeful and courageous because we are now “heirs through God.”(See Gal 4:4-7) Because Jesus Christ is forever our peace, our communion with God in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit becomes our path to inner peace in our fearful world.
If Jesus Christ and our communion with Him is not our greatest blessing from God, then forget about inner peace. The heart of Jesus towards us is always one of compassion, “His heart was moved with compassion for them.”(Mt 9:36) He also communicates His own peace to us to the extent that we also choose to know Him better, love Him more, and serve Him more faithfully. If the mere invocation of God’s name brings His blessing to His people, how much more will blessings be ours because of God’s irrevocable gift to us of His only-begotten Son.
Let us try to enter into the sentiments in the heart of Mary as she gives birth to Jesus in the manger. She has just completed a long journey from Nazareth with the infant Jesus about to be born. She cannot find room in any inn. She was not received or welcomed by any of St. Joseph’s relatives in that his native city. She cannot even enjoy the comfort of her little Nazareth home. She cannot give to Jesus the little luxuries that a newborn infant usually receives. Certainly, many reasons for her to lose her peace.
Mary was in inner peace because she was a woman in constant communion with God who dwells within her, “She kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”(Lk 2:19) She did not just think of these things but she saw them all in the light of God’s heart towards her. She knew God as a God of continuous blessings, “He who is mighty has done great things for me.”(Lk 1:49) She knew that this child in her arms was the greatest blessing to her no matter the many inconveniences and pitiable poverty of his birthplace.
Mary, Mother of God, is also our Mother and Queen of peace because she helps us to know the heart of Jesus towards us as His children. In receiving Jesus through Mary, it is also through Mary that we “received our status as adopted sons.” She teaches us to see our communion with God in Jesus Christ as our greatest blessing. She helps us to hold on to Him no matter what, just as she did at the foot of the cross on Calvary. She teaches us how to be in communion with Him interiorly and so connect with the peace of God who is present with us always, instead of worrying and fretting about the future we cannot control.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what is the heart of God towards us? Do we see God as angry at us? Do we see Him as condemning and ready to punish us for our sins and failures? Do we see Him as always abandoning us at times of need, absent and uncaring towards us? If we believe any of these lies, then we should forget about inner peace.
What is God’s greatest blessing to us? Is it our families, our abilities, our health, finances, relationships, careers, reputation, etc.? No matter how valuable these things may be or how grateful we are for them, we should forget about inner peace if we consider any of these as God’s greatest blessing to us.
As we make our New Year resolutions, let us add this one: to strive for deeper communion with Jesus through and with Mary. Mary will help us to maintain and deepen this communion with Jesus through sincere and intense prayer life. She will help us to serve and obey Him like she did, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it be done to me according to your word.” She will point us to the path of ongoing repentance when we fall into sin. She will move us to forgive others as our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our Eucharist is another encounter with the God who cannot wait to give us His blessings, especially His own peace. This communion in His body and blood is our only way to peace. Let Mary teach us how to look at God as our Father of unceasing blessings while valuing our communion with Jesus above all other blessings. This is the only way that we can hope for inner peace.
Happy New Year!!!