Mary, the Mother of God + World Day of Peace – The 6th Day of igNation’s 12 Days of Christmas


We celebrate several things on January 1 each year. In the liturgical calendar, we acknowledge the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Saint (Pope) Paul VI established World Day for Peace in 1968. And, of course, it’s still the Christmas season. Finally, January 1 is New Year’s Day in many parts of the world.

I would suggest that the attitude of Mary, the Mother of God, is one we can afford to adopt. Luke reminds us today that Mary treasured all these things – concerning the mysterious events surrounding her son’s birth – reflecting on them in her heart. That’s a pretty good way for us to enter 2019.

Is there something that it’s good for me to ponder? Many of us have a tendency to react to situations, rather than respond with discernment and patience. A knee jerk reaction to bad news – whether in self, family, friends, national crises or global issues – usually lacks the discernment that is helpful.

Perhaps a good way to approach bad news is by initially taking a few moments to consider what’s in my heart, and then to speak from that place.

Regarding World Day of Peace, Paul VI asked that, ” every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and a promise, at the beginning of the calendar which measures and outlines the path of human life in time, that peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.

World Day of Peace has a special focus each year. Pope Francis announced that the 2019 theme is summed up as, “Good politics is at the service of peace.” His message is sent through Vatican diplomats to the leaders of nations around the world. Francis said that the world will not have peace without people having mutual trust and respecting each other’s word.

Pope Francis’ message underlines how political responsibility belongs to all citizens, especially those given the mandate to protect and to govern. This mission of governing “consists in safeguarding law and in encouraging dialogue among stakeholders in society, between generations and among cultures. … There is no peace without mutual trust. And the first condition for trust is respecting one’s word.”

We know that many who run for public office do so with the best of intentions. Political involvement is one of the loftiest expressions of charity and it brings with it a concern for the future of life and the planet, of the young and the least, in their thirst of fulfillment.

The sad fact is that so many good people lose their lofty ideals and dreams somewhere along the way. We all know the traps that get in their way. Sex, money and power are the main ones.

Today’s First Reading offers a suitable blessing for us as we start the civic year. Perhaps it also helps elected officials.

“The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!”

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 10:32h, 01 January Reply

    Thank you Philip!

  • Maria Skarzynski
    Posted at 12:11h, 01 January Reply

    Beatifully said !! Thank you Father and health and happiness in the New Year !!!

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