Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflect vs React

     On this night when we mark the passage of time in our New Year celebrations, we do a great deal of remembering the events and the people of the past year, the joys and sorrows of our human experiences.  We celebrate the transition of time with fervor and often times with reckless abandon.  There will be many a hoarse voice or pounding head tomorrow after the festivities of tonight - First Nights, dinners and dancing, drinking and partying.  We will picture 2015 as "Old Man Time", ancient and decrepit, carrying the scythe that cuts down time ... and we will envision 2016 as the new baby embodying new beginnings, starting fresh.

     The Church in her wisdom has placed a feast at this moment of transition in honor of Mary, the Mother of God.  We often honor Mary with special celebrations.  I find today's celebration fitting in that we are once again reminded that Mary is a model, an example of how we, mortal human beings, can deal with the immortal experience of our encounter with her son.

     The example that she gives to us is seen in how she / we deal with the circumstances of life as they confront us.  We party hardy on this New Year's night and try to forget the past year because we react to the things, good and bad alike, that we have had to deal with.  The New Year's Baby starts the whole cycle over again, a new beginning, a fresh start.  Within a year, that child will be "Old Man Time", and we will be saying goodbye again.  But have we grown?  Have we learned anything?  Are we rejoicing in the life that we live?

     In the Gospel from Luke for this feast, we hear that Mary took all of these things shared with her, the reports of the shepherds and the angels, the prophetic words of the Scriptures, and reflected upon them in her heart.  Hers was not a "reaction" but rather a "reflection" of the circumstances of her life, good and bad alike, as seen in the relationship and experience that she had with her son, Jesus.   Mary has found the wisdom to move forward with faith and trust, to not try to forget and block the past out, but to embrace each moment in the joy of salvation and love.  Thus we acknowledge her to be the Mother of God (her earliest title) and our mother (entrusted to us by her son at the foot of the cross), a woman of holiness and full of grace, and an inspiration to a world lost in itself.   Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  The Lord is with you!

     On this New Year's eve, my prayers are for all who read "Journey Thoughts", to your families and loved ones, to the faithful of God in the Church and beyond, and for a wisdom for all to reflect rather than react, bringing peace into our hearts and into the world.

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