Mary, Bearer of Peace

Antonio P. Pueyo
January 1, 2006
Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
Day of World Peace
Reproduced with Permission

Let us start this New Year with the traditional blessing in the bible (first reading):

The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you,
The Lord look kindly upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:22-27)

This is a beautiful blessing that we can give to people we meet today. This blessing finds popular expression in the song, "May the Good Lord bless and keep you, whether near or far away." This blessing becomes more meaningful as we attend family and friends' reunions this New Year. We meet and we part with this beautiful prayer for our loved ones. An important element of this blessing is peace.

The beginning of the year is marked as the Day of World Peace in the church calendar. The Hebre w word for peace is shalom. In the Bible, peace as shalom is not just the absence of conflict. It is the abundance of God's blessings of life, health, harmony in relationships with family, friends and neighbors; prosperity, justice and wellness in general. When we wish a person shalom, we really mean, "May you enjoy God's bountiful blessings."

Action starter: Do you have a peaceful heart? Seek Mary's help.

More important than just greeting one another with peace, is that we become peace bearers. In our own person and in our own life we carry the peace of God. The Blessed Mother herself, whom we honor today as Mater Dei, is our model as the bearer of peace. For nine months she physically carried the Prince of Peace in her womb (Is. 9:5). Even in the most critical moments of her own earthly life, Mary conducted herself in peace. "Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. (Lk. 2:19, 51)." Mary's own peaceful demeanor comes from her deep faith in God. No wonder the apostles gathered after Easter with Mary in their midst. No wonder, throughout the history of the Church, her intercession and help was sought especially in times of troubles.. One of the earliest prayers of the Church (c. 200 A.D) was the prayer called Sub tuum Praesidium, "We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God."

If as Pope John Paul II said, "The peace of the heart is the heart of peace," then we need to have the peaceful heart of Mary our Mother. I can envision the following scene: when there is a family problem, father and mother sit and talk about it rather than shout at each other and the children. When one has a personal difficulty, like Mary, one ponders things in her heart. When one instinctively or due to cultural conditioning reacts to stressful situation with violence, he avoids acting impulsively and instead ponders things first.

Mary was not just satisfied with her own peace of heart. Mary took the effort to bring the peace of God to others. She helped out with her cousin Elizabeth. She brought the hosts' problem to Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana. She stood at the foot of the cross. She became mother to the early apostles. She is Mother of the Church. She is Mother of God.