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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

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Mary, Mother of God

Numbers 6:22-27
Galatians 4:4-7
Psalm 67
Luke 2:16-21

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"sleep in heavenly peace"

"The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!" —Numbers 6:26

When the Jewish people came to the Temple, the priests blessed them with peace. At the birth of Jesus, the angels sang: "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth" (Lk 2:14, our translation). Before His death, Jesus bequeathed peace to the apostles (Jn 14:27). Paul claimed that Jesus is our Peace (Eph 2:14; Mi 5:4). At Fatima in 1917, Mary exhorted and prophesied that we must pray for peace. We hear of Mary at Medjugorje identifying herself as the Queen of Peace. Over thirty years ago, Pope Paul VI set aside this first day of the year as a special day of prayer for peace and justice.

For centuries, and now more than ever, the Lord has emphasized that we need the fruit of the Spirit, that is, peace (Gal 5:22). We can be racked with pain and close to death, but if we have peace, somehow life's still worth living. We can be rejected, divorced, and abused, but even in such a state, there can be an overshadowing peace "beyond all understanding" (Phil 4:7).

Without peace, however, even minor aches, pains, and problems seem insurmountable. If we have peace, 2008 will be a great year, no matter what. Without peace, this year will be an exercise in futility. Come, Holy Spirit of peace. Queen of peace, pray for us.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, cry out in my heart "Abba" (Gal 4:6). May I know I'm a beloved child of God. May I let go of all unforgiveness, resentment, jealousy, and bitterness.

Promise:  "Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart." —Lk 2:19

Praise:  The greeting the risen Jesus gave His disciples was "Peace be with you" (Jn 20:19). Alleluia to the Prince of Peace (Is 9:5).

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007

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