New Year Message

7th January 2019

When challenged, it is right to turn to Mary, Our Mother, for help, Pope Francis said on New Year’s Day, because Our Lady sees everyone as beloved children of God and helps others to see and to love in the same way.

“Especially in times of need, when we are entangled in life’s knots, we rightly lift our eyes to Our Lady,” the pope said Jan. 1. “Yet first, we should let ourselves be gazed upon by Our Lady.”

“The eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope. As she gazes upon us, she says: ‘Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!’”

“This maternal gaze, which instils confidence and trust, helps us to grow in faith,” he continued. “Her maternal gaze helps us see ourselves as beloved children in God’s faithful people, and to love one another regardless of our individual limitations and approaches.”

In a homily for Mass for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope reflected on the maternal role of the Blessed Virgin of Mary, who, he said, gazing on God’s people sees children, not sinners.

“Our Lady keeps us rooted in the Church, where unity counts more than diversity; she encourages us to care for one another,” he stated, noting that her tender gaze can people from falling into tepidity.

“When faith makes a place for the Mother of God, we never lose sight of the centre: The Lord, for Mary never points to herself but to Jesus; and our brothers and sisters, for Mary is mother,” he said.

He explained that not only is “the Mother” important, but also all of the mothers in the world, because “the human family is built upon mothers” and a world without their maternal tenderness may be rich materially, “but poor where the future is concerned. Mother of God, teach us to see life as you do.”

“We need to learn from mothers that heroism is shown in self-giving, strength in compassion, wisdom in meekness,” he urged. “God himself needed a Mother: how much more so do we!”

As mothers hold the hands of their little children to show them the way and to keep them from harm, “let us allow ourselves to be taken by the hand,” he said. “Mary, take us by the hand.”

Pope Francis said that “God-with-us, Emmanuel, loves us despite our mistakes, our sins, and the way we treat our world. God believes in mankind, because its first and preeminent member is his own Mother.”

Today, he continued, is a day “to be amazed by the Mother of God. God appears as a little child, held in the arms of a woman who feeds her Creator… That is the mystery we celebrate today, which gives rise to boundless amazement: God has become one with humanity forever.”