Let us entrust the new year to Mary, the Holy Mother of God.
Our times, bereft of peace, need a Mother who can reunite the human family. (Pope Francis)
Dear Friends of WUCWO:
There is no doubt that this new year begins in the midst of conflicts and situations that threaten peace in the world, in communities and in families; but it also starts with a great number of challenges, opportunities to do good things and, for us, women of faith, with many reasons for hope. Therefore, I want to write this message as a welcome to the new year full of light and hope, confident that Mary, our Mother, will be walking beside us day after day, watching over us, encouraging us and interceding so that the Lord grants each one of us the graces we need.
We began the year beautifully with the feast of the Solemnity of St. Mary, Mother of God and the LVII World Day of Peace, which reminds us of the longing and hope of many, including ourselves, who have decided to be "artisans of human fraternity for world peace".
Here I would like to delve into some of the Pope's phrases in his homily on 1st January that can help us to reflect more deeply on our relationship with Mary and our work for peace. "God becomes man and he does so through a woman, Mary. She is the means chosen by God, the culmination of that long line of individuals and generations that “drop by drop” prepared for the Lord’s coming into the world.... Thus, at the beginning of the time of salvation, there is the Holy Mother of God, our Holy Mother". Yes, Mary is indeed the way to the Lord, our salvation. That is why we must be more and more united to our Heavenly Mother, place our lives in her hands, imitate her and take her to so many people who need her love, wisdom and consolation.
" Those words, Mother of God, express the joyful certainty that the Lord, a tiny Child in his Mamma’s arms, has united himself forever to our humanity, to the point that it is no longer only ours, but His as well.... Mother of God: a dogma of faith, but also a “dogma of hope”; God in man, and man in God, forever. The Holy Mother of God". This certainty consoles us, dignifies us and encourages us to go forward in our mission with firm faith.
"The motherhood of Mary is the path leading us to the paternal tenderness of God, the closest, most direct and easiest of paths. This is God’s “style”: closeness, compassion and tenderness". And that style of Mary and of God, the one of closeness, compassion and tenderness, is what you and I are called to live in our lives as women of faith, willing to bring the love of the Lord to the people around us. It is the "style" that we should adopt in our family, in our community and in our apostolic work.
" The Church needs Mary in order to recover her own feminine face, to resemble more fully the woman, Virgin and Mother, who is her model and perfect image (cf. Lumen gentium, 63); to make space for women and to be “generative”, through a pastoral ministry marked by concern and care, of patience and maternal courage". WUCWO is a fundamental part of the Church and therefore we must work with that care, solicitude, patience and courage that we women know so well.
"The world, too, needs to look at mothers and at women in order to find peace, to escape from the spiral of violence and hatred and, once more, to see things with genuinely human eyes and hearts.” What a great responsibility we have! That is why we must first have peace within ourselves and make sure that we do not lose the ability to look at our neighbour with the heart; to be authentic weavers of human fraternity and artisans of peace wherever we are.
"Every society needs to accept the gift of women, of every woman: to respect, defend and value women, in the knowledge that whoever harms a single woman profanes God, who was “born of a woman”. What beautiful words from the Pope that encourage us to continue to work so that the dignity of women is respected and valued throughout the world, so that they can develop fully and share their great gifts with others.
"Just as Mary, the woman, played a decisive role in the fullness of time, she is also decisive in the lives of each of us, for no one knows better than a Mother the stages of growth and the urgent needs of her children… The needs of her children move her, the Mother, to beg Jesus to intervene... Mary knows our needs; she intercedes to make grace overflow in our lives and to guide them to authentic fulfilment”. For this reason, we must increase our trusting and intimate prayer to Mary, placing ourselves in her hands, for she, better than anyone else, will know how to ask her Son for the graces that each one of us needs.
"Let us look at Mary, in order to become artisans of unity. Let us do so with her maternal creativity and concern for her children. For she unites them and consoles them; she listens to their troubles and she dries their tears”. I am certain that we, as physical or spiritual mothers, have the creativity and the capacity to care for and comfort others. Let us never stop doing it.
When I was preparing this message, I came across a beautiful prayer of the Pope at the Conclusion of the Pacem in Terris Holy Hour in St. Peter's Basilica, on October 27 last year. I invite you to reach out to Mary, Queen of Peace, our Patroness, and pray it, on your own, with your groups, in your family, etc. Here is the link: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/prayers/documents/20231027-preghiera-pace.html
Well, I would like to say goodbye to all of you with a big warm hug from Mexico. I hope that the coming year will be full of blessings for you and your families. May we, like Mary, be artisans of unity and peace, and may the new year be fulfilled, through us, with the maternal tenderness of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and with the consolation of the Lord!
WUCWO President General