A Moment before Mary the Mother of God
Some people accuse the Church of taking over pagan festivals and civil holidays. Usually it’s some bizarre claim about Christmas.
The thing is, they’re right. Mostly. They’ve got the right idea. Just the wrong holiday. It’s not Christmas.
But New Year’s? Guilty as charged.
The Church is definitely taking over New Year’s. That’s what the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God is all about.
Why? Because the Church gets the importance of the New Year.
Think about Morning Prayer for a moment. Why is the Church so big on it?
Because the Church knows that how you start the day sets you up for the rest of it.
The best way to start? By relying on God.
But even if yesterday was a great day, you cannot rely on it for today. There’s no carry-over from yesterday.
As C.S. Lewis said, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day, as if nothing had yet been done.”
And New Year’s?
It’s like Morning Prayer. But for the whole year.
Just like each day, how you start the year sets you up for the rest of it.
So how do we start?
As we often do, we find our model for doing it right in Mary.
In the Gospel it says, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
It seems like a small thing. An odd, passing detail.
But it’s actually the secret to starting things right. And keeping them there.
What are you pondering in your heart? What messages are you replaying for yourself over and over in your thoughts?
Are you choosing the message? Or is it just whatever pops into your head?
Because that’s what you are pondering in your heart. The messages that you are replaying for yourself over and over.
And the messages that you replay for yourself over and over are powerful.
The things that you ponder in your heart will shape your day. Your year. Your life.
You can’t avoid it. That’s the power of the messages that you are replaying for yourself over and over.
But I must warn you. Negative things are the loudest things.
And if you are not deliberately choosing the messages that are replaying for yourself over and over, it will be the negative ones that you hear. Because negative things are the loudest things.
Things like “can’t,” and things like “should have.”
Things like “failure,” and things like “not good enough.”
If you let them, they will replay for you over and over. They will become the things that you ponder in your heart. And they will shape your day. Your year. Your life.
Nobody wants that. Nobody wants a day or a year, much less a life, shaped by “can’t” and “should have.” Shaped by “failure” and “not good enough.”
So what do we do?
Look to Mary. And follow her lead.
What she is pondering in her heart?
The promises of God. Like the Annunciation. God’s fulfillment of those promises. Like the Nativity.
None of it in the way she would have expected. Yet all of it better than she could have imagined.
Replacing man’s “can’t” with God’s “can.”
Replacing “not good enough” with a God who is more than enough.
Relying on the one constant running through it all. The love of God.
That’s what she’s pondering in her heart. And it will change the world.
So what do you want to change?
What kind of day do you want to have? What kind of year, what kind of life?
It begins now.
And you have the power. You get to decide.
What are you pondering in your heart?