Pope Francis: Let us place the new year under the protection of Mary

Courtney Mares   By Courtney Mares for CNA

Pope Francis offers Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in St. Peter's Basilica on January 1, 2022. / © Daniel Ibáñez/EWTN/Vatican Pool.

Vatican City, Jan 1, 2022 / 09:35 am (CNA).

On New Year’s Day, Pope Francis encouraged people to place their lives under the protection of Mary, the Mother of God.

“The new year begins under the sign of the Holy Mother of God, under the sign of the Mother. A mother’s gaze is the path to rebirth and growth. We need mothers, women who look at the world not to exploit it, but so that it can have life,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Basilica on January 1.

“At the beginning of the New Year, then, let us place ourselves under the protection of this woman, the Mother of God, who is also our mother. May she help us to keep and ponder all things, unafraid of trials and with the joyful certainty that the Lord is faithful and can transform every cross into a resurrection,” the pope said.

Pope Francis’ first public act of 2022 was to offer Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God.

In his homily, the pope said that the Virgin Mary teaches us how to “keep and to ponder,” to reflect upon and accept life as it comes, in times of both joy and suffering.

“Mary’s pensiveness … is the expression of a mature, adult faith, not a faith of beginners. Not a newborn faith, it is rather a faith that now gives birth,” he said.

“For spiritual fruitfulness is born of trials and testing. From the quiet of Nazareth and from the triumphant promises received by the Angel – the beginnings – Mary now finds herself in the dark stable of Bethlehem. Yet that is where she gives God to the world.”

The pope asked people to reflect on how Mary had to endure “the scandal of the manger.”

“How can she hold together the throne of a king and the lowly manger? How can she reconcile the glory of the Most High and the bitter poverty of a stable? Let us think of the distress of the Mother of God. What can be more painful for a mother than to see her child suffering poverty? It is troubling indeed,” he said.

“We would not blame Mary, were she to complain of those unexpected troubles. Yet she does not lose heart. She does not complain, but keeps silent. Rather than complain, she chooses a different part: For her part, the Gospel tells us, Mary ‘kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.’”

Pope Francis encouraged people to have the same attitude of Mary when faced with unexpected problems or troubling situations.

“She shows us that it is necessary: it is the narrow path to achieve the goal, the cross, without which there can be no resurrection. Like the pangs of childbirth, it begets a more mature faith,” he said.

After offering Mass, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus at noon from the window of the Apostolic Palace with a crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.

“Happy New Year! Let us begin the new year by entrusting it to Mary, the Mother of God,” he said.

“The new year begins with God who, in the arms of his mother and lying in a manger, gives us courage with tenderness. We need this encouragement. We are still living in uncertain and difficult times due to the pandemic,” the pope said.

“Many are frightened about the future and burdened by social problems, personal problems, dangers stemming from the ecological crisis, injustices and by global economic imbalances. Looking at Mary with her Son in her arms, I think of young mothers and their children fleeing wars and famine, or waiting in refugee camps. There are so many of them.”

Pope Francis said that the thought of Mary holding Jesus in the stable is a reminder that “the world can change and everyone’s life can improve only if we make ourselves available to others.”

He recalled that January 1 marks the World Day of Peace, instituted by St. Paul VI in 1968.

“We can truly build peace only if we have peace in our hearts, only if we receive it from the Prince of peace. But peace is also our commitment: it asks us to take the first step, it demands concrete actions. It is built by being attentive to the least, by promoting justice, with the courage to forgive thus extinguishing the fire of hatred,” he said.

“At the beginning of this year, may the Mother of God, the Queen of Peace, obtain harmony in our hearts and in the entire world,” Pope Francis said.

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  1. Let us place ourselves under the protection of this woman, who is our mother (Pope Francis). We may refer to the protection of God, of angels, rarely by saints. St Joseph is eminent. Although Francis adds, Our Mother. Given us by Christ from the Cross. Perfectly correct theologically.
    His Holiness is commending a powerful, universal petition for Mary’s protection, who is also Mother of the Church [Paul VI]. No one protects like a mother. In the animal kingdom and in our world. Except for the mounting travesty, the inhumanness of abortion of infants in the womb. A mention would have been welcome.
    Francis goes directly to the least fortunate of the world where charitable emphasis should be. And hatred. Violent assaults are increasing worldwide. In NYC women with their children pounded by deadly fists. How vicious can we become? Critical race theory incites, justifies the injustice on our streets. A word on that would have really been worthy. Otherwise a welcome message for 2022.

    • Christianity’s most ancient prayer for Mary’s protection Sub Tuum Praesidium.

      Beneath Thy Protection Ancient Greek: Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν; Latin: Sub tuum praesidium is a Christian hymn and prayer. It is the oldest known Marian prayer and the oldest preserved extant hymn to Mary as Theotokos. It dates to the 3rd or [4th century] AD and is well known among the Catholic church, the Eastern Orthodox church and the Oriental Orthodox church. In the Byzantine Rite used by the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the hymn occurs as the last dismissal hymn of daily Vespers in Great Lent. In Greek practice, it is usually sung in Neo-Byzantine chant.

      Beneath your compassion,
      We take refuge, O Theotokos [God-bearer]:
      do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
      but rescue us from dangers,
      only pure, only blessed one.

    • Although under suppression by modern church authorities, the TLM congregation still recites St. Pope Leo’s prayer invoking St. Michael the Archangel’s protection (in spiritual battle) after every Tridentine Low Masses.

  2. “Happy New Year! Let us begin the new year by entrusting it to Mary, the Mother of God,”
    THIS is a blasphemous statement. There is one mediator between God and man…and it isn’t Mary. ANYONE who puts Mary or anything else, no matter how good or sincere, between themselves and God is going to get what Cain got when He tried that…SIN and the consequential domination it manifests in a person’s life.

    • Barry: If God the Father can entrust God the Son to bear the Incarnate Word, why would you show such little in faith in God? Hmmm.

      • Actually, God’s trust for Mary is exactly what my faith is in. NOT that Mary had any innate or organic power to execute her responsibility but that God would see BY HIS POWER that she had the will and the ability to fulfill HER ROLE as the mother of the incarnate word…Nowhere is it ever conceived of in the Bible that Mary had any powers to have any role beyond that. There is absolutely nothing about being Jesus physical mother resembling this idea that she be an object of our faith.

    • Mary is no impediment to our relationship to the Most Holy Trinity, she is indeed not only the Mother of God in the person of Jesus Christ, but Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Grace — all Grace, Who is Jesus Christ. This by no means equates Mary’s role as equal to Christ, it simply means “with” and in the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary preeminently so. Co-Redemptrix is not a new notion. It goes back to Colossians 1:24 where Paul exclaims “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…” Irenaeus of Lyon [c. 130-202] referred to the the Blessed Virgin as the cause of our salvation because of her willing assent to Gabriel’s announcement. Had she not by her free will consented to the virginal conception of Christ in her womb it would not have happened — but she did consent and so magnified the Lord.
      Just as all of us will be taken into Eternal Beatitude body and soul, the Mother of God precedes us. Just as all of us will receive a crown as St. Paul points out in I Corinthians 9:25 the Blessed Virgin Mary precedes us as demonstrated in the last mystery of the Rosary.
      Jesus Christ took His biological nature, His Body and Blood, from His human mother. In this way alone, if nothing else, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who gave birth to Him without pain given she was not subject to the consequence of Original Sin, stood sharing in His agony at the foot of the Cross giving birth to the Church from His side. The Blessed Virgin Mary is undoubtedly Co-Redemptrix.
      We are ALL co-redeemers and that, despite the misgivings a pope who equates this reality to that of a “goddess” like our protestant friends. This is a New Testament reality which highlights we are saved by faith AND works.
      All Mariology is an amplification of Christ, and serves to explicate the nature and workings of Christian life. The meditation of the Church through Revelation, the early Christian Fathers such as St. Irenaeus and Melito of Sardis, our saints and doctors through the centuries exhibits this as not a notion, or a fancy, but a concrete facet of Christian revelation.
      1 John 3:2 “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him…”
      We are called to participate and exhibit the divinity of Jesus Christ. Who conformed to His will to save humanity from the real and grave consequences of Original Sin more perfectly than the Immaculate Conception?
      The Blessed Virgin Mary is not superfluous, but central to every facet of our bond with the Holy Trinity through Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.

    • Catholicism has Jewish roots. People who want to learn more should look into the video presentations of Dr. Brant Pitre. He has many videos covering the Jewish roots of Catholicism. Some videos of his are available on YouTube. There is a video excerpt on YouTube titled “The Kingdom of God and Mary” where he goes into Christ as King and Mary as Queen Mother.
      There is another one titled “The Queen Mother”
      When we claim Christ as Brother then Mary is our mother. When we claim Christ as King then Mary is our Queen Mother.

    • God’s wonderful plan for our redemption involved His Son assuming human nature in order to implement it. He entrusted Mary with the unique role of mothering this human. This child, who called her “mother” later established a family known as the Church and so the members of this family also call her mother – and respect her accordingly.

  3. Matthew 6 (ESVCE)

    9 Pray then like this:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

  4. The broken clock is right twice a day.
    Trust trashed for now close to nine years is not restored without the greatest effort by the one who boldly discarded it.
    I’ll give my ear to clergy and theologians who have an undisputed devotion to Mary, the Mother of God and Mediatrix of All Grace.

  5. A recent quote by Pope Francis
    “We are not orphans; we have a Mother in Heaven.” Sure, of this, we can never fall into the sin of despair, a sin which has a powerful pull today.

    Which could be described as a direct attack (Undermining) of this given teaching by Jesus Christ.

    “I will not leave you behind as orphans, I will come to you” as “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”

    Many Catholic theologians have rightly pointed out in recent decades that Mary often takes the place of the Holy Spirit, for example as “Advocate” and “Comforter”
    While we can reflect on these Words “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, (Holy Spirit) living in me, who is doing his work
    So, if we trust in His teachings our promise is that the Holy Spirit (God Himself) will dwell within us also. This is true for/of all His Saints including His exulted Mother. As His earthly creatures, we are always the container never the contents. Yes, we are taught that we can pray (request) that the saints intercede on our behalf but ultimately that intercession must glorify God alone and we do this when we ‘trust’ in Him alone

    “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live”
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • It’s not exactly as you put it, Kevin. Jesus did not say: “I will come to you” as “the Advocate …”. In John 14:16 we read, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever.” Yes, this Advocate is another – not Jesus.
      So, we see that God’s plan involved Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well. And, we know that there was another special person God trusted: Mary! True, she is not divine, a goddess or anything like that. However, she was a simple girl who said YES to God, and it was her “yes” that made God’s plan work. For this we are eternally grateful to her. She could help us to have our water changed to wine when and if the occasion demands it.

  6. Francis says: “the world can change and everyone’s life can improve only if we make ourselves available to others.”

    Meiron: “I’m married.”

    • You read me wrong. My wife has now passed away, but I was married to her for over 50 years. I was also married to my Lord in and through His Church, and also to my work.

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