Friday, December 31, 2010


This was the blessing offered by St Francis of Assisi to people he met:  "Peace, and good(ness) to you."  Don't we all long for this blessing more than for virtually any other in the world?

Can we find peace in the midst of suffering and sadness?  I think we can (and the illustrations in the song below show some ways in which it is possible).  This is the peace that comes from solidarity, outreach, love.  It is the gift that says "You can relax, you can be safe; it's going to be all right."  This is the promise of the Lord to Mother Julian of Norwich:  "Sin was bound to happen, but all will be well..."

1 January is the old Feast of the Circumcision (and the Gospel still reflects this fact).  Now it is celebrated as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  Her Son is also known as the Prince of Peace; He assures us (John 14:27, 20:19, 20) that he gives His peace to us "not as the world gives," but for the sake of forgiveness of sins.  Think of the peace that could come if those words were truly taken in--"I know all about it--every detail.  I forgive you because I love you."

In 1986 Pope John Paul II met with leaders of the world's religions in Assisi to pray for peace.  At one point it was thought a heretical idea--the Holy Father went forward with it anyway because it (the prayer itself, and the witness) was what the world needed to see.  At the distance of 25 years, the event now seems prophetic, but will its spirit carry us forward toward the fulfillment of that vision?  Pope Benedict's Message for the World Day for Peace 2011 says that it can and must--that peace must be built on mutual religious freedom.

This evening at Our Savior we will be holding a Holy Hour Vigil of Adoration for peace.  Would that the church might be as crowded as it was for the 5:00 pm Mass of Christmas Eve!  But for those of us who will be there, the Prince of Peace will have something to say to us:  "I love you; take courage, for I have overcome the world."


  1. Just a little note: in speaking about the Circumcision to fellow Catholics recently, my memory kept jogging between the Circumcision and the Epiphany. This was not a problem for my friends. Just when did our hierarchy make this change? Why was this change made?

  2. I'm not sure what you mean. We've always celebrated Epiphany, but it's been transferred from 6 Jan (where it belongs) to the nearest Sunday (for us, this year--2 Jan). The name of the 1 Jan feast being changed from Circumcision to Mary Mother of God was the result of the reforms of Vatican II--we've had this change for about 40 years now...

  3. It's a fact, then, that early catechism memories linger longer -- the nuns at Sacred Heart grade school had high expectations and they usually got the results from students, if you knew what was 'good' for you.