By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis opened his first Angelus of the New Year by urging the faithful to join in “placing ourselves under the maternal and loving gaze of Mary Most Holy”. The Pope explained that the day’s liturgy celebrates Mary “as Mother of God”.
Pope Francis went on to explain that throughout our journey along the paths of time, “the reassuring and consoling gaze of the Blessed Virgin Mary” is one of encouragement as we entrust our anguish and torment to her, “who can do all things”. Mary looks at us with the same maternal tenderness with which she looked at her son Jesus, and this gaze is “an encouragement”, he said. This gaze, ensures that this time “given to us by the Lord” can be one that is spent “for our human and spiritual growth”, the Pope continued; a time “to iron out hatred and divisions”; “to feel that we are all more brothers and sisters”; “to build and not to destroy” and “to take care of one another and of creation”.
World Day of Peace
The Pope went on to note the theme of this year’s Word Day of Peace: The culture of care as a path to peace’. This theme, continued the Pope, “is dedicated to caring for others and for creation”.
Pope Francis went on to note that “the painful events that have marked the path of humanity in the past year, especially the pandemic, teach us how necessary it is to take an interest in the problems of others and to share their concerns”. This attitude, he continued, “represents the road that leads to peace”. He explained that it is an attitude that “favours the building of a society based on relationships of brotherhood”.
“Each one of us, the men and women of our time, is called to make peace a reality every day and in every area of life, extending a hand to a brother or sister in need of a word of comfort, a gesture of tenderness, a helping hand of solidarity”, said the Pope.
Peace that comes from within
“Peace can be built if we begin to be at peace with ourselves and with those around us”, he continued, explaining that this means “removing the obstacles that prevent us from caring for those in need and destitution”. What is necessary, stressed the Pope, is to develop a mentality and culture of care, “in order to defeat the indifference, discord and rivalry that unfortunately prevail”.
“Peace is not only the absence of war, but a life rich in meaning, planned and lived in personal fulfilment and fraternal sharing with others. Then that peace so longed for and always endangered by violence, selfishness and wickedness, becomes possible and attainable”, he said.
"In families, in work, in nations: peace. Peace. And now that we think that life today is settled by wars, by enmities, by so many things that destroy...we want peace. And that is a gift."
Concluding his New Year Angelus reflection, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary “obtain for us from heaven the precious good of peace” and expressed his hope that “peace will reign in people's hearts and families; in places of work and leisure; in communities and nations”.
Finally the Pope wished all the faithful, and everyone throughout the world, “a happy and peaceful 2021: a year filled with confident expectation and hope”.