Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Reflection for Jan. 1, 2018

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

On New Year’s Day the Church invites us to celebrate Mary, the Mother of God. Theotokos means God-bearer, which is a title that both Christians and Muslims ascribe to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Our Mother Mary carried Christ in her womb, giving him physical life, and also imaged him in her relationships with others.

The title may be given to each of us also because, as we read in Genesis, we are created in God’s Image. Like Mary, we are God-bearers when we extend to others the greeting of peace in word and in action.

January 1 is also the World Day of Peace, and in his message for this day Pope Francis invites us to ponder how we are responding to the 250 million migrants and refugees in the world. Are we helping them in their search for peace? He urges us to take four actions toward migrants and refugees:

As we begin the New Year, let us resolve to be God-bearers toward migrants and refugees in our midst who, like us, ardently long for peace.


Mary did everything in her power to provide for Jesus, and God has entrusted us to do the same with our own children. We must, as Christians, support those in unfortunate circumstances who attempt to provide a better life for their families.

As a woman (womb-an), one whose very essence is to bear life (womb-an), I identify very strongly and most completely with the longing of mothers who want "life" and "fullness-of-life" for her children. I believe this is what Mary felt from within her womb, all along. Her physical womb, and her contemplative womb, are what God used to bring "new life" into the world. Her 'new life' - born of derision and scandal - was JESUS, who lived his CHRIST-HOOD so that we, too, could know it. The womb of Mary, indeed, and in deed, is Our Teacher, our Way-of-Life. Mary is The God-Bearer from her womb - physical and contemplative (spiritual). Let us, as women, feel and know this same Power from within our womb-depths -- the inner longings of our hearts, minds, and souls to bear God to a world so much in need of True-God, True Womb-an.

Thank you, Sally Ann, for reminding us of our true calling to Peace and fullness of Life for all. Thank you for You!


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