Francis calls us to entrust to her our anxieties and torments, and to realize that God gives us specifically a task: to be peacemakers.
Pope Francis led the midday Angelus from the Apostolic Library on this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, noting that the Christ Child from the beautiful nativity scene in the room had been taken from the manger, and placed in Mary’s arms.
“They told me,” he explained, “that the Madonna said, ‘Won’t you let me hold this Son of mine for a bit in my arms?’ This is what the Madonna does with us: She wants to hold us in her arms to protect us as she protected and loved her Son.”
The pope encouraged that we place ourselves under her loving gaze, “entrusting our anxieties and our torments to her who can do everything.”
Pope Francis noted that January 1 is marked as the World Day of Peace, and this year, his message focused on caring for each other as a path to peace.
The painful events that marked humanity’s journey last year, especially the pandemic, taught us how much it is necessary to take an interest in others’ problems and to share their concerns. This attitude represents the path that leads to peace, because it fosters the construction of a society founded on fraternal relationships. Each of us, men and women of this time, is called to make peace happen, each one of us… We are called to make peace happen each day and in every place we live, taking those brothers and sisters by the hand who need a comforting word, a tender gesture, solidary help. This is a task given us by God. The Lord has given us the task of being peacemakers. And peace can become a reality if we begin to be in peace with ourselves – at peace inside, in our hearts – and with ourselves, and with those who are near us. … It means developing a mentality and a culture of “care taking” to defeat indifference, to defeat rejection and rivalry … To remove these attitudes. And thus, peace is not only the absence of war, peace is never sterile … Peace is within life: it is not only the absence of war, but is a life rich in meaning, rooted in and lived through personal realization and fraternal sharing with others. Then that peace, so longed for and always endangered by violence, by egoism, and evil, that peace that is endangered might become possible and achievable if I take it as a task given to me by God.
Our Lady gave birth to the “Prince of Peace,” the pope said, and he prayed that she “who cuddles him thus, with such tenderness in her arms, obtain for us from heaven the precious gift of peace, which cannot be fully pursued with human force alone.”
Human force is not enough because peace is above all a gift, a gift to be implored from God with incessant prayer, sustained with patient and respectful dialogue, constructed with an open collaboration with truth and justice and always attentive to the legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples. …
Two places that need peace
After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned two situations in particular that call out for peace.
I express sadness and concern for the latest escalation of the violence in Yemen that is causing numerous innocent victims, and I pray so that efforts will be made to find solutions that allow peace to return to that tormented population. Brothers and sisters, let us think of the children in Yemen! Without education, without medicine, hungry. Let us pray together for Yemen. In addition, I invite you to unite your prayer to the Archdiocese of Owerri in Nigeria for Bishop Moses Chikwe and his chauffeur who were kidnapped in the last few days. Let us ask the Lord that they and all who are victims of similar actions in Nigeria might be restored to liberty unharmed and that that beloved country may regain security, harmony and peace.