In just a few hours it will be January, the month which takes its name from the Roman god Janus, the god with two faces, one looking to the past and the other looking to the future.
Thus it will be that these final hours of 2016 will be filled with endless retrospectives of the past year’s events, which no one truly understand, and the projection of New Year’s resolutions which no one really intends to keep.
The reason why neither the retrospectives nor the resolutions have much meaning, however, is that both are largely rooted in self-interest. What happened to us in this past year and how did world events effect our self interests? Or what could make my life better in the future and how could 2017 be better for me than 2016?
Our contemplation of past and present is usually rooted, therefore, in “what’s in it for me?”
The Blessed Virgin Mother, by contrast, looks at the past and the future in an entirely different way. When the shepherds arrive at the manger and report what the angels have told them, we are told that Mary treasured these stories in her heart. And, again, when in last week’s Gospel the child Jesus grew in wisdom and grace, we are told that Mary treasured all that was happening in her heart.
For the Mother of God, she who bore God’s Word made flesh in her womb, the events of the world were to be treasured and pondered by a heart ever seeking to find God and his Holy Will in the events of yesterday and tomorrow.
The meaning of recollection, then, has never really been about seeking my self, but looking for God’s will. The meaning of resolution has never been about seeking self-promotion, but trying to find new ways to give myself away to God.
Why, then, do we always begin the year by commemorating the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Because, like her, we are called to consecrate to God all our yesterdays and all our tomorrows; snd he who made all time, gives us another year to discern his plans and to do his will.