God’s blessings throughout the new year
On Jan. 1, in the first reading of the Mass for the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Lord instructs Moses to ask Aaron and the priests to bless his people with these words: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Numbers 6:24-26) In the Catholic Church, we venerate Mary as the Mother of God on Jan. 1. Even though our year has begun in Advent, the first sheet of our civil calendar coincides with the date when we celebrate the Theotokos. Therefore, dear reader, the blessing Aaron and the priests shall give the Israelites in the name of the Lord becomes meaningful to you, as you begin one more year in your life. It does, for God asked Moses that this should be the blessing for his people always.
Notice how this blessing mentions God’s divine name thrice, invoking the presence of the triune God who blesses you. The blessing formula is divided in three parts that ask the Lord to grant two favors each: blessing and protection; his divine light and prosperity; his divine watch and peace.
The blessing given through this formula asks the Lord to make holy all those who receive it. Therefore, I pray to the Lord that throughout this year, he makes you holy. That he keeps you from anything or anyone that puts at risk your safety, your integrity and your relationship with God. That he keeps you from all your enemies. And if needed, that he keeps you even from yourself.
I pray that throughout the year, the light of God guides your journey and dispels all darkness of uncertainty and sadness. I pray that when the Lord’s face shines upon you, you may become a reflection of his love to all those around you, making them feel his presence, his understanding and his forgiveness. If you do, the Lord will look upon you kindly and will grant you and those you love abundant peace.
Throughout this new year, may the face of the Lord shine upon you in every moment. And may you be able always to look back at him, face to face, with that special trust only attained by those who know how to remain faithful to the Lord and how to look into his eyes without having to look away. Before the Lord’s shining face you’ll be able to tell him about your joys, your achievements and your good harvest. You’ll be able to share with him your sadness. You’ll be able to put before him your dreams, your wishes and your yearnings. You’ll be able to entrust on him your fears, your downfalls and your disgrace. You’ll be able to shed a tear or two if you need. You’ll be able to just contemplate his face in the deepest silence, and fill yourself with his divine peace.
I wish you the constant blessing of the Lord throughout the year that has just begun.
Be passionate about our faith!
This is the English translation of the “Semillas de la Palabra” column that appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.