Pope Francis has urged everyone to work hard to achieve peace, saying human strength alone is not enough for it to be achieved.
“May the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to the Prince of Peace, and cuddled him with such tenderness in her arms, obtain for us from heaven the pre-
cious gift of peace, which cannot be fully pursued with human strength
alone,” he said in his New Year’s Day message from the Vatican on Friday (Manila time).
He said peace is a gift from God to be implored 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.”
New Year’s Day also coincided with the commemoration of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
“We begin this year placing ourselves under the maternal and loving gaze of Mary Most Holy, celebrated in today’s liturgy as Mother of God,” the Holy Father said.
He also urged everyone to learn from the sorrows of the past and help others in any way possible.
“The painful events that marked humanity’s journey last year, especially the pandemic, taught us much it is necessary to take an interest in others’ problems and to share their concerns,” the head of the Vatican added.
The Pope also expressed hope that peace would reign in the hearts of the
“My hope is that peace might reign in the hearts of men and women and families, in recreational and workplaces, in communities and nations.
In families, workplaces, and nations: peace, peace. We might think that life
today is organized by wars, hatred, and many things that destroy. We
want peace,” he added.
He also wished the public “a happy and serene 2021.”
“May it be for everyone a year of fraternal solidarity and peace, a year filled with expectant trust and hope, which we can entrust to the heavenly protection of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother,” Pope Francis said.
Difficulties don’t mean lack of blessing – Tagle
The hardships many people have experienced in the past year should not be translated into lack of grace from God, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican said.
Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded the faithful that Jesus had promised that he will be with people until the end of time.
“Difficulties do not mean the lack of blessing; the promise of Jesus is ‘I will be with you until the end of time’ that’s the blessing,” he said in an article posted on the Radio Veritas website on Saturday.
He also urged the people to look at themselves and find God in every stage of their lives particularly during hard times.
“As we end the year which some people say is a ‘year of disaster’ may I invite you to look at the blessing (which is) God, how did God keep you during the Year, how did God continue to feed you during the year, how did God smile at you during the year, how did God treat you with kindness during the year, how did God and God’s presence save us from something that would have ruined us,” Tagle said during the Mass held at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino to commemorate Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the celebration of the World Day of Peace on Friday.
Only God can give the people serenity and peace of mind not only based on harmony but also in respecting differences in belief, faith, and outlook in life, he added.
“May we experience the blessedness of Mary, she who cooperated with the greatest blessing — the incarnation of the son of God — that changed the course of history and then there will be peace,” he said.
He said there can be no peace without God.
“Peace is a gift of God, peace comes from the name of God that is invoked on people and it is not peace not because there are no more differences, no more debates, no more conflicts there will be peace because there is salvation because the smile of God could be stronger than the roaring
of guns,” Tagle added.
Tagle is hoping that the people become as compassionate and caring as the Virgin Mary especially to those who are in need as they welcome a new year.