In his book, “Mary of Nazareth,” Father John Dear, SJ, names Mary the prophet of peace and teacher of nonviolence. As this nation prepares to observe the inauguration of the new president of our country, perhaps the best way we can honor Mary in her role as a peacemaker is to pray to her for guidance and assistance to President-elect Barack Obama in undertaking the immense task he has been given. Peace begins with prayer and there is no more powerful intercessor for peace than the Blessed Mother.
I would suggest that beginning Jan. 20, if there is time for only one prayer, let it be a daily Hail Mary on behalf of President Obama that he be given the grace he needs to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly” (Micah 6:8) in his new role.
If we are to have the fruit of peace, it will come with the price of many prayers and our earnest commitment to be peacemakers. It begins in our own hearts, then spreads to our family, our neighbors, our community, our country and, eventually, our world.
“Peacemaking is not an optional commitment,” said the U.S. bishops in their 1983 pastoral letter. “It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to be peacemakers, not by some movement of the moment, but by our Lord Jesus.”
Perhaps the bishops will review and update their 1983 letter and a subsequent statement in 2002 to address the issue of peace and justice, not only in the Holy Land, but in so many places in the world, including our own beloved country.