January 1 The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God - Solemnity
Mary, star of morning, gate of heaven
Mary Immaculate announces the dawn of eternal day and aids and guides us all along the way that still separates us from it. For this reason the Office hymn “Hail, thou star of morning” is a sweet petition: "Act in such a way that, believing in Jesus with you, we may be glad in it with you”. This is the end, the crowning of a life of grace, towards which every heartbeat, all the most generous efforts of our fidelity as Christians, must tend. Take heart, my children, we shall not always be in trouble. O Mary, “you are our strength”! O Mary, radiant image of grace and purity, when you appeared you dispersed the shadows of night and raised us to the splendors of heaven: be favorable to your children. Prepare our thoughts for the coming of the Sun of Justice (Ml 3:20) whom you brought into the world. Gate of heaven, make our hearts long for paradise. Mirror of justice, preserve within us a love for divine grace that, in humility and joy, we may fulfil our Christian vocation. May we always enjoy friendship with our Lord and receive your motherly consolation.
Saint John XXIII (1881-1963), pope