Since my father, Wesley Zimmermann, died almost three years ago, I've tried to call my mom, whose name is Mary, every day, to see how she is doing. She is 84 and lives alone at our family home in rural Missouri, not far from my older brother and younger sister.

Since I left for college almost 40 years ago, I have been strengthened by the reassurance that my parents were always there for me, that their love and support was constant, even when I was living far from home.  Hearing my mom's voice every day reminds me of that, and lets her know that she is always in my heart and prayers, even though I live and work nearly 850 miles away in the Washington, D.C., area.

Reflecting on Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I'm likewise reminded that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also always there for me, loving me with maternal love and faith just as my own mother does. 

In a 2014 blog draft on Mary, Mother of God, Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl noted that the Blessed Mother of our Lord "is also our mother and model of faith."

The cardinal pointed out that Mary, "whose journey of faith took her from the stable at Bethlehem to the foot of the cross, (is) always helping to bring Jesus to the world and to our hearts."

Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel) wrote that "as a true mother, she (Mary) walks at our side, she shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God's love."

In his blog, Cardinal Wuerl added, "Like Mary, we can bring Jesus into the world, every day of our lives, by living and sharing our faith with joy."

In Pope Francis's homily for his Jan. 1, 2019 Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the pope said, "In today's fragmented world, where we risk losing our bearings, a mother's embrace is essential. How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us! The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed. We need to entrust ourselves to our Mother."

This New Year's Day, on the holy day of obligation honoring Mary, the Mother of God, I hope to begin another daily routine, not only calling my mom Mary on the phone, but through prayer, calling on our Blessed Mother Mary, to help lead me to Jesus, and follow her example of saying "yes" to God in my life.