Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Remembering Mary as a friend of God and prophet in the communion of saints, a woman who is truly sister to our strivings, allows the power of her life to play in the religious consciousness of the church, encouraging ever-deeper relationship with the living God in whom our spirits rejoice, and allying us with God’s redemptive designs for the hungry, the lowly, and all those who suffer, including in an unforgettable way women with their children in situations of poverty, prejudice, and violence.
The opposite of sin is grace, and the Immaculate Conception means that Mary was uniquely blessed at the outset with the gift of grace, God’s own self-communication. She was enveloped from the beginning in the love of God. In its broadest reach the Immaculate Conception means that God takes the initiative to surround the life of all human beings with redemptive love and unrepentant fidelity. The point is, while this doctrine speaks in the language of the absence of sin, in essence it is all about the presence of grace.
Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister.
Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with you.
Meditate on God’s love that surrounds you with love and fidelity.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for God has been mindful of my humble state.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is God’s name.
God’s mercy extends to those who fear God, from generation to generation.
God has performed mighty deeds and has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. God has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
The hungry have been filled with good things but the rich have been sent away empty.
God has helped Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever.
Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us. As far as faith, the hinge of the Christian life, is concerned, the Mother of God shared our condition. She had to take the same path as ourselves, a path which is sometimes difficult and obscure.
From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust when all hope is gone.
John Paul II
Luke’s portrait remains. Mary’s journey sets the whole Gospel story of nonviolence in motion. She was filled with joy at God’s dramatic entrance into the world, and God’s revolutionary action against the rich and powerful and on behalf of the poor and oppressed. Mary understands the plight of all those who suffer from the world’s unjust economic order and its wars. She is a woman of justice, a woman of disarmament, a woman of peace, a woman of revolution, a woman of action, a woman of nonviolence.
Luke’s Gospel account of the Christmas event is full of activity…And yet, in
the middle of the frenetic action, here is this woman wrapped in mystical silence…She demonstrates the necessity of a quiet place within ourselves at Christmastime—that place where we are most ourselves in relation to God.