Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2012

Today we celebrate one of the glorious mysteries of the Church, and one that has been the subject of much controversy over the centuries: the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am not so sure that I have the necessary skills to prove by Scripture the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, but I feel it can be adequately talk about the importance of our blessed Mother in our spirituality[1].

She was born without sin we were not. And so we need to pay attention to her. Attention not because of what she has done. No. We need to pay attention to her because of what God has done for her and how she has responded. We need to pay attention to her because we cannot live in the Advent season and prepare for the coming of the Lord unless we pay attention to that singular woman who was the vessel of the coming of the Lord into our world.

In a sense, the greeting of Gabriel says it all, Hail, Full of Grace. Hail to you whom God fills with his love. This is not a question of what she did to merit this honor and love. This is a question of what God does. For none of us knows the mind of God. We only know what God tells us. And today God tells us that this woman is filled with grace. This woman was so loved by God that she was conceived without sin. She is the Immaculate Conception.

But Mary did not know this at the moment when she heard Gabriel's greeting. She had no idea of her singularity in God's eyes. And even more importantly she did not see her life unfolding in the manner that it would. She did not understand that she was to be the vessel of God's touching earth in flesh and blood. I am sure that she had her own plans, her own ideas, her own future mapped out. But none of that seemed to matter. All that was important was that God led her in another direction and she was willing to follow. She allowed God to determine how God would come into the world. She let God do it God's way.

Perhaps that is the significance of Mary for us during this Advent season. For she teaches us that being prepared for the coming of Christ is not a matter of determining how God will act. Rather, it is a matter of letting God come to us in God's own way and in God's own fashion. The miracle of Christmas is not that God comes. The miracle of Christmas is that we, like Mary, are open enough to find God when God appears ■

[1] Saturday 8th December, 2012, The Immaculate Conception of the blessed virgin Mary. Readings: Genesis 3:9-15, 20. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous deeds—Ps 97(98):1-4. Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12. Luke 1:26-38.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris