This past week we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, that moment in time when God prepared Mary to be the Mother of his only begotten Son, preserving her from every stain of sin. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception really sets the stage for us as we embark and reflect upon this Advent Season.
Luke’s gospel presents us with a young girl from Nazareth, a small, insignificant village on the outskirts of a mighty Roman Empire. It is here that God begins God’s greatest work! Mary is the one who would initiate God’s humble but powerful triumph over sin and death itself, and she does so with a simple, “Yes!” When the world is tossed about and concerned only with domination and defense, God comes in an unassuming way to proclaim a message of peace, hope, and reconciliation for all, and God does so, not by a show of physical force, but by the movement and power of the Spirit, a force deep within all of us, if we but look.
As Pope Francis once said, the mystery of this girl from Nazareth who is in the heart of God, touches the same longings in all of us. In this sense, Mary is every person’s struggle and hope. Through Mary, God rests his love on every man and woman. Mary’s example then helps us recognize our own true destiny, our own deepest vocation: to be loved, to be transformed by that love, and to be transformed by the very beauty of God’s work in us as Pope Francis says.
As we continue our Advent journey, let’s look to Mary, our mother and allow her to look upon us. In the words of our Pope, let’s allow ourselves to be watched over by her so that we may learn how to be more humble, more at peace, and also more courageous in listening and following God’s word. Let’s learn to welcome the Savior and accept the embrace of her son, Jesus, “an embrace that gives us life, hope and peace.” (Adapted from Pope Francis words on Mary)
Words to live by: “Blessed are those who give without remembering and receive without forgetting.”