Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her,”Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.‘
Christianity is not a spectator sport. God wants us all in the game, not on the sidelines. All of us have a very important role to play. Everyday we draw breath we are invited to share in His work of love in the world. No matter how young or old, rich or poor, sick or healthy – we all can love, serve, and carry out God’s will, bringing Christ into the world.
Consider Mary – the first one to be saved, from the moment of her conception, and the first one to follow Jesus. In her we can see that all of us are called to say “yes” to the Lord and to do His will. In our own fiat, we bring Christ’s love and presence into the world.
Mary is our model of the perfect follower of Christ. Mary was the first to welcome Jesus into her life. She was the first one to love Jesus and to follow Jesus. Her intimacy with the Lord from the moment he was conceived and throughout his life on earth, through his public ministry, and now in heaven, cannot be compared with any other follower of Christ. Let us, with humble hearts, ask Our Lady to help us draw closer to the Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Do we view our marriage and our family as playing an important role in bringing Christ into the world? In Advent we are not just preparing for welcoming Jesus anew in our hearts, but also to share in the work of Christ. How can we say “yes” to God and help bring Christ into the world in a new way?
“O my Divine Savior, Transform me into Yourself. May my hands be the hands of Jesus. Grant that every faculty of my body may serve only to glorify You. Above all, Transform my soul and all its powers so that my memory, will and affection may be the memory, will and affections of Jesus. I pray You to destroy in me all that is not of You. Grant that I may live but in You, by You and for You, So that I may truly say, with St. Paul, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me”. – St. John Gabriel Perboyre
The goal of marriage is to bring each other closer to God. We must not grow weary nor lack zeal in prayer for each other. Starting today and for the rest of Advent, set an alarm on your phone and pray an extra ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’, and ‘Glory Be’ for your spouse. Ask your spouse what you would like you to pray for specifically for them.