Monday, December 08, 2014

Mary's Immaculate Conception

Today the Church around the world celebrates Mary's Immaculate Conception. For us Americans this day holds more meaning, since Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is the special Patroness of these United States of America. The Church teaches that Mary was conceived by her parents, Joachim and Anna, without original sin. So the first moment of her existence, Mary's souls was spotless, free of any sin. In view of her coming role as Mother of the Savior, God preserved Mary from the effects of original sin. The gospel which the Church offers us today is from St. Luke's narrative. The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with the good news that she was to be the Mother of the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel--and of all humanity.
Sister Marianne Lorraine, fsp led our morning prayer earlier today. As a special addition sister read an excerpt from a homily of Pope Benedict XVI especially for today. I was touched by the warmth of Pope Benedict's words about Mary. Here is an excerpt that you may enjoy:
In her [Mary], God has impressed his own image, the image of the One who follows the lost sheep even up into the mountains and among the briars and thornbushes of the sins of this world, letting himself be spiked by the crown of thorns of these sins in order to take the sheep on his shoulders and bring it home. ...[Mary's] heart was enlarged by being and feeling together with God. In her, God's goodness came very close to us. Mary thus stands before us as a sign of comfort, encouragement and hope. She turns to us, saying: "Have the courage to dare with God! Try it! Do not be afraid of him! Have the courage to risk with faith! Have the courage to risk with goodness! Have the courage to risk with a pure heart! Commit yourselves to God, then you will see it is precisely by doing so that your life will become broad and light, not boring but filled with infinite surprises, for God's infinite goodness is never depleted!
On this Feast Day, let us thank the Lord for the great sign of his goodness which he has given us in Mary, his Mother and Mother of the Church. Let us pray to him to put Mary on our path like a light that also helps us become a light to carry this light into the nights of history. Amen.

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