Feast of The Immaculate Conception
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Dec 8, 2006)
When Mary responds to the archangel: "May it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38), it was probably her greatest example of trust in God up to that point in her life. It was the first of the many times she had to verbally acknowledge this confidence. Eventually, she had to repeat a similar "yes" throughout the rest of her life on earth.
Immediately after the archangel departed, we can imagine that Mary must have been left with many unresolved feelings. The questions she struggled with were like so many of our own under desperate circumstances. Imagine, if you will, how she planned to inform Joseph of this pregnancy? Would he believe her? As yet, she had no idea that Joseph would have a dream that would resolve this issue. If he did accept her explanation, how would others in her immediate family respond? How could they possibly understand?
Trust in the Lord was her greatest response and only solution to this most unusual event.
Because of this element of trust, for which she was prepared by God's singular gift of being preserved from original sin, she confidently writes:
His mercy extends to those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and
His descendant forever, just as he promised our ancestors (Lk. 1:50-55).
No doubt Mary sang this hymn many times in her life, offering hope to anyone who has experienced injustice. Her confidence and trust is rooted in God's inexhaustible love and tender care.
Although we can only marvel without fully comprehending the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, I believe most of us can connect with Mary at least on some level of understanding. We can easily see her as one with a strikingly beautiful and serene gaze full of piety and humility. In a blue robe with arms extended, she is Our Lady of Grace. Then with hands in prayer she shows herself as the Immaculate Conception. Unfortunately for many, Mary seems remote. She seems to be somewhat distant, focusing her gaze only on Jesus in quiet reflection.
Then, there is that other image of Mary that appeals to so many because of her tender and compassionate gaze, which is so apparent and so inviting— like my favorite aunt, who likes to hold you closely to herself and never wants to let you go. In her embrace, Mary leads us to Jesus and doesn't want to leave us untended. Whatever hymns of praise are bestowed upon her, Mary turns them over to her Son and keeps nothing for herself.
However, there are many who only meet Mary at Calvary, drawn there by the events of their own lives. They stand there with her as she internally expresses her trust in God during those final moments of her Son's agony borne for our sins. Her faith and trust in the Father's will gave her the energy, grace, and strength just to be there and bravely remain standing. Mary would go to any lengths to fulfill her Son's fidelity to the Father and His salvific will for us. Her love for her Son and for us knows no bounds. That is why she draws us continually to Him to receive grace and favor.
O' Mary Conceived without original sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.