Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Dear friends in Christ,
I have a confession to humbly share with you. I struggle with a hope-despair cycle when it comes to special Marian feast days.
This is how it begins in my mind…
Take today’s Gospel- “’Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you’…’Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” Luke 1:28b & 38a
I am so grateful for the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have the chance to share life with someone who is full of grace- full of encouragement, full of graciousness- and she shares this, and more, most intimately with me, as my mother. She offers her whole self as the handmaid of the Lord- a most perfect servant to the king of my heart- I feel like a child who wants to be just like her mother. What hope!
Then this happens…
Wait. I can’t be like my mother. I am not full of grace. In fact, I can barely hold on to a small moment of grace. I am often full of discouragement and malignance. I do not offer my whole self to the will of the Father. I regularly say no to even small requests He makes. What despair!
It is true that I am a sinner, and the Lord knows it, so He gives me the gift of Mother Mary to behold my destiny. Mary’s immaculate conception points me to the hope of heaven, that one day I too will be free of all sin. With Mary’s example and intercession, I can journey from sin to grace, from despair to hope; she will show me how to be fully human and travel down this path.
On this Solemnity of your Immaculate Conception, please Mary, pray for me and others who struggle with despair, especially with lies that keep us from your love and that of Jesus. Blessed are you, dear mother, among women!
Grateful to share this life with you,
Sacramental Coordinator, Office for Pastoral Care and Worship