“It was fitting that the Virgin should be resplendent with purity…” —St. Anselm
Today’s Reading: Lk 1:26-38
“…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….'”
Reflection: (This second Tuesday in Advent, 2020, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.)
We celebrate Mary during these days before Christmas, because she is to be greatly honored. Early Christians came to appreciate her heavenly self. On the earthly side, too, let us imagine a woman, almost nine-months pregnant, traveling a week or more without a car to her husband’s family hometown, all because of a forced census to increase taxes for someone else’s wealth. That’s Mary in these days of Advent.
On the heavenly side, the Immaculate Conception is a doctrine that has been a stumbling block for many non-Catholics, and misunderstood by many Catholics. The doctrine comes from our faith that Jesus is God. Thus, he could only be brought among us through the purest of means. Since we believe that the Original Sin of Adam and Eve is part of our human condition, then Mary must be the exception. She is the woman who was immaculately conceived, that is, conceived without Original Sin.
Let us pray: Mary, most holy virgin, teach us how to open our hearts to the voice of God. Like you, let us bear the unknowns of our time in a faith-filled spirit. Let us hear the angel’s words, “Do not be afraid.”