In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, «Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you». Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean.
But the angel said, «Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end». Then Mary said to the angel, «How can this be if I am a virgin?». And the angel said to her, «The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child, and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible». Then Mary said, «I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said». And the angel left her.
The solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary is partly a revelation of divine mysteries, which invites us to imitate the humanity of the Mother of Jesus, (since we participate perfectly in her humanity) and profit from her son the divinity, which is offered to our humanity. Though the divinization of our humanity is purely a divine gift, as we have seen in the call of Mary, the cooperation of us, is imperative for this transformation.
The call of Mary begins with a salutation and blessing. It is the way God begins His dialogue with the humanity. He blesses us, elevates us and enter into communication with us. It is through the humanity of Jesus that God has elevated our humanity. It is here we find the mystery of immaculate conception, a dignified house for the Incarnated one. It is in the same spirit of Mary’s availability that we are called to imitate and cooperate with the divine plan. Since God doesn’t wish to work without our Yes, he needs our generosity.
If God has elevated Mary and blessed her, then there is not only a divine need and commandment, but He has put all the hope in this virgin that she won’t deceive Him. God expects the same from us. Immaculate conception is a gift given, so that the Incarnation could happen. Every blessing has its own need and finality. We are expected to find it and respond to it positively.
The dialogue begins with the blessing and assurance of, “do not fear.” God continues to assures us. He knows and understands that this earthly life towards the holiness, is not easy. We can trust Him and put our confidence in Him. He will certainly bring to its accomplishment what He has begun in us. With the shadowing of the Holy Spirit, ‘everything is possible.’ With Mary, shall we say it together, «I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said».
Action of the day: Courage, say YES to the Lord.
«The angel came to her and said, Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you»
Fr. David COMPTE i Verdaguer
(Manlleu, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel plays a tune made up of three notes. Three notes which, in our society, are not always that well-tuned: one note of doing, one of friendship and another one of coherence of life. Nowadays, we all have very busy lives, but, do we have a plan? Today, when we are navigating through a world of communications, are we capable of being alone in our own company for a while? Today, in the information era, are we letting it shape who we are?
A plan. Mary, a young woman «betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David» (Lk 1:28). Mary has a plan. Of human proportions, evidently. Nevertheless, God comes into her life to bestow on her another project... of divine proportions. Today, He wants to come into our lives too, to give our everyday human tasks divine proportions.
A presence. «Do not fear, Mary» (Lk 1:30). We just do not go and build the first thing that comes into our head! Lest our addiction to “doing” were to become a way to hide a void. Marriage, a life of servitude, our profession, should not mean a leap in the dark. «(...) Full of grace, the Lord is with you» (Lk 1:28). Presence that accompanies and provides a new meaning. Trust in God, which —indirectly— brings us to trust others. Friendship with God that renews our friendship with others, too.
To shape ourselves. Today, when we are confronted with so many stimuli, so often conflicting, it is necessary to give unity and shape to our life. Mary, says saint Louis Mary Grignion, «is the living mould of God». «A sculptor, explains Grignion, can make a statue in two ways: By using his skill, strength, experience and good tools to produce a statue out of hard, shapeless matter; or by making a cast of it in a mould (...). The second is quick, easy, straightforward, almost effortless and inexpensive, but the mould must be perfect and true to life and the material must be easy to handle and offer no resistance». Mary is the great mould of God. Do we turn to Her by being ourselves material that easy to shape?