Feast: Mary’s Immaculate Conception 12/8

A marvelous way to receive the abundance of graces continually pouring forth from MARY’S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION happens whenever we recall this dramatic exchange between God and Adam after Adam’s sin.

The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid” (Genesis 3:9-10).

Before their sin, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden naked and without shame. They were perfectly at ease with God and perfectly provided for by God.

Sin ruptures the original harmony God established. Sin fills us with shame from awareness, however mysterious, that we chose something far less than we were able.

Today, far too many people – including far too many Christians – are deluded in believing they can avoid the disastrous effects of sin by twisting that which God says is wrong into something they claim is right.

Sin drives us into hiding from God. Sin brings forth shame from our awareness of knowing we disappointed God by dismissing His ways. The more the sinner hides from God, the deeper they sink into the tarpit of sin.

I recall playing hide and seek with nieces and nephews. When they were very young their hiding places were behind open kitchen chairs and underneath sofa pillows with their body and feet in full view. Our seeking to hide from God is no less preposterous!

Sin cruelly leads us away from God and drive us to seek cover from Him. From God’s perspective this is as impossible as it is saddening.

Through His relentless pursuit of us, God seeks to break the absurd and deadly cycle of our sinning and resultant fleeing from Him. To accomplish this, God sanctified Mary in a way altogether unique. We call this divine grace MARY’S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. By an astonishing demonstration of God’s limitless love for us, Mary was conceived without sin in order to prepare a worthy dwelling for the Son of God.

The opening prayer for today’s Mass, addressed to God the Father, describes the truth in this manner: As you [God the Father] preserved her from every stain [of sin] by virtue of the death of your Son [Jesus], which you [God the Father] foresaw.  

God always is the protagonist. His mother Mary knows this truth perfectly. Every time we recite the venerable prayer which recalls the New Testament words of the Archangel Gabriel and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, we dare to utter “…pray for us sinners.” This means that we do not have to flee and hide any longer.

Mary Immaculate Conception 1