December 8, 2004
Immaculate Conception of Mary
Father Jason Koch, LC
In the sixth month, 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, favored one! 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. He will be great and
will be called Son of the Most High, and the
Lord God will give him the throne of David his
father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob
forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?" And the
angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will
come upon you, and the power of the Most High
will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will
be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth,
your relative, has also conceived a son in her old
age, and this is the sixth month for her who
was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, today we
celebrate the feast of your Mother, the Immaculate Conception. Help
me contemplate the glories of Mary and strive to imitate
her virtues of faith and charity. Give me the graces
I need to do this meditation with all my heart,
attention and affection. Make me docile to the inspirations you
generously give me.
Petition:Lord, increase my faith and love.
1. Gabriel Was
Sent to a Virgin Named Mary. Mary was deep in
prayer in her own home and was probably praying for
the redemption of her people from their sin. Her prayer
was deeply personal, and it must have been the right
moment for God to send his messenger to her. God
always knows the right moment to ask us to be
generous to his will, and he helps us to follow
through with generosity. Lord, open up my heart to receive
your inspirations and will, and to be generous in fulfilling
your plan in my life.
2. Hail Full of
Grace. How often we get confused about what we celebrate
in this feast. Here we concentrate on a young woman
hailed as “full of grace.” In Mary, there was no
stain of original sin, even from the day she was
conceived in the womb of St Ann. She is truly
full of grace and enriched by God with gifts appropriate
for her role as the Mother of God. She received
these gifts by a “singular grace and privilege of almighty
God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ,
her Son” (CCC 491). Because of this grace, Mary was
able to give the free assent of her faith to
the announcement of her vocation and all that it demanded
from her. She was able to trust in God completely.
Let It Be Done to Me. Mary’s answer was one
that all of creation waited for. Once Gabriel proposed God’s
will to her, he waited for the answer with great
eagerness because all creation needed her to say “Yes”. But
would she? Everyday, we receive numerous opportunities to choose whether
or not to follow God’s calling or inspirations. It wasn’t
always easy for Mary to believe, yet it was her
faith that made her follow God’s will until the end
of her life. Here, I need to contemplate her, move
my heart and will to decide always for Christ, and
give witness to my faith and my Catholic identity in
every moment of the day. Let it be done to
Dialogue with Christ: Jesus, how many times am I weak
and don’t give you the attention you deserve. Help me
to be more attentive to you in my life and
not be afraid to be what I have been called
to be through baptism. If I am still discerning a
vocation, Lord, give me the courage and strength to confront
that call with love and generosity because I know that
I will never outdo you in generosity. Keep me close
to you and faithful until the end.
Resolution: I will make
a special visit to Mary today, asking her to intercede
before God for my family and my country.