Immaculate Conception-8th December L’Immaculée Conception -le 8 décembre

“Mary said : ’Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done unto me according to your Holy will.”
Tuesday 17 November 2015

Gn.3,9-15.20 Ps.97 Ep.1,3-611-12 LK.1,26-38

Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary - 8th December

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David ; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ’Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour: The Lord is with you!’”

When we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, we celebrate the victory of the Love of God in one person in our humanity, who is named Mary. The work of the Salvation of the world was played out in an exchange between God and a young girl, Mary : ’This is now the mystery that is now revealed : it had stayed in silence for all time, until today when it is made manifest.’

God took the initiative. It is God who quite unexpectedly erupted in the young girl of his choice, Mary of Nazareth. ’The angel went in and said ’Rejoice, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you."

Mary is the first person who has been saved. she opens up for us a new Way that leads us to the Door of the Kingdom. The Angel Gabriel is sent to Mary; God takes the first step. Since her Immaculate Conception, Mary is full of grace, the complete object of God’s Divine Mercy. God prepared for her a dwelling place worthy of Him; the Angel marvels at the beauty of she who shines forth the grace of God : rejoice! And then it is Mary’s turn to be surprised, she has a feeling that there is a mystery that goes beyond her. She is troubled, she questions, for she is worried.

Humanity feels troubled whenever God draws close to someone in whatever place they are.But the Angel reassures her : ’Don’t be afraid, Mary’. And so an unheard of plan rings in the ears of Mary who is so astonished : to become the mother of Jesus, the Son from on high, from David and the Kingdom of God. We can imagine the fear of God in Mary’s heart and the respect of God for his creature’s freedom. If Eve reminds us of the combat (’agony’) right from the origins, as we can make the link of it in our own existence, for from now on, Heaven comes to our aid! The value of Mary’s “Yes” comes from this freedom the Lord respects, this respect that comes from God’s poverty and humility, for God asks and He trusts.

“Mary was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angle said to her : ’Mary, do not be afraid ; you have won God’s favour. Behold, you are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and his name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David ; he will rule over the house of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.”

This Grace of God , ’for you have found grace’ is acquired in Jesus Christ, and it is also at work in our lives. We are baptised in Christ, however, difficulties in our life haven’t faded away. The parable of the sower is very present, the weeds are well anchored in us! ’The ’old’ man who doesn’t do what he wants but does what he doesn’t want to do’ is still there! Even so, God acts, so that in Love we can be holy and irreproachable (Immaculate) under his gaze.’ The Holy Spirit comes to each one of us, and Jesus makes a new creature of us. ’He has blessed us’ -it is a New Love that is given to us. Mary benefitted from the mystery of Salvation of Jesus who died on the Cross and Who is Risen. We also

have the experience of ’the new world’ , one where Love is stronger than death. Jesus’ Passion is always at work, to raise us again and to bring His New Life to us.

“But Mary said to the angel ’How can this be, for I have no knowledge of man?’ The angel answered, ’The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with His shadow. And so the child will be Holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this, too : your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, ’for nothing is impossible to God’. Mary said, ’Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it me done unto me according to God’s Holy Will.”

Both the power and delicacy of God are revealed here : ’The Holy Spirit will come upon you.’ The promise May made to marry Joseph will be respected. God makes the proposition of his design before Mary and Joseph are married, each is free to accept or refuse the proposed mission, since Mary and Joseph are not definitively linked to one another. Love forces no one, Love never puts someone before an event that has already been decided. If Mary and Joseph accept, Jesus will then be able to pass as the son of this couple. And it will be fortunate for this couple will keep the secret about the work of God. This therefore is the design of God revealed before the Virgin Mary, and the mission given to this newly formed couple.

Full of grace and in a state of marvel by the coming of the promises made to his people, Mary remains free of this freedom that Divine Love doesn’t cease to create in those who offer themselves up to Him. The Virgin Mary, in the name of us all, gives her consent :’ Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done according to your Will!’

Mary offered her consent which burst forth from the depths of her being. God Himself was suspended at her response, waiting for this day ever since the Lord went down to the garden of Eden and hadn’t found man his creature! Today, the Virgin Mary replies : ’I am the handmaid of the Lord.’ It is by contemplating what comes to happen to the Virgin Mary that we can come to an understanding of what Jesus wants to bring about in the whole of his Church.

’The Holy Spirit will come down upon you and the Most High will cover you with his shadow. ’This is the mystery that is now revealed.

May the Christmas celebrations be for us a time where we can express our desire to be open and to collaborate in the work of The Lord in us and through us.

We ask for the grace to enter with Mary into this great Love of God.

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