Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 8th, 2010

Andy Alexander, S.J.

University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
I remember feeling sad when I heard some people who were uncomfortable with this feast. Some didn't understand it, confusing it with the conception or the birth of Jesus. Some seemed to not like its focus on Mary or that she shouldn't be thought to be "special" in any way. Still others didn't know what it meant for us and didn't know how to celebrate it.

I think it helps to remember that the feast celebrates God's care in becoming Incarnate, in becoming one of us. The Incarnation (literally, the enfleshment of God) was carefully planned by the Three Personed God. The Trinity, in deciding to save Creation from the power of sin and death, decided to send the second Person of the Trinity to be born, live and die among us, surrendering to the Father. For this to happen in a human way, God needed the cooperaton.of a woman who would conceive and give birth to our Savior - a woman who was so "full of grace" that she could form him in freedom and full availability to God's will. This woman needed to be full of grace from the moment of her own conception. We would later be able to understand that, at the time she was conceived in the womb, Mary was given the gift of the redemption her Son would bring to us all.

This means at least three powerful things to me.

Mary is so easy to turn to, to be with, talk to, listen to. Mary has a free heart - a heart that is completely centered on her Son.

Mary can help each of us to grow, mature and to understand our mission from God. She can be our mother and guide in helping us lead a life that is more capable of surrendering ourselves in following Jesus.

Under the title of the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the patron the United States of America, as well as many other countries (with Cathedrals under her name in countries around the world). It seems really important to turn to Mary and beg her help for our countries. May we be able to focus on our mission to care for the common good. May we be better at not forgetting the people on the margins. May we protect the dignity of every human life, as a precious child of God, giving every human person what he or she needs for a full life enabled to practice their faith with justice and the protections justice demands. Unified around those commitments, may we seek peace together for our world and for its children in the future.

Holy Mary, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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