"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." - Luke 1:28
Today is one of the greatest Feast days in the entirety of the Church calendar. December 8th marks the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the blessed Virgin Mary who was conceived without sin. Although our Gospel speaks of the Annunciation in which she says yes to the coming of the Incarnation through her bearing Him, it is Mary’s own conception that takes center stage today.
Our guiding line of “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you,” is the main source behind the theology of the Immaculate Conception. The angel’s words that declare Mary full of grace, a fullness that means she is not lacking in any way, tells us that she must have been conceived without Original Sin. When we recognize this, it can seem to be an intimidating measure to live up to as we see this human woman that was perfected in nature and action. But perhaps her model is something we can still live up to.
In our Gospel today, Mary shows a perfect faith and obedience towards God as she says yes to bearing the Christ child. She trusts that all that is being said to her will be brought to completion and that God will protect her through it all. It is her trust and faith that helps her to be obedient to the Will of God and its calling in her life. Her Vocation was to be the mother of God, and she wholeheartedly agreed to it. With reckless abandon the Blessed Mother gave herself over to God, she had already been prepared for Him through her Immaculate Conception and now she was ready for the fruition of it all.
In our own lives, we need to be able to show the same fidelity and trust that Mary showed. It is not easy, but it is something that each of us is capable of doing! And so we have to ask ourselves, where can we live up to that model that declared herself as the handmaid of the Lord and said “Let it be done unto me according to thy word? How can we entrust our wills to the will of the Lord and live that life that He calls us to? The path may not be easy, but we know that it will be the best life for us. With that in mind let us imitate Mary in our prayer as we recite the Angelus.
Let us Pray,
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
This reflection was written by Kevin Effron
Kevin Effron is a first year Master of Divinity student at the University of Notre Dame. He is working at Verso Ministries this year as his ministry placement for his M.Div. and is the proud creator and organizer of Prepare the Way. Kevin hopes that you find this retreat as fruitful to meditate upon as he did while helping to put it all together.