This past week we celebrated the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is to honor that in order for Mary to be the Mother of Jesus, she herself has to be conceived without sin. I heard an excellent explanation from Father Schmitz this week around how we can envision this. If you have a glass that has soap in the bottom and you run water in I t, let the glass fill up and then overflow, eventually their will be no more soap left, just water. Well that is how we can picture Mary – there is so much grace overflowing there is not any room for sin. The story of our Blessed Mother truly is amazing from just how young she was to her total consecration to God’s plan – and all the little details that have solidified her dedication to us as her children. But this year I have been focused on her start… the beginning of this life: her mother Anne’s story.
Did you know that Mary was a baby that followed a painful journey of infertility? Did you know that her parents were older and her conception a bit of a surprise? Did you know that Anne struggled so greatly with this part of her journey, she ultimately had to repent of her emotions toward God and so made a promise that any future kids would be dedicated to him? Did you know Anne did dedicate Mary at a very young age?
In honor of this start, Catholics attended mass for the holy day and although it is in honor of Mary’s conception, we read in the Gospel the story of Jesus’ conception. One of my all time favorite lines is shared with us all “for nothing is impossible with God” and yet I had no idea that this same line was part of Mary’s own start to life. She was a product of what seemed impossible… she is a answer to prayers given to God… screamed at God… maybe even tears shed in serious pain or anger toward God’s plan. God shows us over and over again how He does his greatest work in the places of impossible. In the areas of life we feel he may have abandoned us. And Mary had the unique ability, due to her sinless nature, to accept her journey. But she was born from a situation where acceptances was sometimes missing … and in fact desperation, pain and confusion led to the need for repentance. And still God used that story to bring forth the savior of the world.
Is it possible that our own lives of broken… limited… loss.. confusion … are indications we are on the path God designed for us? And yet in that possibility, is it true that we do not see it that way? So much so we need to take stock of our head, heart, soul and reorient ourselves to God? It is possible to do that? It is possible to accept your life, then suffer under the weight of it, then cry out and ultimately return to obedience? It is.. and we know that reorientation can be the stepping stone to gets us so close to God, he is visibly present in our life. As always these stories of Mary’s arrival and then Jesus remind us: have faith, keep going, broken isn’t the end. But there is also a very important approach to this faith journey: trust… it’s humility. We must not just push the desire for answers, control, a change in circumstances away… we must at the same time make ourselves humble enough to participate in God’s plan. Saying we are wrong isn’t about choosing endless trust and joy no matter what… it is denying ourselves so we can fully embrace Him.
This advent season and this holy day the messages we often reflect on of joy, trust, hope, love are absolutely still present and necessary. But I invite you to consider the less popular one of humility. Anne had to humble herself and return to God with remorse so she could deny herself the amount necessary to embrace him. Mary had to humble herself to say yes to God and know it was not going to be easy, but was the right choice. And Jesus, King of all Kings, had to humble himself to come to earth as a helpless baby. Let us add true humility and act on it this Christmas, then we can truly embrace our role in the story God is still writing today.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!