Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Immaculate Conception

8th Dec 2021 

The Immaculate Conception

Gospel - Luke 1:26-38            

 'I am the handmaid of the Lord'

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, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called 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.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

 Today, I share with you commentary I got from the Opus Dei website: 

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church’s liturgy invites us to meditate on the moving scene of the Annunciation. Saint Josemaria liked to enter into it, as with all the Gospel scenes, as another person present there: “Don’t forget, my friend, that we are children. The Lady of the sweet name, Mary, is withdrawn in prayer. You, in that house, are whatever you want to be: a friend, a servant, an onlooker, a neighbour... —I, at this moment, don’t dare to be anything. I hide behind you; full of awe, I contemplate the scene…” St Josemaria

In the original Greek, the angel Gabriel addresses Mary with the words: Jaire, kejaritoméne! The term jaire, although often translated as “hail,” is a greeting whose literal meaning is “rejoice.” For whenever God is close, a serene joy fills the soul. “The word reappears during the Holy Night,” Benedict XVI points out, “on the lips of the angel who says to the shepherds: ‘I bring you good news of a great joy’ (Lk 2:10). It appears again—in John’s Gospel—at the encounter with the risen Lord: ‘The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord’ (20:20). Jesus’ farewell discourses in Saint John’s Gospel present a theology of joy, which as it were illuminates the depth of this word. ‘I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you’ (16:22).” Pope Benedict

The word jaire is related in Greek to jaris, which means grace. The term kejaritoméne, often translated as “full of grace,” means literally that Mary “has been abundantly the object of grace.” God has chosen Mary to be the Mother of his Son made man, and therefore, in light of Christ’s merits, she has been preserved from original sin from the moment of her own conception.

Mary will conceive her Son virginally, without the help of a man, by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35). During the wandering of the people of God through the desert in search of the promised land, the presence of the Lord was revealed though a cloud covering the sanctuary; now it is the Holy Spirit who will cover with his shadow the Sanctuary of God’s presence that is Mary’s holy womb.

Mary, simply by saying “yes,” becomes the Mother of the Son of God made man. Benedict XVI remarked: “the Church Fathers sometimes expressed this by saying that Mary conceived through her ear—that is to say, through her hearing. Through her obedience, the Word entered into her and became fruitful in her.” Pope Benedict

“The mystery of the Immaculate Conception is a source of inner light, hope and comfort. Amidst the trials of life, both interior and exterior, Mary, Mother of Christ, tells us that Grace is greater than sin, that God’s mercy is more powerful than evil and able to transform it into good … This woman, the Virgin Mary, benefited in advance from the redeeming death of her Son and was preserved from the contagion of sin from the moment of her conception. Therefore, with her Immaculate Heart, she tells us: entrust yourselves to Jesus, He will save you.” Pope Benedict

At Lourdes Our mother told Bernadette " I am the Immaculate Conception

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