Dec 9, 2013

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Advent perfection

Today's Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Mary's preparation to be the Mother of the Savior, is the perfect Advent event. As she was prepared in the womb of her mother, conceived without the stain (inherited weakness of original sin), so too must we prepare to make straight the way for the Lord. Mary's role was indeed unique, "blessed among all women," and ours is different.  But in this season of expectation to welcome the Lord, we can take a cue from Mary herself.  Her embrace of God's will is a lesson to all of us who genuinely seek holiness. 
Luke 1: 26 - 38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son,
grant, we pray,
that, as you preserved her from every stain
by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw
so, through her intercession,
we too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.
(Collect for Solemnity)