Waiting for the Immaculata
“Venerable Fulton Sheen, delving deeper into the words of God’s messenger to Mary, explains to us that Saint Gabriel the Archangel is more profoundly asking, ‘In the name of God will you give to God a man; will you give to God this new note out of humanity with which He can write a new symphony?’ She received an immense gift but in her mind also must have been the understanding that God wanted something from her. She responded most generously; she gave her love to Him, and she gave God His humanity.” (Fr. Paul Check, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe)
This week we celebrate the special qualities that bring Mary the title of the Immaculate Conception. Since the time of Elijah and Elisha, men lived on Mount Carmel awaiting the birth of the virgin who would then give birth to the Messiah. Thinking about this, I found myself asking: have I been waiting in eagerness for Mary to bring Jesus into my life?
As I reflected upon the kind of person who would be chosen to give birth to God, I wondered, who would this Son of God look like? The shape and structure of my legs and feet come from my mom but my hair and facial features are from my dad’s side of the family. Jesus’ looks, hair color, skin tone, even height would all come from Mary as would His anatomical, physiological, and biological makeup.
The Son of God became man to reveal the Father to us. He puts a face on God so-to-speak. But He also reveals His mother to us.
What kind of person would be chosen to raise God? To raise a Son who is not only sinless but who would have no propensity to vice, that mother too must be sinless without inclination to vice. The concupiscence passed down in human nature would need to be removed at the moment of her conception. A perfected nature begets a perfect nature.
Mary was not only the seat of wisdom, containing the pre-born Jesus in her womb, and full of grace. She was most blessed of all women, even over Eve who was created sinless (created prior to sin entering the world). Although blessed with perfection, this mother-to-be would still need to learn and grow so as to live out her innate wisdom. Jesus is the personification of wisdom. His Divine wisdom filled His human intellect. But He still needed to learn to apply that wisdom, to live it out. So Jesus, Wisdom itself, learned wisdom from Mary. This would require Mary to have holy parents that also are given sufficient grace to lead and form her in virtue. Joachim and Ann would be Mary’s role models for how she would one day raise her own child.
So what kind of person would be chosen to be Mother of God? A person so close to the heart of God that she always and only sees as He sees. Her understanding of God and the world, her choices to be made and actions to be taken, even her very speech would both come out of and carry the love of God. There would be no filters like that which we suffer: panic, anxiety, depression, and the like. When Mary lost Jesus in the temple, she suffered a perfect anxiousness which is other-centered towards God and Son; it was an anxiousness of emotion properly ordered. For us, anxiety is the manifestation of a deeper wound and ordered towards us even though we may be calling upon God for help.
The mother of this God-to-be-born needed a perfect soul both to house God’s love and to be love to others. Her purity and perfect integrity would cause her to perfectly experience the fullness of joy, peace, light heartedness, sobriety, and sorrow. Anger and fear would be ordered toward her reasoning and wisdom. Only when we are perfected and in the face of God in Heaven will we be able to understand the depth of these ourselves.
We are starting the second week of Advent but still have a few weeks to await the birth of the Christ child. This gives us time to be with Mary as she too awaits His nativity. Let’s not waste a moment. Mary truly is our remedy for the world today and the model for us to live Godly lives in a real sense. Like the poor widow who offered her only coins (Luke 21:4), Mary too offered her own livelihood to God. The extent to which we do as well is the extent to which we will have room in our hearts to receive this Babe, her Son.
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, filled with love for all thy children upon earth, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Show to our Heavenly Father the wound in the Heart of Thy Son and, at the same time, offer again the sword that pierced thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, as thou suffered by compassion with thy Divine Son for the redemption of the world. By thy intercession, through the merits of Jesus Christ, bring us to salvation. Amen.
(From the Litany to the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊
(Image by Artemisia Gentileschi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
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