Wednesday, December 8, 010

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Genesis 3:9-15.20; Ephesians 1:3-6.11-12; Luke 1:26-38)

The United States has the same Immaculate Virgin Mary for its patron as does Nicaragua in Central America. However, the mighty nation does not approach the much smaller country in the magnitude of celebration for her feast day. The night of December 7 in Nicaragua can be compared only to Christmas Eve. People gather with their families in their homes eating and rejoicing. Inevitably the cry rings out, “Why such jubilation? The reason is Mary’s Immaculate Conception.”

Especially the poor, who are legion in Nicaragua, revel because they easily identify with the humble virgin. They sense that God cares about them because He has exalted this possibly lower class, in any case underappreciated person with an honor unparalleled except in the case of His only-begotten Son. But every human should feel the excitement because each of us carried flesh bound for oblivion but now with hope of everlasting life since Mary’s Immaculate Conception anticipates Jesus’ rising from the dead with new life for his followers.

The Immaculate Conception means that Mary was never stained by original sin. This great dispensation did not make life easy for her, only virtuous. The same grace that impelled her to goodness works within us who have been washed in the waters of Baptism. As we celebrate her feast, we should resolve to imitate her virtue.