Advent Companions: Mary, the Immaculate Conception
"I am the Immaculate Conception." -- Our Lady to St. Bernadette Soubirous
Mary was conceived without sin, and she never committed any sins. She was as perfect as a human being can be. Does she perhaps sound boring? Despite what the world may tell us, sin is not what makes more interesting, more intriguing, more human. Mary was not a static, boring person. You can see this from what she has to say in the Gospel of Luke, the text we call the Magnificat:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For He has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones, but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant, remembering His mercy,
according to His promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (Luke 1:46b-55)
These are the words of a woman who means business! God has chosen her, and she thanks and proclaims the greatness of God for what He has done, for her and for all people. Mary is infinitely interesting because she is so closely united with God.
The Magnificat is a powerful song that overturns our conceptions of how the world is, reminding us that God will put things right in His own time and in His own way. Mary is a good companion at all seasons of the year, but especially during Advent when we celebrate two of her feasts (the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe) because she reminds us that we are also called to help effect positive change in our world, through listening to the Word of God and acting on it. God speaks to us constantly--through Mary, and through many other means. Are we listening?