“Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing”. Why do we sing your praises, O Blessed Virgin Mary? Because God chose you for a special purpose and you lived your life for that meaning and purpose and if we all stop and think about it: we are Eternally Grateful that you did. For the life we give thanks for each day as Christians is one we have because you brought the Saviour of the World into the world.
That is something we are truly mindful of during Advent when we prepare to welcome your Son, our Lord more deeply into our hearts and souls, just as He was welcomed by the faithful into the world more than 2,000 years ago. Each year, we give glory and praise to God for so many, but Blessed Mother, we thank you most especially for your “yes” to God.
Even before that “yes”, God who knew Our Lady’s heart and soul prepared her for her life with the special gift of her own Immaculate Conception. Sometimes these special moments of God’s involvement in the lives of His loved ones go amiss. Many people don’t stop to really reflect on what the meaning of Mary’s Immaculate Conception might have to do with them. Mary being born without Original Sin isn’t something to pass over unreflected. She may have been given this very special grace as a special servant of the Lord to help “re-create” humanity, but whether with Original Sin or not, Mary had choices, the same choices we have in our lives. She could have sinned, but did not. In our first reading, we hear of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve too was conceived and was without Original Sin. In fact, it was God’s desire everyone be without it. Eve (and Adam) made choices that impacted everyone us. So too did Mary (and her Son our Lord) make choices that impact us all! And here we are: that through their lives and the Divine Gift of their lives: we are and can be redeemed, that we can be without Original Sin too. We may not be immaculately conceived, but because of Our Lord and Our Lady, we can be without that Original Sin and restored in that grace every time we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And hence, we can spend our lives being reconciled and redeemed and get on with living as God calls us to as well.
Mary’s life was not determined for her, as though she did not have choices. God who knew her future as He knows ours, gave her this gift because He also knew this blessed woman would come to know and love Him more than anything else and would choose day by day to respond to that love, embody it and share it with everyone. Simple as she was, she lived according to the meaning and purpose of her life as we are called to live ours.
There are skeptics out there about just how or why Our Lady was Immaculately Conceived, about whether or not she had total and complete freedom to say yes or no to what was in store for her in this life: but I am not one of them. I have a very human view of Our Lady: she is not a Divine Person, but a human one! She is a model for me in so many ways having managed to get as close to the Lord our God as any one person on this earth ever could. She was chosen, but so are we!
Mary, our Mother is also the Mother of Vocations; because she is the greatest example of anyone living for the meaning and for the purpose God gave her and in doing so, without power or might changed the world forever. When I stop and think about it: so too has God created you and I with a meaning and purpose. He has called us to live for Him, love Him and embody that love and give it away for the world. We may not have been immaculately conceived, but that’s also because we are not given Mary’s vocation, we are given ours. We have been given the grace to do that. We are equipped for whatever we are called to do for the Lord and like Our Lady, need to be generous in doing it and joyous in praising God for what He has called us to do.