Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reflection for the 2nd Week in Advent, Part 2

Thursday – The Immaculate Conception

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we see God putting the final stages of His salvific plan into motion.

The Savior was on His way. It wouldn't be long before God would become Man, an incarnate human being yet still fully divine. He may perhaps have just arrived on the scene as a full grown adult, but He didn't choose to do so. Instead, He decided to arrive as an infant, and for that He needed a mother.

It was only fitting that this mother should be special, the perfect vessel to carry the most perfect Person, and indeed, she is. Mary was conceived without original sin, without the deficiency that the rest of us have from the very moment our existence begins. From the instant Mary began to live at her conception, God's presence dwelt within her. What we receive (ordinarily) at Baptism, Mary never lacked.

What's more, Mary never once committed a sin. Her will was always perfectly aligned to the will of God. She never wavered. She never turned her back and walked her own way. Her entire focus was always on God.

She didn't do this by herself, of course. God gave her the grace, both sanctifying and actual, to begin and remain sinless. Her immaculate nature is just as much a gift as our redeemed nature. She was perfectly prepared to be the mother of God and perfectly preserved to accept and fulfill that role.

This is what we celebrate today. Mother Mary, pray for us. Amen.

Friday – Never Satisfied

People are never satisfied. Jesus observes this in today's Gospel. When His fellow Jews had a chance to be happy, they didn't take it. They wanted to mourn instead. When they had a chance to mourn, they wanted to celebrate instead. When they saw John the Baptist fasting, they criticized him harshly. When they saw Jesus eating and drinking, they criticized Him, too, just as harshly.

What did they want? They clearly didn't know.

We can ask ourselves the same question: What do we want? And when we receive what we think we want, are we satisfied or do we just want something else instead? When God gives us what we really need, do we accept it with gratitude or do we whine and complain?

Dear Lord, calm our restless hearts. Give us the wisdom to know what we really need and the grace to accept it from Your hands with thankful hearts even when it is difficult and painful. Amen.

Saturday – New Life

Lord, give us new life. Help us live for You and conform our wills to Your perfect will. Help us live in faith, hope, and love. Help us trust You and accept all things from Your hands with grateful hearts, for You know exactly what we need exactly when we need it. And when the time comes for us to leave this life, Lord, bring us safely home into eternal life where we will live more abundantly than ever, face to face with You. Amen.

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