I like to think that the season of Advent is the season of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are so many ways that we can emulate her virtues and look to her role in God’s work of salvation. When Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, Mary exemplified humility and trust in God. She called herself the handmaid of the Lord, referring to her humble willingness to serve the Lord in all things. She trusted wholeheartedly in the Lord even though there would come trials and tribulations in saying yes. Through her ‘YES’ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, she became the God bearer and carried Christ within her womb. In a sense, she became the first tabernacle, carrying the very presence of Christ within her. So, Mary teaches us about the Eucharistic life in a tangible and real way.
This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Remember that this is a Holy Day of Obligation! Check the bulletin for Mass times. This solemnity holds special importance within our Catholic faith and also our country, because the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States of America. When we honor Mary as the Immaculate Conception, we remember how God had preserved Mary from sin from the very moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. This was a singular and unique grace given to Mary and no other, so that the Son of God could enter into this world through the purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Not only was this necessary so that Jesus could become incarnate, but also so that we could have Mary as a pure, inviolate and spiritual mother. Sometimes, we can have the fear that when we are giving attention to Mary then that detracts from prayer that should be directed towards Jesus. However, all the prayer that we have for the Blessed Mother, she gives directly to her son Jesus, and her goal is to bring us closer to Jesus.
What a beautiful gift we have in our Blessed Mother Mary!
During this Advent season, let us take the opportunity to look to the Blessed Mother as an example and spiritual guide. Every single time we come to receive Christ in the Eucharist we become living tabernacles carrying Christ within us. We also have the confidence to approach Mary as our spiritual mother, bringing to her our needs and prayers.