The feast of the Immaculate Conception demonstrates God’s relentless intent to unite Himself with humanity. But whose conception are we commemorating on December 8?
Is it Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary or is it Mary’s conception in the womb of St. Anne?
We invite you to meditate on the astonishing gift of the Immaculate Conception as you listen to our recording of “Mother of Fair Love” on our digital album of the same title.
The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25 each year. This is when the Angel Gabriel visited Mary in Nazareth and announced to her God’s invitation to become the mother of Jesus through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s word of acceptance is the moment the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Luke 1:26). It was the moment Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb.
Jesus’ conception at the Annunciation was made possible by the Immaculate Conception of Mary, celebrated December 8. Mary was kept sinless by God from the first moment of her conception in the womb of St. Anne. She was untouched by Original Sin.
How can this be? In His masterful foreknowledge, God applied the merits of Christ’s Redemption to Mary, His mother-to-be, before the Incarnation and Redemption took place in time. She was the first to be redeemed!
Why? God’s plan was for his Son to truly become man in the womb of a mother, to be born of a woman, to live and suffer, and to die as a holocaust of love for sinful mankind, thereby opening the gates of Heaven to them. How could the Holy of Holies dwell as a Child in the womb of a tainted vessel? Mary was the chosen vessel and God prepared her beforehand for her unique role through the Immaculate Conception.
The gift of sinlessness allowed Mary to be brought into a tremendous union with Jesus. Her union is a sign to us; it beckons us onward to dare for union with God ourselves. We can see in her life God’s will to stop at nothing to draw us into making our own free “yes” to Him.
In the song, “Mother of Fair Love” the opening lyrics are a dialogue between Mary and Jesus: “Jesu,” she says to Him and He responds: “Mater Maria.” Then comes a description of their union of hearts so close as to make them practically inseparable. So inseparable, in fact, as to deem Mary’s role critical in God’s plan of Redemption:
|Mary can never be mistaken for the Bridegroom, the King, or the Diamond. She joyfully accepts the position of receptive vessel. But Mary’s humble yet exalted role of receptivity is not for her alone. God deigns for us to take Mary as our model and mother, that we too may be vessels wherein God’s gaze rests contentedly.|