“There is a reason Mary is everywhere. I’ve seen her image all over the world, in cafes in Istanbul, on students’ backpacks in Scotland, in a market stall in Jakarta, but I don’t think her image is everywhere because she is a reminder to be obedient, and I don’t think it has to do with social revolution. Images of Mary remind us of God’s favor. Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are.” ~ Nadia Bolz-Weber
To me, Mary is proof of God’s love for us and the fact that God does, indeed, have a plan for us. In the sordid history of humanity, we at one time lived in peace with God. But, we turned our backs on God and original sin entered the world. When it did, we became mortal and corruptible. We would suffer in this life and, when our life ended, we would decompose and return to the dust from which we came. The very shells that hold our souls had become tainted.
This was not what God wanted. We hear that, after original sin entered the world, God promised to send a Savior to deliver us from sin and death. We await the celebration of that moment at Christmas. However, to get to that moment, God planned.
A part of God’s plan was for a virgin to bear His Son into the world. If God was going to take on our own human flesh, it would be from a spotless vessel. In order for that to be possible, God prevented the stain of original sin from touching the Blessed Virgin Mary at the very first moment of her conception. She would be born stainless. She was still fully human and she still had free will. She could have said “no” to the Angel Gabriel years later when he asked her to become the mother of Jesus.
That moment, when she was preserved from the stain of original sin, is referred to as the Immaculate Conception, the Solemnity that we celebrate today. It set the stage for what we will celebrate in another few weeks: the birth of Jesus. It also reminds us that God does love us – incredibly – and that God has a plan for all of us. God does not desire to leave anyone behind and He goes to great lengths to remind us of His love.
Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are. She was humble and obedient. She was loving and protective. She continuously, both while here on earth as well as in apparitions at Lourdes, Fatima, and other places, gave the same message, a message that God delivered from the clouds at the Transfiguration: this is my Son, listen to Him. Always pointing the way to Jesus, Mary indicates the path to eternal life. By what we do and what we say, may we point to Jesus as well.
FAITH ACTION: Thank God for creating you the way you are and ask Him to give you a deeper understanding of His great love for you.