On December 8th, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day set aside to commemorate the fact that Our Blessed Mother was conceived without original sin. While it is a truly magnificent occurrence and totally fitting for the woman chosen to be the Mother of God, we sometimes overlook something else about Mary – her trust in God and desire to conform to His will.
In the gospel from the Mass for the Immaculate Conception (Lk 1:26-38), we hear the familiar story of the Annunciation:
…Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Placing myself in her position (obviously not about being a mother, but with some other things in my life that seem “impossible”), it’s at this point that I would say, “I’m sorry, Lord, but I need more details. This plan just doesn’t make sense!” Mary’s response?
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
No questions…no asking for more information…no “Can I get back to you”? Instead, Mary said “yes” without knowing the details. And before anyone says that she did ask a question (about not having any relations with a man), many Catholic theologians are of the opinion that Mary made a vow of virginity even though she planned to be married. She wasn’t omniscient and didn’t know how this would affect that vow. Furthermore, the angel’s answer is hardly anything that clarifies the plan!
Do I trust God like that? NO WAY! However, that’s the kind of faith that I want. It’s the kind of faith you’d probably want too. We can turn to her and ask for her intercession, that we too may learn to trust God more, even when it doesn’t make sense.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.