A Message from Father William

In the midst of our Advent journey this week, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8 – this year, it’s on a Thursday during Advent and is a holy day of obligation. Masses will be offered at Saint Clement Parish on Wednesday, December 7, at 7 p.m., and Thursday, December 8, at 8:15 a.m. and 7 p.m.

By God’s grace, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was born immaculate, conceived without original sin and remained sinless all the days of her life. In this way, God prepared Mary to conceive of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to Jesus. The following is a reflection on the Annunciation to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Luke 1:26-38 (with help from Father Romanus Cessario, OP):

When Gabriel greets Mary, the whole world changes. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). Each and every human person is caught up in the mystery that comes to life in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary – this happens when we experience “the grace of adoption” in baptism, when we are called children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ.

The mystery begins when the Word becomes man in the immaculate womb of a virgin whose name is Mary. Thenceforth Mary occupies a privileged place in the life of Christians. Her womb is the world’s first tabernacle, as she carried God the Son, our Savior, for nine months. In the womb of Mary, we are molded into the image of Jesus Christ. We receive God’s favor. To live without God’s favor would leave us sterile and alone – a frightening prospect. There is never cause for discouragement, however. God made Mary immaculate to protect us from the vicious blackmail of the devil whose voice, like the serpent in the garden, whispers, “You’ll never change. You’ll always be alone.” Only God can change man’s original plight. And He did, as Jesus rescued us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection, and Ascension, and He tells us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). To announce this great reversal, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit made Mary immaculate from the first moment of her conception. Jesus Christ gave to His mother Mary the graces of His Passion, Death and Resurrection ahead of time. He could do that. He’s God. What happened to Mary in an instant happens to us over time, by God’s grace. May we find consolation in her Immaculate Conception – for Mary is a mother like none other, the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and therefore our spiritual mother. She is the first and perfect disciple of Jesus Christ. Like every good mom, she encourages us and always prays for us to grow in the virtues of faith, hope and love. In her maternal mediation, Mary Immaculate wants us to trust in and be holy companions of her Son, Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world. May we be such trusting and holy disciples, bearing the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity evermore intently this Advent.

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William