Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lk 1:26-38 The Immaculate

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2014
(Click here for readings)


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.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.
Then the angel departed from her.

One of the wisest things we could ever do for our faith is to model our thoughts and actions after the Mother of God. It really is very logical: if we want to live our lives fighting our own tendency to sin (that is, to not will the will of God in our lives), what better example do we have than the only woman who was not God but still born sinless?

But first, I digress a little. It is very fitting that this feast occurs in the season of Advent because the conception of Mary begins our expectation of the coming of the Messiah. Although the people were unaware that Mary would become the mother of God, in hindsight, this was the first tangible, physical sign that the Messiah was coming soon. Mary said to St. Bridget regarding her Immaculate Conception: “A golden hour was my conception, for then began the principle of the salvation of all, and darkness hastened to light. God wished to do in His work something singular and hidden from the world, as He did in the dry rod blooming.”

But back to the main point: how does Mary show an example of how we should act as Christians in this Gospel? There are many different examples.

“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” One of the biggest misconceptions about the Catholic faith among the public is that it is a blind faith. Sometimes, we are made to believe that we should not ask questions. But questions are good! Even Mary questioned the angel andpondered his peculiar greeting. In our faith, there are a lot of things that defy our human understanding; therefore, it is only natural to question what we are taught, all the while exceptingthe explanations with eyes of faith. Maybe one of you can help me out, because I have forgotten which saint originally wrote about this, but it is what is called “faith seeking understanding.” The opposite, “understanding seeking faith,” is very dangerous—this is what I fall into most often. In our society, being “rational” or “scientific” is prized as the best way to think about things. However, if we look the seemingly “unscientific” teachings of our Church with eyes of faith first, understanding will follow—an understanding truer than anything this world can offer.

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Father Alfonse recently said in a blog post that he never expected to be a priest. It is true—no matter how much we may plan for our own lives, our plans will pale in comparison with what God has planned for us if we would only seek to follow His will alone. Mary knew from a very young age that her life would be dedicated to God in some way. Right before this whole being-the-Mother-of-God thing went down, Mary had left her place as a woman dedicated to the temple in order to be betrothed to Joseph. Mary had expected to live her whole life in prayer. Then, she was thrown a curveball—marriage? And then on top of that—being the Mother of God!?!?!? Talk about unexpected. Even Mary had to learn to bend with grace. However, even though she had her own expectations, she had no will besides that of the Father. She was willing to go wherever He called her regardless of her own feelings on the subject. Would we be so willing to bend our expectations if the Lord so called us?

“…for nothing will be impossible for God” Mary was a woman who truly believed this. In today’s world, we are taught to be self-sufficient. If a life decision is not “rational,” we are told not to make it. But God did the unexpected. God did the irrational. Mary knew that even if she did not understand the workings of God, God’s way was always the best and was always possible. Let us pray that we will be more open to the will of God in our lives in the future, just like Mary, our example.

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