Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Immaculate Conception and the "Grandeur of God's Love"

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. 

We have begun the days of the "Marian Fiesta" that are very special (and particularly important) to all the peoples of the Americas. Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother, has demonstrated a concrete and enduring solicitude for this hemisphere. 

We must have confidence in her promises, and entrust ourselves to her tender love and unique maternal intercession with her Divine Son. 

We must bring to her the many intractable problems and overwhelming spiritual and physical sufferings we endure in various ways, some of which remain shockingly evident while others are hidden behind disingenuous facades - superficial pretences of human satisfaction that hide our tremendous loneliness and disconnection from reality. All of us sinners — forgetful of our God-who-is-Love and who is worthy of all our love, adoration, and gratitude; perpetrators of so much deeply-rooted violence against one another and ourselves; and victims of that violence that seeks to desecrate the "image of God" that is each one of us, and that should shine through the experience of being loved and loving our brothers and sisters in communion with Jesus and by the gift of his Spirit — all of us need to seek the gifts of healing and forgiveness that the Mother of God can obtain for us as she brings us closer to Jesus her Son and our brother.

As Pope Francis stresses in the remarks below, Mary's grace-filled, all-holy life is a sign that God's love and mercy are greater than sin. She is a sign of hope for us all:

"The feast of the Immaculate Conception expresses the grandeur of God’s love. Not only does he forgive sin, but in Mary he even averts the original sin present in every man and woman who comes into this world. This is the love of God which precedes, anticipates and saves. The beginning of the history of sin in the Garden of Eden yields to a plan of saving love.

"The words of Genesis [about original sin] reflect our own daily experience: we are constantly tempted to disobedience, a disobedience expressed in wanting to go about our lives without regard for God’s will. This is the enmity which keeps striking at people’s lives, setting them in opposition to God’s plan. Yet the history of sin can only be understood in the light of God’s love and forgiveness. Sin can only be understood in this light. Were sin the only thing that mattered, we would be the most desperate of creatures. But the promised triumph of Christ’s love enfolds everything in the Father’s mercy. The word of God...leaves no doubt about this. The Immaculate Virgin stands before us as a privileged witness of this promise and its fulfilment

~Pope Francis