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Opinion

What Mary’s Immaculate Conception reminds us of

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

THE Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary reminds us of a most basic and heartwarming truth about ourselves. It reminds us that like Mary, we are actually meant to be sinless. That was the original design of God for man, as experienced by our first parents, Adam and Eve, until it was damaged by their fall as well as ours.

This solemnity also reminds us of the ultimate design God has for us in our definitive state of life in heaven after going through the redemptive work of Christ and meriting its effects. Thus, in the eucharistic preface of this solemnity, we are made to say:

“You (God) allowed no stain of Adam's sin to touch the Virgin Mary. Full of grace, she was to be a worthy mother of Your Son, Your sign of favour to the Church at its beginning, and the promise of its perfection as the bride of Christ, radiant in beauty.”

Of course, in our earthly life, we do not enjoy such status yet. We all sin, no matter what we do! And yet, in spite of that fact of life, we just have to do our part, always with God’s grace, to rid ourselves of sin until we attain that state of sinlessness, of purity of heart, as is proper of our dignity as children of God, image and likeness of his, sharers of his divine life and nature.

This Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary should make us feel urged to persevere in our struggle to attain that state of sinlessness, which is another way of saying that we are meant to pursue our total identification with Christ, the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity.

It is not supposed to make us feel privileged and entitled. Quite the contrary. It is supposed to demand everything from us, so that we can merit the effects of Christ’s redemptive work.

This is what sanctification is all about, the lifelong process of seeking holiness which can only be carried out if we channel the very love of God, as shown, taught and shared to us by Christ, in our life.

That love has its own brand of sweetness. It offers us a sense of peace, of the kind that the world cannot give and that only God can give (cfr. Jn 14,27) But it definitely would demand from us a lot of effort and sacrifice. Given our human condition here on earth, it is a love that would require us to wage a lifelong struggle against our weaknesses, temptations and sin.

We should be relentless in this struggle. We should try our best to be with God always, rectifying ourselves as quickly and as often as necessary whenever we stray from him, which is actually quite often in this life.

We need to do everything to be with God. Our mind and heart should be fully and constantly engaged with him. We always have reason to do so—at least, we can thank him for what we are having at the moment: health, food, air, work, etc.

What can help us in this is the effort to get involved in the lives of the others, helping them in any way we can, because that would be a clear way of being and of serving God.

This is the way toward the ideal of becoming immaculate like our Mother Mary, as God wants us to be.

BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AND SAINT JOSEPH

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