First of all, happy feast day to IHMs and anyone who celebrates this day in a special way….
I was pondering why this has always been a feast I have difficulty connecting with at the heart level… For part of my youth, and perhaps even part of my early adult life, I was confused about the basic tenet of this doctrine. Somehow, I think I interpreted “conceived without sin” to mean conceived without the sexual union of her parents, Anne and Joachim.
I think another stumbling block for me was the way I interpreted the exhortation for women to look to Mary as a role model. It probably was not helpful for me to focus on the virgin AND mother aspect – this seemed to me to create an impossible situation for women. Now I find that praying with the Magnificat allows me to connect with Mary as prophet and revolutionary – something quite different than the passive vessel symbolism that comes out of Western dualistic thinking.
In my prayer this morning, I found myself reflecting on how God, whether or not I am intentional about recognizing it as it is happening, always seems to prepare me for whatever is coming next in my life. It seems to me that this is what God did for Mary to prepare her to receive the angel’s message and say yes to giving birth to Jesus. Perhaps not a very profound reflection on this feast, but it helps me to connect it a little better with my own experience of how God works in my life…
What do you think? Any reflections of your own you’d like to offer?