Saturday, December 23, 2006

And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Luke 1:28
There is no Advent without Blessed Virgin. She gave us Messiah, the long expected Saviour. Liturgical Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas, is only a symbol of true Advent - which lasted thousands of years of expectation for the Saviour's coming. The world was submerged in spiritual darkness, and there she was, shining star with no blemish. Can we realise how different Mary is from the rest of us? - we are all smeared with the stain of original sin as the Holy Scriptures say: For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. Ps 50:7 Blessed Virgin who was chosen to bear the Son of the Most High was the only one free of original and actual sin or imperfection through her whole life. That is why, the heavenly messenger salutes her: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee - for where the Lord dwells there is no place for Satan: - blessed are thy amongs women which means Mary is above the rest of us - full of sin, imperfections and faults. It would be foolish, however, to think that she did not make any efforts and all was smooth and easy for her. In reality Mary was very keen in practising her virtues. She received Anuntiation news with greatest humility and obedience. How great was her faith and trust in God in many trials of her life - she was steadfast in Betlehem, Egypt, Nazareth. She was full of charity towards Elisabeth and in Cana. She was very patient in her suffering. Truly we can think of her while reading these words in Holy Scriptures: Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all Prov 31:29. Let us turn to Immaculata when we need help in our efforts to practice virtue and achieve Christian perfection. Let us often meditate upon the mystery of Immaculate Conception, particularly on Saturdays. On this day consecrated by the Church to Our Lady, we can say some special prayer in her honour, make sacrifice, participate in Mass or visit her image and adorn it with some flowers and candles. In joy let us pray to Immaculate Mother of God: Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee. Judith 13:31