Our dearest, Blessed Mother, was born to her Joachim and Ann, about 15 years before she gave birth to Jesus. Mary's conception in the womb of her mother was said to be an Immaculate Conception because Mary was not tainted with original sin. She was conceived by normal biological birth, but without the corruption of original sin. This teaching is consistent with the Assumption of Mary who was assumed into heaven at the completion of her life without the corruption of her body from decay.
The Immaculate Conception has been held since early time but was only formally recognized by the church in 1854. We hear the words. “full of grace.” We hear the words of the angel Gabriel saying “ Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Mary is the only one in scripture who was called “full of grace.”
Even though Mary was born without original sin, she still had free will. The angel Gabriel waited for her answer after the angel told her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Mary, our model of faith, is an example of a pure, holy woman. She gave her consent before God saying,
“ Be it done unto me according to your will.” Mary was redeemed by Christ. She carried her own savior. She is the mother of Jesus, and is the mother of God because Jesus is God. Through Mary's consent, Jesus was able to be formed in the womb just like we were. Jesus is fully God and is fully human.
In Mary, we have the complete example of humanity- an example of the purity, of a good holy woman, who expected a room in the inn but ended up in a stable. She is the perfect example of a disciple. She was with Christ all of her life intimately knowing Jesus. Mary is the first disciple and the first to have a personal relationship with Jesus. When Jesus was 2 years old, Herod wanted to kill all of the children, because he feared that Jesus was to be the newborn “King of the Jews.” Herod was known as the king of the Jews because he was Procurator of Jerusalem. Mary lived in fear that Jesus would be killed. She humbly followed Joseph’s direction as they fled to Egypt.
Yet despite all of the trials, Mary remained a woman who rejoiced in the Lord. She rejoiced in the greatness of the Lord, and she knew that all generations would call her blessed, as we do today. We declare her to be our Blessed Mother. Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord all her life.
Mary is the example for all of us, but particularly for young women today who seek to find a hero. There have been many courageous women throughout the course of history, but none more courageous than Mary. She followed Jesus throughout his life and was there with him at the foot of the cross. She followed him after the resurrection and was there with the apostles when Jesus appeared. Mary was satisfied with her role as a mother and as a disciple. She never sought to be anything else. Her being full of grace meant that she was fully satisfied with the love of God. She was able to completely surrender herself to the Holy Spirit.
Today, as our society faces corruption and impurity, we are reminded that Mary is the example of purity. This dear, humble young woman rejoiced in her sacrifice to God. She dedicated her life to raising Jesus, to watching him grow up, to teach Him, and to be his disciple. She is both a mother and a disciple of Jesus.
On this day that we honor the second Eve, the one who was able to completely Say “Yes” to God. We are inspired and continue to ask for her intercession. Just as she noticed at the Wedding Feast of Cana that the hosts were out of wine, she is able to anticipate our needs, and intercede for us when our lives seek the miracles of Jesus.
Mary is with us now and promises to be with us at the hour of our death.