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Word of the Day

GIFT

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Did you know that many people misunderstand the meaning of this holy day?

Mary the Mother of God, model for Saint Francis

Hail, O Lady,

holy Queen,

Mary, holy Mother of God

who are the virgin made church

and who are the one chosen by the most holy Father in heaven

Whom He consecrated

with His most holy beloved Son

and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,

and in whom there has been and is

all the fullness of grace and every good.

Hail, His Palace!

Hail, His Tabernacle!

Hail, His Home!

Hail, His Robe!

Hail His Handmaid!

Hail, His Mother!

And all you holy virtues, who

through the grace and brilliance of the Holy Spirit

have been poured into the hearts of the faithful,

so that from their faithless state you make them faithful to God.

This simple prayer of St. Francis forms a tapestry into which he weaves many themes of devotion to the Mother of God. The three major parts of this Marian prayer – Mary’s place in God’s plan, her titles, and her fullness of virtue form a beautiful portrait of Mary, the Mother of Church.

St. Francis modeled his life on that of the Blessed Virgin, Mary, the woman chosen by God to be impregnated with the Word of God and to bring that Word into this world. As St. Bonaventure writes “In the church of the Virgin Mother of God, her servant Francis lingered and, with continuing cries insistently begged her who had conceived and brought to birth the Word full of grace and truth to become his advocate. Through the merits of the Mother of Mercy, he conceived and brought to birth the spirit of the Gospel truth. (Mag Leg III, 1)

Let us not close our minds and our hearts to the miracle of now. Just as Mary was Francis’ model, so too is she our model. Her loving choice, to let God do with her as He would, enfleshed God in her. When she relinquished all of her dreams and plans, she became the Christ bearer. In her the incomprehensible plan of God reached fulfillment. God comes to us now, as he did to Mary, asking quietly in the depths of our hearts: Do you love me? Do you trust Me? Will you let Me love you?

Our response is tremendously important. Each time God speaks to us, a hurting and sinful world waits, hushed and fearful, for our answer. Because each time God comes to us, the question is the same, “will you let Me come to life in you?”

May the power of Christ’s birth penetrate our lives and move us to bring to life in our actions the truth that God is with us in every human, ordinary experience between now and forever.

Sister Marcella Nachreiner, OSF

Reflection:

How will you answer God’s call to open your life to him?