Like Mary, who pondered all these things in her heart, the feast of the Immaculate Conception should cause us to ponder. It seems much of God’s plan for our redemption is not obvious to us and should be a cause for pondering, for allowing the Holy Spirit to shed light on the truth. The archangel Gabriel greeting was “Hail, full of grace”.(Luke 1:26-38) Mary was full of grace even before the power of the Most High overshadowed her. As St. Augustine says, “Mary conceived Jesus in her heart, prior to conceiving him in her womb.”
Mary was really something…. more than we think. Mary was “full of grace”. Wow we haven’t ever met someone who was “full of grace”. She was the perfect vessel to say YES to God’s miraculous invitation. Her heart was fertile ground to receive God’s word. Sin had not darkened her mind and her spirit. God’s word was welcomed into her heart and she was able to “see” that this moment was from “on high”. At the same time, it’s clear she didn’t understand everything…”she was deeply troubled and afraid…wondered how can this be”. Yet she concluded, ”behold I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 26-28) Mary is more than we think.
“Mary’s purity makes her closer to us than anyone else, for sin is what divides, while grace unites and heals. Mary loves us with perfect, maternal selflessness.” (Magnificat, Dec. 8, 2022, pg. 112) Think about that statement….. “sin is what divides, while grace unites and heals”. Because Mary is full of grace, she loves us with a magnificent love. It’s not because we’re so perfect, but because her pure love is not deterred by sinfulness. Mary loves each of us dearly, despite the fact that our sins were the cause of Jesus going to the cross. It’s how God wants us to love.
I recently read an recent article about Dr. Ben Carson, the former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, former Cabinet Secretary, and much more. He is fundamentally a Christian man of God, filled with a lot of God’s grace. In the article it states that “ Dr. Carson’s accomplishments are not just professional; we can attest that his inner virtues match his outward successes. Dr. Carson first and foremost greets everyone — friend and foe alike — with the sort of warmth and kindness that can only come from a genuine disposition of the heart….. Dr. Carson is always good-natured, and any meeting with him is sure to have a few of his light-hearted jokes and quips. He can quote Shakespeare and the Bible alike, and be it Hamlet or Proverbs, you can bet there’s a timeless lesson buried in the wisdom he shares. But even for all his accomplishments, Dr. Carson’s own words sum it up better than we ever could: “When we have done our best, we also have to learn that we still need to rely on God. Our best — no matter how good — is incomplete if we leave God out of the picture.” (Fox News, Dec. 8, 2022)
So, let us ponder all of this. As we grow in grace thru continuing to turn to our Lord, we can be instruments of unity and healing ….. like our Blessed Mother, like the saints, like the Ben Carsons of the world. And that is very good news.