Holy Dwelling Place of God...Holy Temple of the Word
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It's the belief that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was conceived without the stain of original sin. Only Mary and Jesus have this unique quality. It's a belief that I have come to cherish but it was not always so. During high school I was very involved in a Four Square church youth group and heavily influenced by a non-Catholic Christian way of thinking. I did not want to scare away my friends with a belief in Mary that seems to them to be idol worship. Not only that, Jesus always came first in my life. He still does.
For a while now, however, I have been studying, praying, learning and loving the Catholic Church's teaching on Mary. I have begun to let her love for Jesus have its influence on me and my prayer life. It has left me amazed and inspired. St. Louis de Montefort said "the fastest way to Jesus is through Mary." I have found this to be so true in my own spiritual life. No one loves Jesus more than his own mother and she has taught me to love him in a way that is more tender and dear than I ever could have imagined.
Not only has Mary's love for Jesus influenced my love for Him, but also for those around me. Especially my children. When Bubby was itty bitty, I would imagine Mary holding Jesus. When he cried, I'd imagine the love she must have felt for her own child and then have more patience for my own. At each stage of development for each of my kids, especially when things are frustrating, I think of Mary and her son. Then I'll say a prayer asking her for her guidance and help. I trust her because I know her single intention is to bring me and all of God's children to a closer union with her son.
A final thought on Mary: Her union with God started with her own prayers to God the Father. Then at the Annunciation, she was "overshadowed" with the Holy Spirit (that's why we call Mary the Spouse of the Holy Spirit) and then she was the mother of Jesus. While Mary was on earth she had a special relationship with the Blessed Trinity before humanity even knew what the Blessed Trinity was!
Pray for us, Holy Mother of God,
that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.