Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

St. Stephen Catholic Church, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
A reading of the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:26-38
The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you."  but she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end."  But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"  And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power ofthe Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God."  Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word."  Then the angel departed from her.  
Years ago, I had an Anglican friend.  A very good friend.  I credit him with forcing me back into the Bible in a deeper way.  He loved to argue.  He loved to argue about religion.   And unfortunately, he usually won the argument because he knew more about my religion than I did.  

But I am haunted by our conversation about the Blessed Virgin.  He said although he admired her, he would never pray to Mary.  He went on to blast the Rosary - he said we prayed to Mary for the forgiveness of sins.  He said that the Rosary was not scriptural.  I knew enough to argue that point.  I told him that the Hail Mary could be found in the Gospel of Luke.  But that was the only thing I could speak to.  I have wanted to write him a letter to describe how very scriptural the Rosary is, to go, point by point, through every prayer and reference it back to the Bible.   I have composed this letter in my mind many times.  But then I have wondered if I would just be trying to prove a point - and therefore prove that I am right - or if I am truly trying to show him something wonderful.  And hence, I have not written the letter.

But I am grateful this morning that I get to go to 6:30 a.m. mass.  It is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  And I won't have to argue with anyone at mass.  But I know I will still be thinking about that letter...


  1. God bless you! If only others could see her the way we do. That I guess would be heaven! Have a wonderful day! Cathy

  2. Thanks Cathy. I guess that WOULD be heaven.

  3. Mary, I don't know if we Catholics make too much of Mary; I think it's appropriate but it's certainly within the realm of argument. But I do know that protestants make way too little of Mary, that is for sure. She is "full of Grace" and that is before she even accepts God's request to bear Jesus. She is the Blessed Mother of Jesus and that amounts to a lot.

    If you really want a good explanation why Mary is so important, I recommend downloading a lecture by Dr. Scott Hahn (a Protestant theologian who converted to Catholicism) at Lighthouse Catholic Media. It's three dollars to download, but it's well worth the three bucks, as are all of Dr. Hahn's lectures. This is the link:

  4. Thanks Manny. I actually have that CD. I got to meet Scott Hahn last year when he spoke at the Biblical School I attend.

  5. Oh wow, he seems like a terrific guy. I so enjoy listening to him.

  6. Good morning MC :-) Love your blog! I taught this passage to my jr high ccd kids Wed evening before Mass as a guided meditaion. I don't know how much of the message sank in but we gave it a good go.

    I think that alot of folks are of the opinion that Catholics don't "know" of study the Bible. The Rosary is from the Bible, lol can't get much more Scritural than that. In fact, I have a beautiful little scriptural Rosary book, that gives a biblical quotation for each Hail Mary through the entire Rosary. This helps me stay a little more focused on what I'm praying over.

    Folks ahve to realize, we don't "worship" Mary, we honour her as the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. We ask her to pray on our behalf, to intercede with God on our behalf and we try to follow her amazing faith example.

    Great post, love the blog!

  7. Thanks Scott! I appreciate your perspective as a recent convert. You are able to speak to the things that us "Cradle Catholics" often can't.