God chose us in Christ, before the world began,
to be holy and blameless in his sight,
to be full of love.
Today the Catholic world celebrate Mary, the Mother of God, who was conceived without sin.
By the merits of the death and resurrection of her Son she was freed from the power of original sin. God then worked through her without interference of sin.
This rather unusual understanding of the Immaculate Conception came to me this morning reading about Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J,, a prisoner in the Soviet Union for 22 years, who died on December 8, 1984. Reflecting on how he had been freed from the fear of death, he wrote:
I realized that true freedom meant nothing else than letting God operate within my soul without interference.
Mary, freed from sin, lived this all her life, letting God operate in her life without interference. She let God through.
This is grace – a grace granted to Mary from her conception and a grace granted to all of us through our baptism and the workings of God’s grace in our daily lives.
Will we let God through? Will we let ourselves give birth to God’s grace in the world?
Another Jesuit, Alfred Delp, S.J., from a Nazi prison, wrote of this openness of Mary to let God through in his meditation of Christmas:
“The fact that this night of nights [Christmas] brought forth the Light, that Mary kneels before the child, that motherhood and the grace of compassion have become a law of our life, that the ice of humanity’s inner solitude can be broken and melted by healing warmth — all this became possible only because the maid Mary yielded of her own free choice to the inner prompting of God’s voice. Her secret is self-surrender and willing acceptance, offering herself to the point of complete obliteration of her personal will.
“This is both her message and her judgment of us. As a generation we are completely concerned about our self-fulfillment, our self-realization, our living conditions and so on. Everything is organized for our self-gratification. And precisely because of this we are getting progressively poorer and more miserable. Mary’s decision was complete surrender to God and it is the only thing that can lead to human fulfillment. Hers is the decisions that obeys the law of life.”
May our will be conformed to God’s as Mary’s way so that God can get through to our world.