December 8, 2015
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Holy Day of Obligation
Gn 3: 9-15. 20
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
“Where are you?”
It is the first question God asks mankind in Scripture. God seeks us always, even in the midst of a chaotic world filled with violence, temptation, and fear. But we hide within this world, shivering in some place just beyond the light and love that God offers. We hide because we feel naked and broken. We think ourselves unworthy of God’s long, loving gaze, those tender, divine eyes always searching, witnessing our loveliness and calling us to love.
“Who told you that you were naked?”
God’s second question. Let us remember that our nakedness was not revealed by God, but by something darker, something which draws our gaze away from the God who gazes upon us.
We cannot be afraid to let ourselves be seen. God sees us and is with us, just as God was with Mary. We must respond. Here we are, worthy and ready.
—Eric Immel, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He also serves as a Jesuit vocation promoter and is a prolific author.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother: to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
—Traditional prayer to Mary
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