For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. As the sisters taught me years ago, the I.C. was a part of God’s overall plan for humanity. Because Jesus grew inside Mary’s womb, she too needed to be sinless. As a result, God made sure that she herself was conceived without any mark of original sin.

Personally, I think early December is a good time for this particular feast day. In the midst of a season that is usually marked by frantic activity and the sense that there is just never enough time, it’s nice to pause and reflect on the immensity and gradual unfolding of God’s plan. God knew Mary would agree to become the mother of Christ long before she knew it herself.

This also seems like a fitting day for these lovely lines from Hildegarde of Bingen. They’re a beautiful, poetic hymn to Mary:

O branch,

God foresaw your flowering

On the first day of his creation.

You are the shining lily

You point before all creation

Where God fixes his gaze.

(translation by Barbara Newman)

The painting is L’Innocence, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Lovely, isn’t it? Somehow, it just seems to fit today’s feast.

Have a blessed day.

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