In honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I went to Mass before work yesterday morning. This is noteworthy because it meant getting up half an hour early, thawing out my popsicle-like car, and driving through nearly-deserted Â streets to arrive at church at 6:30 AM (actually, because of the time I had to spend defrosting the car, it was more like 6:37. Â For a Non-Morning Person like me, that’s still an impressive feat.)
And guess what? Â I Â loved it. Â I loved it just as much as I did last year, when I wrote about the surprising graces of Holy Days of Obligation. Â I loved how the sky was dark when I entered the church and light when I left. Â I loved how I could sit and listen to the Mass all alone, without rustling through my bag to find goldfish crackers for the boys. Â I loved thinking about Mary, the lady who brought us Christmas and who brought us Christ. Â Remembering her is a very, very nice way to start the day.
And just a few days ago, I happened upon a great quotation about Mary. Â It’s from the spiritual writer Henri Nouwen (I’m reading an Advent daily devotional featuring his writings). Â It’s lovely food for thought, and so perfectly relevant to yesterday’s feast day.
With the same heart that loved Jesus, [Mary] wants to love us. Â It is a heart that will not make us wonder anxiously whether we are truly loved. Â It is a heart that has not been marked by the infidelities of the human race and so will never bring wounds to those who seek peace there.
This Advent season, may we all feel that peace.
Tempi MadonnaÂ by Raphael