Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Lowkey, today is my favorite Marian feast day, and I’m so incredibly excited to be writing this now. I absolutely love the feast of the Immaculate Conception, because it reminds us of Mary’s humanity as well. We hear (probably not often enough) about Christ’s humanity, but that only exists by Mary’s humanity too. So what exactly does the "Immaculate Conception" mean?
The Immaculate Conception itself refers to the moment when Mary was immaculately conceived, completely pure and without the stain of original sin, without the imperfect mark that Adam and Eve brought upon the world. This allowed her to be the perfect dwelling place for Jesus (literally), providing a perfect place for the perfect Christ. In fact, Mary is even referred to as the “new Eve”, beginning to bridge the gap between original creation and our re-creation in Christ:
Where Eve struggled to trust God, Mary had to essentially blindly trust Christ, literally doing what others saw as impossible even though she only a young teenager, proabably around the age of 13.
Where Eve tried in vain to make the situation better, Mary subjected herself completely to God’s will, letting God do all the work through her.
While Eve ran in shame, Mary relied solely on God, even as she watched everything she loved and protected be humiliated, beaten, and crucified before her eyes. Throughout immense pain, Mary’s faith refused to falter.
Here’s the thing: both Eve and Mary were completely human, with their own wills, desires, longings, emotions, memories, fears, and joys. But while Eve’s humanity (and Adam’s as well) led to their downfall, Mary used her humanity to completely turn back to God, creating the grand entrance for the Father's great salvation plan. Mary’s humanity makes this even more powerful, because it means that the malicious and suffocating grip that sin held over all of us was thrown on its head by a 13-year-old girl. All the shame, self-consciousness, isolation, suffering, loneliness, hurt, anger, and emptiness that we feel in our sin was once completely annihilated by a 13-year-old girl, by the mother of God. And she’s here to help us do the same, to constantly bring us closer to Christ, to be our spiritual mom, and to help us throughout our own sufferings.
Whether you find yourself relating more to Eve or Mary today, don’t be afraid to ask Mary for her help in growing closer to her son Jesus. She’s rooting for you 100%, and (as St. Louis de Monfort, St. Pope John Paul II, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Mother Theresa, and countless others have argued) growing closer to Mary is the fastest way to Jesus.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
How can you relate to both Mary and Eve today? What are some ways that you can actively try to be more like Mary today?
What is your relationship with Mary like? Do you believe the line of many Saints who said "growing closer to Mary is the fastest way to Jesus"? Why or Why not?
Jesus had a special place in His Heart for His Mother. She became our Mother as well at the foot of the Cross. How can we grow closer to both our earthly mother and our Heavenly Mother today?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"To Jesus through Mary."
"Hail Mary Full of Grace."
"Behold, I am the Handmaid of the Lord!"
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with Lord bear fruit in you today?
Take some time to honor your mother today. If you will see your earthly mother today, do something special for her, and if you will not, say a special prayer or make a special fast for her today. Also, find ways to honor Our Heavenly Mother today. Find a new prayer or devotion to honor Mary today. If you need help with this, ask a priest, your youth minister, or even your mom.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne studying Engineering and Psychology.