December 8, The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Immaculate Conception

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”  And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Lc 1,26-38

There are some episodes, in the human history, which seem hanging in the space and in the time, perhaps because every country and every century feel these are their property. One of these is the Annunciation: it  was represented by the artists of every age, who have left for our admiration their masterpieces dedicated to the angel Gabriel, who brings the merry announcement to Mary. Our faith is enlightened by the splendor of the art and then let us be guided in the contemplation of the today’s passage by painters such as Beato Angelico, because the scene described in the today’s gospel is not to be understood, but to be contemplated. In front of the brilliance of the messenger of God, Mary is at first shocked, then she asks what effect the words which she just has heard could  have and then she asks how an event impossible in her eyes can take place. It will be her attitude of trust, of acceptance and of surrender to the will of God, which will erase all fear and will allow the realization of the impossible. We repeat, then, like Mary, to be the servants of the Lord, because what he wants for us could happen in our lives: our life, placed in his hands, will become a masterpiece.

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