Tomorrow is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Many mistake that for the day that Jesus was conceived. It's not. It is rather the date we celebrate the conception of Mary, the Virgin who became the mother of God. We celebrate the conception of Jesus 9 months before Christmas.. imagine that ;)
While taking a look at the first reading I'm reminded of little kids. Often you'll find some disaster has befallen your home while you were mowing the yard, working on the car, or doing what the kids say you do all the time... taking a nap. So you come in and demand, who did this!? At which point a lot of finger pointing goes on. Even once you find the culprit, they'll often blame it one of the others in the room, he made me do it!
We see that with Adam and Eve in the garden. God comes to be with Adam and Adam has moved. He's not where he is supposed to be. God hasn't moved, but Adam has. So God asks Adam where he has hidden. God doesn't need to ask. He asks so that Adam has a chance to do what he was created to do, be in communion with God. All Adam has to do is realize his sin, and ask for forgiveness. Instead he does like our little kids do. He blames the woman. He blames God. "the woman that you put here gave me the fruit." It's all your fault God. He doesn't notice his blessings. He blames God for giving him the gift of a spouse. It's all your fault man! If you hadn't put her here, if you hadn't made her so pretty, if you hadn't given us free will, all of this could have been stopped. Then Eve blamed the serpent, the devil.
How often we do that eh? During a break up. When someone dies. When something is taken away from us. Why God? I wish you'd never had us meet. I wish you'd never have given me that car. I wish you... you.. you... It's easy to point fingers. You created me this way, so if I sin it's your fault. We are so happy with a blessing when we get it. We are so angry when it's taken away. We give our yes freely to the blessings, but to the no, to the loss.. that we aren't so quick to accept.
That is why we Catholics look up to the blessed Mother so much. Where Eve said yes to the fallen angel, Mary said yes to the Angel of the Lord. Mary declared "may it be done to me according to your word." She wasn't ignorant of what that would entail. She knew she was engaged. She knew how this would look to the world. It was likely that Joseph would divorce her. It was even likely that she would be stoned for showing up pregnant before their marriage. This very young girl was about to have her life turned upside down. It wasn't just going to be blessing after blessing... it was going to be a long road... a road of a poor person trying to raise a child. She said yes to it, all of it. Over the years she pondered all of these things in her heart.. and still, every moment, said yes to all of it. Even when it was prophesied that "a sword will pierce your heart," Mary still responded yes. At the foot of the cross, with her heart breaking, watching her son be brutally beaten, ridiculed and crucified... watching as his mortal life ended... all the fear, the tears, the sorrow... she said yes.
When you hear that popular song, "Mary did you know?"... realize that she would respond, Yes. I knew. I knew and accepted. I knew and loved him. I knew and gave my life to God as an instrument. I allowed God to be born into the world through me, knowing that I would have to suffer as well. I knew. I still said yes.
What about you? We are in Advent, travelling the road towards the Birth of Christ, Christmas. Are you ready? Do you give your yes? Not just to the good, but the unpleasant? Are you ready to be like the Blessed Mother and give over your very heart, soul and body to God that He may use you to bring Christ into the world? Are you ready to say "May it be done unto me according to your word?" It's time to search the inner recesses of our hearts and find out. It is time for us, like Mary, to keep all of these things in our heart and ponder what they may mean.
His servant and yours,