ADVENT 2011: Reflection for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, December 8

By Arlene Flaherty, O.P., D.Min.

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Genesis 3:9-15, 20 | Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 | Luke 1:26-38

The global economic movement is largely facilitated by the capacity to make connections. Largely facilitated by technology, business and popular culture have become shaped by extraordinary advances which facilitate connections in ways and across distances never before imagined. As extraordinary as the growing capacity for connection is, it is important to examine if and how this kind of connection furthers our consciousness of our intrinsic relatedness to one another.

The Advent scriptures today underscore the message that human beings and all of creation are made for relationship. Though we, like the creation story’s first man and woman, might fail to live up to the requirements of relationship in any given moment, Paul’s words remind us that we are “destined to be family.” In Mary’s annunciation experience, all of us are assured: “God IS with us.”

  • What are the personal and societal behaviors that honor the relationship by which all of life is connected and held interdependently?
  • If “right-relationship” is another way of expressing Justice, where in your life and where in our world is right-relationship most threatened?
  • Where and how can Justice come?

This reflection is from Bringing Forth Justice in the Global Economy: Reflections for Advent 2002, by Arlene Flaherty, OP, D.Min. This year’s booklet by Diane Lopez Hughes is still available and can be ordered online here. Arlene Flaherty, OP, D.Min. is a Blauvelt Dominican Sister and served as the Executive Director of the Intercommunity Center for Justice and Peace in New York City. 

For more Advent resources, click here.

2 responses to “ADVENT 2011: Reflection for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, December 8

  1. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary’s conception without the stain of original sin and not the event of the Annunciation, by Church teaching. I find it confusing as most of us think of it as the immaculate conception of Christ in Mary’s womb, but that is not the meaning of this feast day.

  2. Amen to what Kathy says! Yet… we talk about the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception together. The Gospel proclaimed at today’s Mass is the Annunciation. As a human being, Mary remained usually free to say “no.” But as the human being chosen to receive “a singular privilege and grace granted by God” (i.e., exemption from original sin, the Immaculate Conception), she was unusually free to say “yes.” …Maybe to sum it up: the Immaculate Conception is FOR the Annunciation, for Christ.

    I, too, find it confusing that when we hear “immaculate conception,” we think of the conception of Jesus Christ, as if the usual way of conception is un-immaculate… I think “immaculate” denotes the contrast between original sin and the original sanctity/justice Adam and Eve were offered, not between conception by the Holy Spirit and conception by spouses. Sex is something good! (It just doesn’t seem to produce persons with divine and human natures!)

    I think this clarification Kathy has made is key to Sr. Arlene’s reflection. Saying yes to God does not mean leaving behind human life — human love and sexuality, our interconnectedness, pain and uncertainty, freedom, etc.. It means responding “yes” to the invitation always around us to welcome Christ’s liberation of ourselves and our world from the grasp of sin, to welcome the right relationship he offers our world.