By Nancy Small
Today, our church turns its eyes toward the immaculate conception of Mary. I’ve always struggled with this feast day, wondering how I can relate to Mary if she was not born in the same human condition as the rest of us? If I focus on her conception, she remains distant. But if I focus on her life, she is oh, so near.
As I listen to today’s gospel reading of the annunciation, I can relate to Mary’s fear as she is approached by Gabriel. God’s messenger recognizes her fear and immediately assures her that God is with her.
After announcing that Mary has been chosen by God, Gabriel tells her that Elizabeth is pregnant. As soon as the angel leaves her, Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. She needs to confirm what has happened to her by seeing God’s mysterious power made manifest in the life of Elizabeth. So, too, when fear and confusion surround us, we can reach out and find our mysterious God revealed in and through the lives of those we love.
This reflection is from Awaiting Christmas: Beauty Ancient, Ever New – Advent Reflections 1997. Nancy Small is a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace.