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Let Grace Flow

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

First Reading: Genesis 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

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, full of grace! 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.

NAB

dec 8

My dear sister, has anyone ever stopped to ask you, “How do you do it all?”

Perhaps the person asking was wondering how you balance a hectic work schedule on top of family responsibilities or how you juggle volunteering for several organizations while caring for a sick parent. Whatever the reason for asking, he or she was intrigued by your story.

As I reflected on the readings for today, and especially the Gospel, I couldn’t stop asking myself, “How did Mary do it?”

And by “it,” I mean, how did this virgin woman who was betrothed accept the news that she was going to give birth to the Son of God?

One word: grace.

Today as we celebrate the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, we honor Mary and the fact that she was literally “full of grace” as she was born without sin. Grace, as the Catechism defines, is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life (CCC 1996). Because Mary’s grace tank was filled to the brim, she was able to accept the Lord’s plan for her life to be the mother of Jesus.

In a similar way, when we receive graces through the Sacraments, we are given the help we need to carry out the individual mission the Lord has created for us.

And so my challenge for you today is to fill yourself with grace. Partake in the Sacraments and let yourself be used as an instrument for the Lord to help glorify His name to others.

What actions can you take today to fill up with grace? Attend Mass or Reconciliation? Sit in Adoration? Pray the Rosary?

photo by Jacqueline Kayleigh

Joan Geiger is a North Dakota native and newlywed, and in her spare time she can be found going on adventures with her husband, working as a Registered Dietitian, and drinking coffee. You can find out more about her here.

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