The Mother of God and I had some difficulties in our relationship. And, let’s face it, since she’s the sinless one, the fault lies with me.
Growing up Catholic, but with little understanding of God—let alone the Blessed Virgin Mary—I had a shadowy understanding of “Our Lady.” Sure, I enjoyed weekly viewings of the classic cartoons The Day the Sun Danced and the live action The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima—the only two television options during our post-Mass visits to my paternal grandparents’ house—and the kitschy statue on my dresser, but Mary was not real to me.
In later years, as I learned more about Mary, including the fact that today’s feast celebrates Mary’s and not Jesus’ conception, I was afraid to get close to this Immaculate One. Faced with her perfection, sinlessness, and immaculate purity I couldn’t handle the challenge to my sins, faults, and failings. I could never be like Mary, I was her exact opposite. Holiness was not possible if Mary was the measure.
But, I had it all wrong. I was looking at myself compared to Mary, thinking I was responsible for making myself like her, that holiness was about my efforts. I was mistaken. Sanctification is about cooperating with grace, freely given to us in Christ Jesus, not our efforts at powering forward and willing it.
Saint Paul reminds us today that “God chose us in [Christ] . . . to be holy . . . making us His adopted sons . . . such was His will and pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4). The best part of this “being chosen” is that we’re not on our own; Mary is with us, along with her Son, picking us up, brushing us off, and binding our wounds—because she’s our mother!
Sister, our holiness is not about how we prove ourselves any more than the Immaculate Conception was Mary’s doing. God chooses us, we must cooperate with His grace in order to receive that blessing. Doing that enables us to echo Mary’s humble Fiat: “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).God chooses us. // Sister Maria Fatima Click To Tweet