Immaculate Conception - our help and protection

Meditation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2011)

Mary

A desire to know more than the here and now, the driving desire to know the difference in essence and nature of good and evil drove Adam and Eve to the drastic state of alienation from the Creator, Who up until that moment, walked intimately with them, “at the breezy time of the day,” (cf. Gn 3:8) enjoying gifts greater than we could ever imagine.

Due to this inordinate desire to know as God knows, to control self and all around self by controlling power put all into the sphere of ignorance rather than knowledge - actually the rug was pulled out from under mankind’s feet. Alienation from the benevolent Creator, the intimate friend Who warned that good could be lost if obedience were not followed. Eve spoke the truth when asked by the tempter why they were not eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge in the middle of the Garden of Eden: “The woman answered the serpent: ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'’ But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.” (Gn 3: 1-5)

The desire to know good and bad, to be in full control of their lives and destiny blinded Eve to full truth and simply caused her to cave in under her desires. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” (Gn 3:6-7) As their eyes opened, they saw themselves as they really were, driven by unbridled desires, lusts - their naked selves and they were ashamed. As humans discover self, inner self as well as outer self, they notice that the drives lead to slavish lives, pure intimate interdependence gives way to fear in all proportions - the cup is full, not of grace but darkness, of death.

“The LORD God then 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!’ (Gn 3:10-11) Why do we hunger for that which destroys us and makes us impure? Because we too become disobedient, want to know and have things our way, thus tripping over self.

Let us look on the purity of Mary, realize she is the first believer in Jesus that she is the first to know Him. Let us hear her say: “do whatever He tells.” In her immaculate love she knows good and bad in our everyday struggles against temptation and sin, the memory of events in the past that have hurt us, the slavishness of disobedience. She knows by the Wisdom of the Incarnate that all bad will be pushed away if we trust her Son and show Him love by living His commands. We can and should be one in Mary to help us on our journey, to help us fight temptation and sin. She is the New Eve because she is the mother of all those born into new life through the grace of Christ. In our moments of trial let us turn to Mary for help. She like us had to struggle with what it means to be a follower of Jesus. In the temple Simeon predicted that a sword of sorrow would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35). When Jesus was lost she had to learn that Jesus’ heavenly Father comes first (Luke 2:49). Mary too had to take up her cross after Jesus even though she was immaculate. Mary as the Immaculate Conception longs only to live the Father’s will.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception be our health and our protection!