The Feast of the Immaculate Conception in our Daily Life
Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion
As a child I loved biking. I started with the Easy Rider bike then I moved to Mountain bikes. I enjoyed and loved to lift the front wheels off the ground, lifting the bike off the ground from the rear wheel and other tricks that can only make my mother shudder with fear i hurt myself.
When I entered the seminary I had to forgo and forget my passion for biking. But I realized later that my love for dirt bikes and the good feeling that it gives me has never left me. When I became a priest I get assigned to mountainous barangays that are impassable by any kind of vehicles since there are no roads leading to them. This needed me to bike to get to those barangays. My love for biking as a child came forward, the skills I have developed then, I am now able to put to use, while enjoying it. Now I look forward to every bike ride to these barangays in far flung areas where I have to say mass and bring the word of the Lord.
If God has a mission for us he prepares us and makes long term planning.
Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, we will understand more God’s fondness for long term planning.
But first let me explain and correct some misunderstanding of what the Immaculate Concepcion is about. Sometimes there are some mistaken beliefs that it is about Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father. Sometimes it is also falsely thought to be about Christ being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is not so, but rather it is about Mary’s own conception, which happened the human way, just the way you and I were conceived. The difference though with us and Mary is that she was conceived free from original sin or the sins brought by Adam and Eve and which is passed on to us at birth. So unlike us, Mary was preserved and shielded from the effects of these sins from the moment she was conceived.
Why? So that the vessel (in this case Mary), where the Son of God will be conceived and bore will be free from any stain and sin, because God will not allow it that Jesus Christ, His Son most sacred and holy The Lord will not allow it that the womb that would conceive and carry His Son for nine months be soiled and be unclean and be unprepared and thus He planned the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Now going back to God’s fondness for planning, thus from conception God prepared Mary and freed her from sin as Jesus was placed in her.
What is the relevance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in our daily life?
First, the Immaculate Conception reminds us that like Mama Mary, we all have our mission. Some may appear big, some may appear small in our eyes but these are all big and important since these are missions God has assigned and entrusted to us and are therefore all important part of a bigger scheme. We might be oblivious to it. We may not easily realize and see it, but we all have our own mission. All things and circumstances we are in or encounter are not by chance but have connection and relation to the mission God is preparing us for. The challenge for us is to give importance to the things around us no matter how trivial and unimportant they may appear. We need to give importance not only to family, friends and the people we love but also to acquaintances and other people around us. These circumstances might not always be pleasing and to our liking but still it is part of your mission and the larger design of things.
Have you ever thought about what your mission might be? Are you in your own special way bringing Jesus to the people around you, your family, friends, colleagues? Are you cooperating in this mission God has set for you? In relation to that, I’d like you to take a couple minutes of your time to listen to this story by Leo Tolstoy:
Second, the feast of the Immaculate Conception also helps us to be reminded of our privilege to receive Jesus Christ, just like Mary did. If Mary was privileged to carry Jesus in her womb for nine months, we also are given the privilege to have Jesus in us through the Holy Communion. But just like Mary we also need to prepare ourselves to be a worthy place where our Lord can stay.
So the challenge for us is preparing ourselves before receiving the body of Christ. How prepared are we when we receive the Holy Communion? Have you mended broken friendships? Forgiven your nagging sister, colleague or husband? Pondered on and asked forgiveness for the maligning comments you made of another person? Prayed and fought not to succumb to your vice, whether it be drinking, eating, shopping etcetera etc. The list could be a bit long sometimes. The first step in preparing ourselves to be a ready and worthy place for our Lord Jesus Christ is receiving the sacrament of confession or the act of confessing our sins to the priest and receiving absolution, the sacramental forgiveness of the Church through the ordained priest, for the sins we have committed.
Think about it next time before you ran and fall in line to receive the body of Christ in Holy Communion.
I leave you with these quotes from St. Francis de Sales and St. John Chrysostom to ponder on:
“When you have received Him, stir up your heart to do Him homage; speak to Him about your spiritual life, gazing upon Him in your soul where He is present for your happiness; welcome Him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of His Presence.”
–St. Francis de Sales
“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.”
–St. John Chrysostom
Remember God loves you!