The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Christian koan that raises many questions, conundrums, curiosities. For example: Is it possible to be conceived in the womb of destiny as divinity’s own pure potential for mercy – to come to sense and feel oneself as kin to all in the cosmos of divine compassion?
This is the festival of beholding one's original face - unmasked and undistorted - in the looking-glass of Mary, immaculate sister. She provokes us to wonder what it would be like to live as one perpetually being born in the “renewal of one’s mind,” one’s heart, one's habits, without memory or forethought to obscure the graceful possibilities of the present moment?
What would it be like to just be here with beginner’s mind each instant, letting dissolve by inattention the old-self-ways that distract us from the annunciations and immaculate conceptions that mean to bring The Christ to birth - secretly, subtly. Again. Here and now. In us…?
What a good sister she is to us to live before us so: as the mystical mirror reflecting back our immaculate desire to be whole, wholesome, holy...
Mary is also the Festival for celebrating aBeatitude she taught all of us through her son: “Blessed are the pure of heart: they shall see God.”
No meditation on this promise comes close to the depth and power of the one offered by Maryknoll Sister Melinda Roper during the 40th anniversary memorial of the martyrdom of the missionaries of compassion: Maura Clarke, MM; Jean Donovan; Ita Ford, MM; and Dorothy Kazel, OSU.
Here is a most stark and beautiful homily offered here for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and on the Beatitude of being “pure of heart.” May it bless and inspire you. (start at 117.20)
And a mini-film from Mary to uplift us.
And a song to celebrate her potential within us.
And a poem for the day for good measure.
Sister Kathleen Deignan, CND