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The Immaculate Conception - "Be Merciful and Willing"

The Immaculate Conception (December 8)
"Be Merciful and Willing"

What does mercy mean to you? This is the focus that Pope Francis wants us to take during this Year of Mercy that starts today and runs through November 20th of 2016. There are so many approaches we can take for the topic of mercy, but there is a reason why Pope Francis chose The Immaculate Conception as the beginning of the Year of Mercy. Mary is a model of Mercy.

For starters, we need to rethink our idea of mercy. Mercy is so much more than forgiveness. We're invited to think about it as an action verb. It is an invitation for us to think and act outside of ourselves. It is about going the extra mile for someone else. Who better modeled that than the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In her story, we realize that God had a plan for salvation from the beginning. Being eternal, he foresaw that human beings would fall to sin, but he also knew that it was only Him who could take away the sins of the world. Loving humanity so very much, He destined that the Son would become incarnate and part of our timeline of history. But instead of choosing to be born into royalty, He chose to be born into a simple Jewish family. Mary herself was chosen as the mother of the Son. But God does not force His will against our free-will. He had to ask her if she was willing to take up this task. Her obedience to the Lord's will was her ultimate cause for joy. She knew that there would be difficulties, and Scripture reveals a number of these, but she also knew that the Lord would never abandon her.

Her fiat allowed the work of God to extend into our world through Jesus Christ. While He was certainly a man for others, He also had to learn this from someone. Who better to teach Him this than His mother? Like John the Baptist would eventually do, Mary always pointed to Jesus. She stood by Him. 

We are invited to model Mary's "yes" to the Lord by searching for His worlds in our own lives. By being instruments of Mercy for the Lord. We're asked to bring His love into the world by being sons and daughters for others. Like Mary, God has a plan for each one of us, but like her, we sometimes need to be observant and listening for Him.