The Immaculate Conception

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/12/04 at 12:00 AM

In addition to celebrating the 2nd Sunday of Advent this weekend, we are also celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which is patronal feast of our country.
In honoring our Lady under the title of the Immaculate Conception, we recall that by a special grace, our Lord preserved our Lady free from every trace of sin from the first moment of her conception in the womb of St. Ann.
We know by faith and tradition that our Lady was not only conceived without sin, but that she kept her soul free from all stain of sin throughout the entirety of her earthly life.
In Mary’s sinlessness we are given a glimpse of the great dignity of the human soul. In Mary we see just how beautiful and magnificent humanity can be when we are freed from the terrible bondage of sin.
Our Lady shows us the mystical heights to which a humble soul can ascend; she shows us how majestic a soul can be when perfectly united to our Lord and His most holy will.
In Mary we see the radical and radiant beauty of the perfectly pure soul, and are thereby spurred on to holiness by her gentle example.
While Mary’s immaculate conception was a grace uniquely given to her, we are still called to a life of sinlessness, even though we were all born in the darkness of original sin.
We are called to a life of sinlessness in part because of our human dignity. What we must remember about ourselves is that not only did God create us for Himself. He created us so that He might dwell within us. Each of us is the dwelling place of God!
The human soul is called to be a paradise that our Lord inhabits through the grace of baptism. Though He is infinite, our Lord dwells within us – thus giving our souls a dignity that we can scarcely imagine!
So it is that man – especially the Christian – is called to avoid sin at all costs, for sin damages our souls and obstructs our relationship with God. Sin obscures the tremendous beauty of the human soul and makes our souls less hospitable to God’s holy presence within us.
We must remember that, as Christians, we are called to be living icons of Christ! People should look upon us and see our Lord radiating through our words and actions.
The more Christ-like we are, the more we realize and participate in the tremendous dignity our Lord has given to the human race. The more Christ-like we are, the more we show forth His glory, and the greater our glory will be in Heaven!
As we consider the tremendous dignity God wishes to grant us, and the beauty of soul we are called to possess, perhaps it is easy to become discouraged when we realize just how sinful we all are.
But Advent is our time to dispel whatever discouragement we might feel in our sinfulness. For Advent is our time to recall that, despite our sinfulness, our Lord Jesus comes to us anyway. Indeed, He comes to us precisely to save us from our sins.
And so we are called to anticipate Christ’s coming with great joy, both His coming as man at Christmas and His coming at the end of the time when His glory will be made manifest and all flesh will see the salvation of God.
Like Jerusalem of old that we hear about in our first reading, Advent calls us to “take off our robes of mourning and misery” so that we might “put on the splendor of glory from God forever”!
Looking east, the direction of the rising sun – which Christians have always understood as a symbol of Christ – we who love our Lord and profess belief in Him must anticipate His coming with hope, rejoicing that He has remembered His promise of mercy to us!
But if we wish to have our Lord’s mercy, we must prepare ourselves for it, for as Jesus tells us in St. Matthew’s Gospel: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).
And the will of the Father is this: that we “be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”
In writing to the Philippians, St. Paul reminds us that we are all called to holiness; we are
called to realize to the best of our abilities the great dignity of our human nature that we see

shining forth so perfectly in the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This growth in holiness is the work of God, one that His Spirit will bring to completion
within us, but only if we submit ourselves to Him and to His holy will.

We do this by making every effort to avail ourselves of His grace through our prayers,
through our worthy participation in the sacraments, through our obedience to His Church,

and through our service to others.

My dear friends, our Lord is coming soon! If we are truly going to be prepared for our
Lord’s coming as man in the Incarnation and His second coming at the end of time, we must

invite Jesus to reign in our hearts now.

May have the courage to rid from our lives and from our souls all that prevents us from
receiving our Lord as we should. Specifically, may we come to know our sins, detest them,

and seek to be free of them through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

And may our Lady, who is the Fairest Honor of our Race and the Refuge of Sinners, aid us as
we seek to become more like her and more like her Son.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

09 December 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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