Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hail, Favored One!

Little known fact: when I was in postulancy, my co-postulants and I had an inside joke about this feast that we celebrate today. Who has inside jokes about The Immaculate Conception?? I DO. Yes, this is my life.

We were taking this class and for some reason, the doctrine on the Immaculate Conception- which we celebrate today- was always a point of contention for one of our classmates. They wanted all the details. (rightfully, so!) And the joke became that we would talk about the date when this doctrine was defined. EVERY. CLASS.

Our poor, dear classmate: "What date was the Immaculate Conception instated again?"

Me and my postulants (okay mostly me): eye rolling (1854, I believe, and I only know because we mentioned it. EVERY. CLASS.)

(disclamier: for those of you who aren't too familiar with the details on the Immaculate Conception, I'm not going to elaborate too much here, but if you have questions, about this doctrine, please do not hesitate to ask me!!!! BRIEF synopsis: MARY- not Jesus as commonly misunderstood- is the Immaculate Conception, which means she is born without original sin. She called herself by this title- 'I am the Immaculate Conception'-to St. Bernadette at Lourdes in the 1800's)

It's not that I don't mind educating people about the Immaculate Conception. There clearly is a need for it! That is understood. It was the repitition of the questioning. Also, hopefully, understood.

We also discussed often in a different class- interestingly enough- about the language used in the passage of Scripture which we base this doctrine on (Gabriel coming to Mary to announce she would be the Mother of God, FYI): 'Hail favored one' in some translations. "Hail, HIGHLY favored one', in others. I think one was like, 'Greatest Salutations!" Just kidding...kind of.(ps-Some translations of the Bible are AWFUL!)

The point is, in the Greek, there is more depth to this greeting. It is in this scene with Gabriel and Mary that we interpret Mary's purity from sin; her being full of GRACE. The translations we use sometimes don't do her significance and this scene justice.

But reading "Hail favored one" in my translation, I thought today:

Doesn't Jesus favor me as well? Each one of us, in fact?

(this is where the power of the Greek translation comes in. Clearly, I AM NOT LIKE MARY. Let me just make that clear!)

But, I'm just saying: doesn't He call out to each one of us in a special way? Clearly Mary has her role in the Church and in history and she is the Immaculate Conception! But Jesus calls out to each one of us and gives our own unique calls and roles as well- in all of our sinfulness.

I've always loved that Mary is troubled by this greeting. Again, not troubled like the way we might think. I'm thinking she was probably just generally freaked out by an angel appearing in her room, not necessarily by the message, because clearly, she accepted the message with her 'Yes'.

We tend to be more freaked out by what God may be asking us to do, hence, our sinfulness compared to Mary's perfect acceptance and surrender to God's Will. He says, 'Hail favored one' to us, in a very different way (in fact, in a 'you are still born with original sin' kind of way!) But there is still something God is asking us to do, each moment, each day- something we need to say 'Yes' to. And this is why we use Mary as our help and our model so that she can help us make our 'yes' to Jesus.

I think Mary can also be our model- particulalry us women- in having a little more confidence in ourselves, gosh darn it! What I envy most about Mary (can I say that??? I just did) is her CONFIDENCE. Our culture TEARS. US. DOWN. Ladies, but God wants to build us up! We are FAVORED in His eyes! We have a CALL. Mary knew that in her inmost being with perfect trust (that's part of what's makes her more perfect than us ;) May she help us have that confidence in the Lord.

Amen?? Amen!

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! :)

Peace,
Julia

1 comment:

Emily said...

I love it! Did you know, by the way, that Fr. Lockwood is our pastor now at St. Elizabeth's? :)