05 Editorial - Fairest of Creatures - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Dec 5, 2018, 9:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 5, 2018, 9:21 AM ]
The Immaculate Conception, God's glorious work, indicates His loving power to make us holy. Our Blessed Lady's integrity or holiness right from the moment of conception to be the fairest of all creatures is not something achieved by her own human effort. It is a pure gift of God, graciously given to her for a saving purpose, on behalf of us all.

Today's feast is grounded on belief in a provident, gracious God, who foresees the future, and entrusts to His children their assigned task in life, even before they are born, a God who equips us with all we need to play our assigned role.

While still in the womb, unborn, God anoints those men and women whom He chooses as prophets and leaders of His people. Jeremiah was told, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

God does not send us into this world to fight among ourselves for the survival of the fittest, as in the animal kingdom. This is not the destiny of the people of God, redeemed by grace from the harmful effects of the Fall. As we admire our Blessed Lady, God's most favoured one, 'Full of grace' on the feast of her conception, let us thank God for His love and mercy which embraces us right from the moment of our own conception

Everything is gift; everything good in us is by God's grace. For we all, children of God, are also favoured and heirs of God's grace. Yet, Mary remains the most favoured one, the mother of all graced ones, the one that enjoys the fullness of grace. For it was supremely fitting that the woman who brought our Saviour into the world should be herself totally free from sin and available to do God's work.

Today, we honour the Immaculate Conception—the creation of Mary in her mother's womb—and we are awed once more at how God works. God so loved the world that in the fullness of time, He gave the world His only begotten son. Yet we recall that He also gave us Mary—this perfect vessel to contain His son, a woman unstained by original sin, so that, from the moment of her conception, she was Immaculate.

To a skeptical world—or to a puzzled teenager in Nazareth—it all sounds impossible. But of course, nothing is impossible with God. A popular carol from this time of year rejoices in the 'wonders of His love'. This feast underscores the extravagant love that places at the forefront a humble peasant girl 'full of grace'—the great collaborator in God's plan for our salvation.

In doing that, God set the stage for the beautiful event mentioned in the Gospel of the Annunciation, which brought about another conception, when Mary conceived Jesus in her womb.

How could we not exult in this? "Sing to the Lord a new song," the psalmist tells us tonight, "for he has done wondrous deeds." He has made His salvation known! In particular, we remember it is a salvation that began long before the first Gospel was written.

It began before the words He spoke or the miracles He worked. It began before the empty tomb. It began before Calvary. It started before the stable in Bethlehem, and even before the visit from an angel in Nazareth. It is a salvation that, in a real and tangible way, began with the event we commemorate—the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

The Immaculate Conception of Mary—just like all the other great moments of our history—is a moment that defines us and uplifts us and that bears, somehow, the fingerprints of God.