Did I get your attention?
Now I get to be a huge disappointment. There is no car giveaway. Sorry.
There’s good news though. Keep reading and there might still be a free fiat in this for you.
I love the Immaculate Conception. And by that I mean the Solemnity we celebrate today as well as the person. After all, the BVM did tell Saint Bernadette that she is the Immaculate Conception. Immaculate Conception is one of those Catholic buzzwords that can easily end up being so heady and profound that it loses any useful meaning. It did for me until a few years ago when I read for the first time what Immaculate Conception meant in terms that were so simple even I understood them.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe (a recurring hero you know if you follow this blog) taught that the Holy Spirit is the “uncreated, eternal conception” of the love between the Father and the Son. And the Spirit is, by His divine nature, immaculate or free from sin. When Mary declared to Saint Bernadette that she is the Immaculate Conception what she was really saying was that she has identified with the Holy Spirit from the very first instant of her existence. As long as she has been, the Holy Spirit has dwelt with her and in her.
Because of this indwelling of the Spirit, Mary’s “yes” to the Angel Gabriel was the freest “yes” ever uttered by human lips. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(She actually said, “Let it be done” which is fiat in Latin. So…there’s the free fiat. I never disappoint)
This is a special grace Mary received from her Son Jesus–the indwelling of the Spirit. A few years after I learned this, I found out something else too. The exact same grace given to the Blessed Mother at her conception is offered to us as well. The prayers for today’s Mass make clear, the grace of the Immaculate Conception is the foreseen grace given by Christ from the cross.
The Holy Spirit desires to dwell in you and me. And by receiving Him we will be made free. Hopefully, we’ll be made free enough to echo the fiat of the Immaculate Conception. So we offer Mary our veneration*, ask for her intercession, and look to her as the model of perfect discipleship.
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'”
*Hyperdulia if you’re looking to get fancy.