Full of grace

sabino-vengcoAS the principal patroness of the Philippines, Mary’s Immaculate Conception is aptly celebrated as a holy day of Eucharistic joy. Our thanksgiving to God for gifting us with her faith and love is inspired by the Annunciation account of Saint Luke (1:26-38), where Mary is portrayed as the woman divinely chosen to be filled with grace as the mother of the Savior.

Hail, full of grace

The angel addressed Mary by her name according to God’s saving plan: “Full of Grace”. That is what she is by her Creator’s will; that is what she should be known by in all the world; that is what she celebrates in joy forever before the throne of God. God has given her the fullness of grace; nothing in her is not touched by God’s grace; not a moment of her existence is devoid of God’s gratuitous love; all in her and she all in all is radiant with the divine holiness. She is perfectly God’s work, God’s perfect work: “The Lord is with her.” This is the fact of divine goodness to her, the all-pervading mystery of communion with the Almighty bestowed on her, the radical and total presence of the Transcendental to her being. “You have found favor with God”—Mary personally and in her entire existence is a revelation of God’s graciousness, and she is the primordial consciousness of divine mercy to humanity bounded only by eternity.

And that in connection to and because of the fact that God chose her to be the mother of His Son Jesus Christ the Savior of creation trapped in sin. “You will bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus”—which means “God saves”. The creation of old is to be redeemed and perfected in salvation; the Creator in love is the Savior in mercy. In Jesus Christ we are blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him” (Ephesians 1:3-4). Mary is uniquely and the very first to be blessed in Jesus Christ with the plenitude of grace; she is the Creator’s/Savior’s work of gracious love.

I am the servant of the Lord

Mary belonged to God; she is absolutely God’s. In her response to God’s initiative and plan, she understood herself as a servant of the Almighty: she is there for Him listening to His every word and doing His every command. If others won’t listen to His words, she will; if others won’t carry out His commandments, she will. “Let everything be done to me according to your word”, in imitation of Jesus, as a disciple of Jesus, whose sole purpose is to do the will of the Father who sent Him.

Jesus and Mary in God’s plan of salvation are partners together in doing God’s will for the good of all humankind. God did not have to ask them “Where are you?” or “Why did you do such a thing?” as God asked Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9.13). The Son-Mother tandem, like a new Adam and a new Eve, manifest to us the original image of man in the heart of God: sinless, full of grace, in total communion with Him. For the Incarnation of the Son and Mary’s Immaculate Conception in their intimate unity are God’s victory and wondrous deeds (Psalm 98:1-2), the beginning of the new creation singing a new song.

Alálaong bagá, the celebration of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is our joy-filled witnessing to God’s awesome grace more powerful than sin. Mary Immaculate is the sign of our hope: we are predestined to the glory of God’s gracious love and mercy. Mary, Full of Grace, invites us to be like her as a servant of the Lord, doing God’s will and bringing Jesus Christ into the world.

Join me in meditating on the Word of God every Sunday, 5 to 6 a.m. on dwIZ 882, or by audio-streaming on www.dwiz882.com.

 

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