The stunning miraculous conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Obedience through Our Lady’s help and growing in the Virtues of Prudence and Fortitude by seeking the Blessed Virgin Mary’s help in making holy choices.

Commentary

Having announced the miraculous conception of John the Baptist to the elderly Elizabeth and Zachariah, the Archangel Gabriel now appears to the young virgin Mary (a teenager); a virgin had been prophesized to bear the Messiah (Is 7:14). The Blessed Virgin Mary (a teen) is betrothed (in Jewish tradition, married but still living separate and celibate) to St. Joseph (likely in his 30’s), who is of the kingly lineage of King David; the Messiah was prophesized to be born to a descendant of David (2 Sam 7). Both are from Nazareth, a backwater town in the rural Galilee; Nazareth is prophesized to be where the Messiah will live (Is 11:1; Mt 2:23).

Gabriel, the magnificent archangel who resides in the presence of God, reverently addresses the Blessed Virgin Mary, not by her name, but by a title, “Full of Grace”, meaning God has already graced the Blessed Virgin Mary with Divine Life (she is the Immaculate Conception), and is a worthy vessel for God to Incarnate. Gabriel greets the Blessed Virgin Mary with the phrase, “The Lord be with you”, the same greeting given to God’s great warriors, such as Moses, Gideon, and Joshua, at the time of a great task. What is this great task? Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary the Son of God will be conceived in her womb and she shall name the child, Jesus, meaning “God saves.” Jesus will establish the promised never-ending Kingdom of God. 

The Blessed Virgin Mary is greatly troubled, but consoled by the Archangel. Gabriel urges the Blessed Virgin Mary to not be afraid, and that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her, allowing her to conceive the Son of God. “Overshadow” is the same language used when God’s presence overshadows the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle in which God resides during the Exodus (Ex 40:35); the Blessed Virgin Mary is the New Tabernacle, and the Son of God will reside in her womb. Mary, the Immaculate Conception, offers the perfect response in her fiat: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.”

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at the Divine Knowledge and Power of Jesus, Person of the Trinity: He creates and inspires Isaiah to prophesize of His Incarnation; He causes Mary to be the Immaculate Conception, a perfect vessel to carry Him in her womb, and protects Her virginity; He sends the Holy Spirit to allow Mary to supernaturally conceive Him, the Son of Mary. 

Seek Our Lady’s help to grow in obedience

Realize: Because the Immaculate Conception was born without sin (CCC 490-493, 2853), the Blessed Virgin Mary is the only human who has ever perfectly heard and done God’s will. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Perfect Obedience (CCC 144, 148-149, 490, 494, 2617).

Pray: Holy Mary, Perfection of Obedience, pray that I might build the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so I turn away from my selfish desires and humbly resolve to submit to God’s will in all areas of my life. 

Seek the Blessed Virgin’s help in making choices

Realize: When the Blessed Virgin Mary says, “yes” to God (her fiat), God confirms through Gabriel that those who hear and do God’s will are “blessed.” 

Believe: Reflect upon God’s Will (CCC 51, 294-295, 541, 2059, 2822) and the Responsibility of Free Will (CCC 1730-1748).

Pray: Blessed Virgin Mary, pray that I grow in the Virtues of Prudence and Fortitude so I can be blessed to better discern and choose to do God’s Will in my daily life.