Have you ever been up very early and watched for dawn to come?
You stare at the dark sky, waiting for light. After a long wait, it does get lighter.
As dawn nears, the sky gradually fills with a spreading light.
That’s when you realize how dark it was,
and just how dazzling the light really is.
All this before the sun itself crosses the horizon.
Which calls attention to how much light the sun casts even before its rising.
Then the sun itself comes, and Boom! your eyes are blinded by the brilliance.
So with the sun in the sky, so with the Son of God.
Long before Christ dawned on the world, his light reached way ahead to fill the life of Mary.
That’s what we celebrate today: her Immaculate Conception.
Now, we get confused about this. Many think we celebrate Jesus’ conception today.
No, it is Mary’s conception we celebrate.
"Immaculate" refers to what God did for Mary,
at that first instant, inside St. Anne, to preserve her free of any stain of sin.
Some wonder about the “how” of this; others about the “why” of this dogma.
Remember what I said about sunlight, how it goes out ahead of the sun’s actual rising?
It’s the same with the Light of the Son of God.
The light of Jesus’s “dawn” reached so far ahead,
all the way to the beginning of Mary’s life, casting out all darkness,
even from the first instant of her life.
Mary didn’t just look at the Sun; she was filled with the Son.
Can you imagine it? Can you imagine it?
Think of the sun in the sky:
all that power, all that dazzling brilliance;
imagine being filled with that!
What shadow could remain?
How much more to be filled with Christ?
The Son of God, more dazzling than all galaxies,
dawned into the world through Mary!
Mary brought that Light to us—will we let him in?
Those places inside us we keep sealed off,
where we, not God, have the final say?
Those drawers where we keep an addiction;
those corners where we nurse a grudge; will we let in his healing Light?
There is no shame so dark his Light cannot cast out;
no sin so foul his Light cannot cleanse;
no hardness his Love cannot melt;
no coldness his Light cannot warm.
Mary is just the beginning.
She is the New Eve, the mother of a New Creation.
And we are her children.
When all the world lay in darkness, Mary stood waiting for the Dawn.
When it came, Mary said “Yes.”
No wonder Gabriel said: “Hail, Mary!”