9 December, Monday – There’s no place to hide, and no reason to either

Dec 9 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this and the following eight days, the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the Divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men.

The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church, no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times.

Pope Piux IX forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally on 8 December 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin.

It is, therefore, now no longer, as formerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.

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Genesis 3:9-15,20

After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’
  Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,
 
‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,
all wild beasts.
You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other:
you and the woman,
your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head
and you will strike its heel.’
 
The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

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Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes,
to make us praise the glory of his grace,
his free gift to us in the Beloved,
And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own,
chosen from the beginning,
under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things
as he decides by his own will;
chosen to be,
for his greater glory,
the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.

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Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

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…and I hid myself

It’s funny how we hide from God.  I know that it is irrational to hide, because I am never hidden from God, yet I continue to play this foolish game.

I hide from God by procrastinating about confession. I always feel so good after confession, but sometimes it is so difficult to get myself there because my sins are embarrassing. I am ashamed that I don’t control myself, that I am less than He has called me to be and less than I want to be. So I hide. And in my hiding, I have become lost at times –- but only lost to myself; I am never lost to Him. God is never wondering where I am.

Mary never hid. Oh how I pray that I will focus on that knowledge when I am inclined to hide. When the Angel Gabriel came to her and spoke, it must have initially been frightening to a young girl. Yet she didn’t run, she didn’t hide. Even when she heard and comprehended the words of Gabriel she didn’t say, “THIS CAN’T BE”. She said, ‘how can this be’. She wasn’t thinking of herself at all. At all. All her thoughts were about God and doing His will.  Living for Him.

When we hide, we are focused on our self – and only our self. Whether we are hiding from friends, family, coworkers and even God, we are focusing on ourselves. On our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our sins; when our focus should be on Him. The God who is all knowing. The God who loves us. The God who has no weakness, no shortcoming, no sin. When I focus on myself, so much can go wrong, and it oftentimes does. When I focus on God, He takes my weakness and transforms.

He makes all things new when I come to Him, instead of hiding from Him.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer:  Father God, you destined me in love, knew me before the foundation of the world was even created. You truly are the only Awesome, and you fill me with awe by loving me completely. 

Thanksgiving:  Thank you Father, for never hiding from me. Thank you for never allowing me to be lost outside of your love, even when I choose to hide from you. 

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