When I was little, probably for a birthday, my grandmother gave me a fifty dollar savings bond. I remember my father asking me what I was going to do with it: would it go towards a car, college, house, or retirement? He said the last one with a chuckle. At the time, I had no idea what fifty bucks was worth, let alone what a fifty dollar savings bond had the potential of becoming. All I knew was that I had received a gift.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Mary, Our Immaculate Mother, received a singular gift from God. The gift, from the moment of her conception in the womb of Saint Anne, of being free from of any stain of original sin. The best we can do with a savings bond is put it in a safe and forget about it for twenty years. The gift of grace, however, needs to be used immediately and always; this is what Mary did. She cherished the grace she was given and fully lived it with love. Because Mary remained sinless in keeping with the divine plan, she had the privilege of carrying the Savior of the whole world, God himself, in her womb.
Saint Anselm, around nine hundred years ago preached this, “He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.” Sin entered the world through the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Any suffering we have finds its root in their disobedience—not God’s plan. However, we must not lose hope and settle for sin. Mary’s fiat, her yes: “May it be done to me according to your word,” teaches us obedience to the will of God. Following her example of obedience opens our hearts to love and greater happiness.
You and I need the Blessed Virgin Mary not only because she gives us Jesus, but because we need her motherly care and intercession. Growing up, it was a slight to be called a “mamma’s boy.” It meant that you were too childish and not strong enough to fend for yourself. If you and I want to be truly strong, we need to cling to Our Mother, Mary Immaculate.
We don’t always know the value of the gifts we receive. How much is a savings bond worth when it matures? What could it be used for? What happens if it is lost? When the gift is given none of those questions matter. What matters is that we say “thank you.” So let us give our thanks to God through Mary by praying her Holy Rosary everyday!