She Could Have Said, “No”

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 8, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the belief that Mary was conceived without the mark of Original Sin.

by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Beyond the intricate theology underlying the feast, what we treasure is that Mary made a holy place for Christ to dwell as he became incarnate, grew, lived and redeemed the world in loving mercy.

Mary chose to be
God’s partner in our salvation!

Our Gospel story today invites us to pray with the most important word Mary ever said, “Yes. Fiat.” Think about it. Mary was not TOLD to become the mother of Jesus. She was asked. She could have said, “No” … for any number of logical reasons.

  • I’m too young.
  • I’ve got other plans.
  • Joseph won’t like this!
  • I don’t trust angels.
  • I’m afraid.

I’m sure all of us can think of a few more very rational excuses to tell our “angels” that we’re not ready for transforming grace. I know I have quite a few of them tucked away from over the years. But Mary calls us to something more – she calls us to an “irrational season” of love which responds to the irrational love God has for us!

Mary chose to say “Yes.” She may not have had to work too hard to find the courage for it within her heart. She was already “full of grace”, having lived her short young life with a faithfulness that made her ready to bear Christ to the world.

We pray that, with Mary’s love and guidance, we too may find the courage to make choices that sanctify our hearts, readying them to receive God.

God will come to us today – not on angel’s word – but in the human form of someone poor, sick, desperate, heart-broken, lonely, or just plain tired. May our faith allow us to respond as Mary did, with a grace-fullness that invites God into the situation.

Music: Magnificat

8 thoughts on “She Could Have Said, “No”

  1. Al

    I’m a bit confused. I read today’s scriptures this morning and have been meditating on them before reading your commentary this afternoon. It struck me that the angel did not ask, but told Mary: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
    and you shall name him Jesus.” Yes, she later said “Fiat”, but did she really make that decision or was she simply acknowledging what the angel was proclaiming? I don’t want to open a can of worms here and don’t mean to throw a wrench in anyone’s theology or spirituality. I hope that a deeper analysis of the text’s language will support that she free choice, but it doesn’t seem so from a surface reading. Thank you for listening and wishing all Advent Peace!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought a lot about your comment. Like most scripture passages, a host of interpretations present themselves. For me, I believe that our free will is never rescinded by God. I believe that Mary’s relationship with God was one of mutual engagement not passive acquiescence. I appreciate your thoughtful comment – it made me think and pray more deeply. Advent blessings to you as well.


      1. Al

        Thank you for replying. I totally agree with your reasoning, but I wish the text was more supportive of it. To your point, I wonder if you are familiar with the following quote which I think is absolutely beautiful:

        “ God trusted God’s very self totally and completely and in full bodily form to the care of a woman. God needed women for survival. Before Jesus fed us with the bread and the wine, the body and the blood, Jesus himself needed to be fed by a woman. He needed a woman to say, “This is my body given for you.”.
        – from the Prologue of Wholehearted Faith by Rachel Held Evans

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: The Immaculate Conception (1767-69) – At Sunnyside – Where Truth and Beauty Meet

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