Today is one of my favorite Catholic feast days – the feast of the Immaculate Conception – the day when Mary said “yes” to being Jesus’ mother.***(see edit)
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
As I was playing the piano for Mass this morning, feeling very pregnant, I had a few reflections. The line “for nothing will be impossible for God” always gets me. When dealing with infertility, so much seems “impossible.” Becoming a mom was seeming impossible. Biological children were impossible. My dreams were becoming impossible. But this line – nothing is impossible with God – still gets me.
Then I remembered that I was also pregnant during this Mass last year. Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, but the fact that I was even able to get pregnant at all was a miracle. The fact that I became Vinny’s mom is a miracle. The fact that I am almost 37 weeks pregnant is also a miracle. So many aspects of my life are truly miraculous.
And while I can’t even come close to Mary’s perfection, being pregnant at this time of year makes me wonder how she must have been feeling. Uncomfortable, painful, traveling with nowhere to stay, yet she never complained. She just trusted God and went along with whatever happened.
I guess today I focused mainly on the mini miracles – the everyday miracles – the little things in my life that, if I really think about it, are truly miraculous. And while it’s been very hard being pregnant, I have to think of it as a miracle. So, during these last few weeks, instead of focusing on the pain and discomfort, I need to focus on my handsome Z, my beautiful Vinny, and my beautiful baby – the true miracles in my life.
I just learned today that what we are actually honoring on this feast day as Catholics is not when Mary conceived Jesus, but rather when Mary herself was conceived without sin because God had already chosen her to be the mother of Jesus. This makes much more sense with the generally recognized birthday of Mary being Sept. 8. I’ve gone 33 years as a pretty good Catholic without knowing this, and I imagine there are probably lots of other ‘pretty good Catholics’ who also don’t know this, so here you go – we all learned something new today.