During Advent we are called to meditate more deeply on the mystery of the Incarnation of our Lord. That God took flesh and shared in our human nature is a profound event that changed the world forever. As is God’s way, he uses the service of human beings to help in His plan of salvation, and in the case of the birth of Christ he called on one person in particular to help make His plan a reality. I am writing of our Blessed Mother. In these days we have two feasts that of the Virgin Mary that show how God prepared her to serve Him as Jesus’ mother and how He continues to act through her to spread the Gospel of Christ.
On December 8th we celebrated the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In this feast we remember that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. This was not for her own sake, but rather to prepare her to be the mother of God. This feast was important to Don Bosco. On that day, in 1841, he began the Salesian mission to the young by giving a simple catechism lesson to a homeless boy who had wandered into the church where the Saint was preparing to offer Mass.
On December 12th we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The appearance of Mary in Mexico in 1531 was a great gift to the people of that country, and the Holy Father has asked that this gift be shared with all of the Americas. She came to bring hope to a people experiencing great trials. The faith was still young and the Church small when Mary appeared to Blessed Juan Diego, but in the years that followed the Gospel spread and Church became strong.
In these feasts we learn two things. First that God gives us gifts and graces so that we will use them to spread his Gospel. Mary did not receive the gift of the immaculate conception for any other reason but to make her a suitable mother for God’s Divine Son. God gives us gifts and graces as well, and we are called to use them to extend His Kingdom on earth. In Don Bosco we have a clear example of one who used the talents he had for the spread of the Gospel. The second lesson is that Mary is still working to spread hope to the world. She continues to draw people to her Son Jesus Christ by being our loving mother who is always close to us. Even now, in the glory of her ascension, she is obedient to the will of her Son and Lord. May we follow her faithful example.