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Mary: Full of Grace

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When it comes to talents, some people seem to be loaded. They are intelligent, good-looking, sought after. The rest of us try hard; we sweat, struggle and smile nicely in order to win our way but, for all our efforts, we end up overlooked.

We are like the prince in the fairy-tale who tries every charm in the book to win the heart of the princess. And then she goes off regardless to marry a penniless woodcutter who didn't do anything spectacular to win her favor. The woodcutter is only chosen because of the mysterious preference of the princess' love. And the prince is left wondering why he couldn't earn the love of the princess.

We can't earn someone's love. There's nothing we can do to guarantee another's grace and favor. And this is true of Mary in relation to God. When the angel Gabriel sent by God addressed Mary as "full of grace", he didn't mean that Mary had done something to deserve God's favor. For God's favor was a free gift. And gifts reflect the generosity of the giver - not the worthiness of the receiver.

Mary's title "full of grace" provides the foundation for our belief in her "immaculate conception" which we celebrate on December 8th. Mary was conceived immaculate in the heart of God from the beginning, not because of her goodness but because of God's own goodness.

What a difference, we imagine, between Mary and ourselves. And what a mistake we make! For it is the same God who loves Mary and who loves us. There is no difference between Mary and ourselves. She was singled out to be saved by God, but so are we. She was specially loved by God, but so are we. The difference is that she realized it. We don't. That is why God could be born in her. Why not follow her this Advent?

© Liguori Publications
Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard
The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

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