Seminarian Reflection by Deacon Nathaniel Resila (Diocese of Albany)
The Gospel reading from Saint Luke (1:26-38) for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception beautifully expresses Our Blessed Mother’s pure devotion to Our Lord. Though this solemn Feast certainly ought to draw our hearts and minds to the Divine Christ-Child for whom we are preparing in hopeful anticipation this Advent, it also ought to draw us into a deeper and more joyful relationship with Our Lady herself. Indeed, there is no greater human or angelic creature than Our Lady, for only she was chosen from before all time by the Father to bear forth our Savior Jesus Christ. It is precisely for this purpose that God preserved her from original sin. From the very first moment of Mary’s conception in the womb of her own mother, Saint Ann, the Holy Spirit preserved her from all stain and blemish to be the immaculate tabernacle in whose womb God would become man. Indeed, Mary did and could not desire anything other than God.
Mary’s Immaculate Conception freed her up to be singularly devoted to the holy will of God in all things. It is how she could exclaim to Saint Gabriel the Archangel (even with normal human fears and concerns), “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” The goal of priestly formation is to form men who seek always to proclaim, along with Our Blessed Mother, her fiat, her let it be done unto me according to thy word. The Saints prove this holiness is possible for us all! As candidates for priestly ordination, who better to form seminarians in Jesus Christ’s priesthood than His own Immaculate Mother, our seminary’s holy Patroness? May we always receive Christ Jesus with Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, bear Him forth to the world and become great saints!