Immaculate Conception

Day 9 – December 7: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word”

Mary’s words are a brave and generous “yes.”  It is the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation—to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others.  Our lives find meaning only in service to God and to other people.

There are many young people, both believers and nonbelievers, who when they come to the end of a stage in their studies, feel a desire to do something for those who are suffering.  This is a strength in young people, a strength that all of you possess.  It is a strength that can change the world.  It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world.  It is the “revolution” of service.

To be at the service of others does not mean only to be ready for action.  It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary.  She listened to what the angel said to her, and then she responded.  It is by relating to God in the silence of our hearts that we discover our identity and the vocation to which God is calling us.  It can be expressed in different ways:  in marriage, in consecrated life, in the priesthood.  All these are ways of following Jesus.  The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say “yes.”

Dear young people, take courage, enter within yourselves and say to God, “What do you want from me?”  Allow God to answer you.  Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy.

May our Lady be with you on this pilgrimage, and may her example encourage you to be brave and generous in your response.


Act of Veneration to the Immaculate Virgin Mary (Pope Francis, December 8, 2013)

Virgin most holy and immaculate, to you, the honor of our people, 
and the loving protector of our Church,
do we turn with trust and love.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary! In you there is no stain of sin.

Awaken in all of us a renewed desire for holiness:
may the splendor of truth shine forth in our words, 
the song of charity resound in our works, 
purity and chastity abide in our bodies and hearts,
and the full beauty of the Gospel be evident in our lives.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you the Word of God became flesh.

Help us always to heed the Lord’s voice:
may we never be indifferent to the cry of the poor,
or untouched by the sufferings of the sick and those in need;
may we be moved by the loneliness of the elderly
and the vulnerability of children, 
and always love and respect the life of every human being.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you is the fullness of joy born of a blessed life with God.

Help us never to forget the meaning of our earthly journey:
may the kindly light of faith illumine our days,
the comforting power of hope direct our steps,
the contagious warmth of love stir our hearts;
and may our gaze be fixed on God, in whom true joy is found.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
Listen to our prayer, graciously hear our plea:
may the beauty of God’s merciful love in Jesus remain in us,
and may this divine beauty save us,
our Church and the entire world.  Amen.

December 7, 2018 - 4:36pm

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