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Alma Redemptoris Mater

Friday, December 08, 2006
Feast of the Immaculate Conception - 8 December 2006

Readings: Genesis 3:9-15.20; Psalm 97:1-4; Ephesians 1:3-6. 11-12; Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel went in and said to Mary ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you’ (Luke 1:28).

Today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a time to remember God’s great gift to Mary who from the first moment of her existence in her mother’s womb found favour in the sight of God. How appropriate that it is during Advent that we commemorate this event which draws us more intimately into the final stages of the Father’s plan of redemption, the final preparations before the Saviour appears on earth and God's plan is brought to fulfilment. By this great privilege to Mary, God prepares her more worthily to be the Mother of Christ and the Mother of all the Redeemed.

Advent is a time for us too to prepare to welcome Christ. It is a time to ask our Father more fervently for the grace to reject everything that keeps us from him so that we may more joyfully greet his Son when he comes. Sin always makes us anxious and often, like Adam in the garden, afraid. As we approach Christmas, however, we must heed the angel’s message to Mary and learn to rejoice at the peace that Christ comes to bring. We can pray to Mary to help us find this peace – Alma Redemptoris Mater – Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again… You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.


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