Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Sometimes we feel as if we are out of sync with the rest of the world. We care about things that the rest of the world simply ignores.
As we finish the first week of Advent, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The majority of our community would not even know the feast – much less care about its observance. This Marian feast is a holy day of obligation and reflects the plan of salvation, in that Mary was conceived without original sin. Most Catholics would be befuddled at the term “original sin.” The sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, had consequences for all of the human family. Original sin really is an insightful understanding of the human inclination to choose to do evil over good. It separated us from God’s ultimate plan and necessitated a divine act to reconcile us and restore salvation for us. Mary would be the person who would bring the Savior into the world.
The fact that it is a holy day of obligation has been lost – even on Catholics – but there are still some that fashion their days around the celebration of the feast. Mary Immaculate is the patroness of the United States, which might inspire a prayer or two for our country. If you’ve been following the news, you know that it needs our prayers.
I am sure that many find Catholicism strange, wondering why we place so much stock in ancient stories about virgin birth, Immaculate Conception and the need for a Messiah. The simple answer is that it is the truth given to us from God’s revelation. The truth is that God loves us and demonstrates that love through His willingness to be one with us. This is what the incarnation is all about. But, we shouldn’t be shocked that we must still witness to the truth and publicly proclaim our allegiance to the King of Kings. John’s Gospel (1:10) “He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.”
So even if we are out of sync with the world, Advent helps us to be in sync with “mystery” which speaks to the soul and prepares us for a life beyond this world. Our preparation includes following Jesus who tells us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the December 9, 2014 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.