impossible? NOT!

A thought for today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception

God chose Mary at the moment of her conception for a life and a mission that was beyond what anyone had previously thought possible or even imagined.

Mary was a bit puzzled by the invitation. “But how can this be” she asked. The answer was clear: “nothing is impossible for God.” (Today’s Gospel)

Like us, Mary’s childhood was spent within an environment formed by strong presumptions, expectations and limitations. Such cultural programmings are often formed by fear.  Mary understood that God was calling her to greater love and she realised that this would involve letting go of the fears that provided an (albeit superficial and fickle) bond with her family, friends and the wider community.

The direct action of the Holy Spirit on Mary at the moment of her conception saved her from inherited (Original) sin, and enabled her to live (before Christian Baptism was instituted) the harmony and intimacy with God that we are offered today in the Sacrament of Baptism.

It is easy for us to ignore the opportunity that the grace of baptism offers us to live in relationship with God, each of us showing a unique and original dimension of the image of God. But we don’t like to put our heads above the secular mentality. Instead of becoming saints (which is our baptismal opportunity) we live as photocopies, doing similar employment in similar ways, seeking tangible measures of success. When we do this our goals are uncreative. We end up striving to drive the same cars and planning to vacation in the same resorts.

Yet we laugh at the teenagers who plead for a mufti day at school so that they can have the freedom to dress however they choose, yet on the appointed day when they arrive at school they look remarkably uniform!

Perhaps we have never really understood that the stressed existence that most of us think is a normal part of life on earth is not the way things have to be. There is a way out, and it’s not about holding on until the weekend or hanging out for a pay increase or a change of boss.

And the great news is that this change is not only possible, it is available. Adam & Eve lost sight of the fact that they were dependant on God for their happiness and instead grasped at satisfaction that seemed promising but immediately disappointed.

It’s the story of our lives, isn’t it?  Yet our experience tells us that this way of living is not really a life at all. It’s more of an existence never delivering what the depth of joy and peace the advertising and popular opinion promises.

We ignore the glimpses of hope-filled originality that are ours when we move apart from the crowds.

And for us it can seem impossible to make any change. We’ve tried before and failed slipping back into the common mentality…

An Invitation:

  • Become aware of how you would like your life to be more satisfying, more real, less superficial and programmed. Enjoy the new desire that emerges in you.
  • Allow to come to mind situations in your life and with those you love that you wish were different. Perhaps there are burdens you are carrying of insecurity, anxiety, or worries about health or money.
  • Now take as your mantra today, praying as a prayer the reminder: “Nothing is impossible for God.” If I were to offer this invitation as a prescription I would say take three once every hour from now until Christmas.
12 Responses to "impossible? NOT!"
  1. Thanks be to God that NOTHING is impossible for Him.
    Learning to trust, Having that faith that in Him ALL shall be well, brings peace to my life.
    Thank you Mary for your example of trust and faith.

    • Prompting by the Holy Spirit! I’m so glad you shared this thought today. I’ve put it on my fridge door for all to see and take to heart. Thanks.
      Catherine

  2. The young Mary speaks through this reflection with “Let it be done to me,” and the mature Mary at Cana adds, “Do whatever he tells you.” Living between these realities, we know absolutely that nothing is impossible for God.

  3. I try and spend a little time each day in silence, praying to God or just listening to what he is saying to me. I tell him I love him and asking what is will is for me and I will try and do it. You often see the many blessings God can bestow upon you. It may be a chance meeting with someone during your day who needed your help and you were there to lessen their burden. God can work through us to help people in need. Even if we just give a smile or a kind word to someone it can make all the difference.

  4. Perhaps Luke’s account of the Annunciation in today’s Gospel is a symbolic presentation of an inner encounter Mary experienced with God rather than the beautiful scene depicted so beautifully by many artists. Mary could have said “NO”. After all, she could have been rejected by Joseph and her family and, by Jewish law, been stoned to death for being pregnant outside of marriage. But she must have “pondered” long in her heart. (“Pondered” is my favourite word about Mary.) When she said “YES” to what she realised was being asked of her she could not have foreseen Simeon’s prophecy, the loss of her son for three days, his rejection by his own people in the synagogue at Nazareth, the horror of standing at the foot of the cross as her son was executed. But throughout her life Mary pondered on what God was continuing to ask of her. Just as we must, each day of our lives, ponder on what God asks of us. May Mary help us to ponder and treasure in our hearts just as she did.

  5. Scary! I read Luke 1 on day one of Advent and those words jumped out at me then, ‘Nothing is impossible for God’ and those words have already been going around in my head for a week. And now they are bouncing back at me with your post today Fr John. The angel also told Mary ‘Do not be afraid’. Maybe I’ll move to that mantra.

    I think people get confused that the Immaculate Conception is about Jesus being conceived by a virgin. But it’s about Mary being born immaculate without sin, as you say. It took me a while to work that one out.

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