Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patronal Feastday of the United States
This is the patronal feast of the United States. In other countries such feasts are often holidays, causes of national celebration, processionse– and yet, this feast of our nation goes virtually unnoticed by most Catholics. It is not mentioned in our pocket calendars.
And yet, this feast seems singularly appropriate for our country, which is the home of a “whatever” indifference to the beauty of innocence. Of course, that is only a veneer indifference. We as a nation are haunted by the “virgin wilderness” many of our ancestors discovered on this continent. We have been torn to pieces because of issues surrounding violation of the sexual innocence of children. And yet, we live in a world which is also cynically convinced that no such thing really exists, and we are preyed upon by those who profit from the destruction of innocence in the media.
Our “Pilgrim Fathers” rejoiced that a fresh start could be had on this continent, the “New Jerusalem.” And yet there is only one New Jerusalem, and her name is Mary. There is only one fresh start given humanity, and that is the fresh start prepared by the Trinity before time began, that which was triggered when Mary said “yes” to God’s will for her. Only she, untainted by any stain of sin, could give that wholehearted “yes” which incarnate in her Son won our salvation. Mary is the only true “wilderness area.” Let us revere the awesome beauty of this holy, innocent, sinless – spotless – virgin yet most fruitful territory, and rejoice in the hope she offers us in God’s fathomless generosity and mercy toward us fallen creatures.