Although there's a great deal in Catholicism that I appreciate, I'm not up on all the different observances, and so today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception wasn't on my radar screen. I don't know whether or not Mary was conceived or born without sin; it's not a concept that's part of my theology one way or the other.
But not a few people have suggested over the past year or so that I give some thought to Mary, and I have done so tonight. I even looked around oneline for some Immaculate Conception artwork, but most of what I found, with the exception of one icon, is of the hazy-ethereal-romantic variety -- Mary floating around in the sky with angels and such.
I wanted something more contemporary, something more reflective of the Mary to whom I have given some consideration over the past several years, if not months: a Mary who is one insistent, determined, bold, and single-minded young lady. A young woman not to be messed with. Not, you know, remotely meek or mild.
It occurs to me that the Immaculate Conception tradition might have a universal application in the hope that perhaps we are born with whatever it is we need for the life ahead of us. I don't know why the mother of Jesus would need to be sinless, although I suppose it makes sense if one believes that sin is genetically transmitted. And I don't believe that we are born with everything we need, either ~ the reality of suicide demolishes that one.
But I like the idea: the hope that we might be equipped for what is to come.
Personally, I have not felt the least bit equipped for the realities of the past fifteen months. But it seems that I am still here, still blundering around ~ equipment-less.
I wonder how Mary felt about it ~ about her own preparedness, after the death of her son.
Would it help, to be without sin?
Somehow I doubt it.