Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

A New Conception of Humanity

We shouldn't think that any of the graces given to the Blessed Virgin Mary are weird, or out of place, even if they are singular and just for her. Everything that God has done for the Blessed Virgin in a particular way, He wants to do for us in a general way; everything for her in a miraculous way, for us in a progressive, natural way.

The Immaculate Conception is a perfect example of a grace that we shouldn't find odd. He spared her from the curse of Original Sin and all its effects from the moment of her (immaculate) conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. By our baptism he cleanses us of all sin, including original sin, the sin we inherit from our origins, and its effects upon us are loosened for now, and eventually, at the resurrection, obliterated entirely. Mary was granted the particular grace of the Immaculate Conception so that she would be a fitting mother to bear God into the world. We are baptized so to receive God when He comes to us, and by virtue of our baptism, are able to bear Him to others in the world. God gave Mary the grace never to go near death. He gives us daily the grace to walk away from it.

Because of her Immaculate Conception she never needed, nor ever did, taste death. She was a living challenge to sin and death, just by her manner of living and being. As the culmination to a sinless life, she was brought bodily into the realms of light before death yet scarred her. We who, unlike the Virgin of Virgins, are born into the sinfulness of the human family, taste death in our daily life - anger, hatred, mockery, violence, malice, sickness, suffering, warfare - and will finally taste death in its fullness; but not in its finality. By living a life structured by the sacraments and soaked in the Sacred Scriptures, in unity with our Christian brethren, and in as nearly constant prayerful union as we can manage, we ourselves will push back the domain of sin wherever we go, undoing hatred, suffering, and even death. Since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a hope that the world just doesn't get, doesn't understand - the hope of resurrection for ourselves. Because of this great hope, we can even freely embrace life's sufferings and so will not be cowed by them into sinning. Death, which does us in, is undone by Christ. This process begins for each human in baptism; it begins for humanity in the Immaculate Conception.

Don't forget that today is a Holy Day of Obligation. Yes, you just went to Mass yesterday. Sweet! We all get to go again, and praise and worship God at the Sacrifice of His Son, today for the great gift He has given us in His Mother.

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