It’s funny how year after year we do things, like observe or celebrate days, and they pass without extra thought.
Today is December 8th and the Immaculate Conception of Mary.It is a holy day of obligation, but I think that even if it weren’t, as our church is named for this feast, we would still enjoy our patron’s day.
At church today, we had the Mass, filled with music followed by hospitality in the gathering space. Sweet breads with apples, cranberries, nuts. Clementines. All varieties of bagels. Coffee, tea, water and juice. Our hospitality ministry really outdoes itself each and every time.
We celebrate Mary’s conception, but we also talk about and remember her Son’s conception, the annunciation, the visitation, the assumption, all the things Mary represents. Our musical director has a beautiful voice, and sings Ave Maria, a rendition that makes me want to simply close my eyes and open my ears and let the prayer rest on my heart.
It wasn’t until later, until after I left, as I thought about all the ways I’m attached to Mary, as a mother, as a daughter, putting the world ahead of her own needs as all mothers do. We give to our kids all the time; so much so that we often don’t even notice we’re doing it.
I glanced at the calendar and realized quite suddenly that my mother died twelve years ago today. I hadn’t noticed because for her yartzeit, her memorial candle, we follow the Jewish calendar, and so her anniversary is the first night of Chanukah, which changes each year. This year it is on Christmas Eve, so that is the date on my mind, but physically, it was today.
She died before I wandered into the church, so I never made the association before today. My mother shares her day with Mary, Mother of All.
It was comforting.