Whenever it comes time to reflect upon the life of the Mother of God, I find myself asking why she is so holy? What is it that seems to separate her from the rest of us in such a definitive manner? The seemingly obvious answer is that she is the Mother of God and as such was preserved from the effects of Original Sin. Hence, today’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But I do not think that this is the real answer! Let me explain.

I think that the root cause of the holiness of Mary, apart from the fact that it is the grace of God at work in her life, is her simple and prompt obedience to the will of God. The Scriptures often speak about the primacy of obedience and Jesus himself affirms this truth when he refers to those who do the will of His Father in Heaven as His mother, sister and brother. Or, blessed is the one who hears the Word of God and keeps it rather than the womb that bore Him or the breasts that suckled Him. Here the focus is clearly on discipleship and all that it means to place one’s life in the service of the Gospel and not just do what one wants to do and leave it at that!

Discipleship is the real key to holiness. It is what sets the Mother Teresas of this world apart from the rest of us. She was a woman who lived her life with a very clear focus on doing what God wanted her to and doing it straight away! Delaying obedience can often be obedience denied, or so I heard or read someone say once. I think this is very true. There is no point shutting the gate after the horse has already gone! We need to be very clear about all of this in our lives and make sure that we respond promptly to all that God asks us to do. We need to remember that no matter how hard something may seem to be at first sight, God gives us the strength and grace to do it through His Holy Spirit.

How prompt am I in my obedience to god’s Word? Do I tend to delay my obedience to God and others?

Lord Jesus, thank you for the grace of the Holy Spirit in my life. Help me to rely upon Him for all the strength that I need to be obedient to your will for my life.