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02.02.2023 01:52:09 2044x read.
Immaculata Conceptio (The Immaculate Conception of Mary) Fr. B.S. Mardiatmadja SJ

Immaculata Conceptio (The Immaculate Conception of Mary)

Fr. B.S. Mardiatmadja SJ


It has been a very long time since I served as altar boy in the Chapel of the Brothers of the Immaculate Conception, Yogyakarta in 1974. Since then, I have been serving very often there. I have always enjoyed the service. The joy has always been much more every feast-day of the immaculate conception. The brothers have always had a beautiful feast day, every 8th of December. Well, you know, I wanted to join the FIC congregation too, but later on, I went to the minor seminary and then joined the Society of Jesus. But the first job that they gave me was in the secretariat of a Marian Congregation: in the same spirituality as the FIC Brothers. Well, that was a great joy. Joyful experience is a certain moment, when our heart is touched by something, that makes nearly everything in us cling, or warmed by someone, who enters our heart through our deepest part, or a certain happening, that clings with a certain melody, that has never happened when we were touched by anybody else.


The first time I had the opportunity to go to Lourdes, I remember, I was very deeply touched. I remember the stories Bro. Simplicianus told me about the meaning of “Onbevlekte Ontvangenis”. It is the beginning of the whole ecclesiological story that I teach the seminarians in Jakarta. Because, Mary has answered “Yes” to the angel Gabriel, so as to “enable the Son of God to be our anthropological Brother and afterwards our friend, even in the supernatural way” to save us (Lk 1:26-38). In the meantime, I was joyful too, when I studied theology, and found out that the Council Fathers of the Second Vatican have given the whole 8th part of Lumen Gentium to our Mother Mary, following the Fathers of the Ephesian Council.


In the meantime, I have written a book on Mary about her whole acceptance of the Spiritual Calling, to be the Mother of the Son and His Partner, to be on the Apostleship of the Merciful Father. Afterwards, I wrote a book on Joseph, whom Mary was betrothed. I remember how I have long meditated that it would have been very hard for him to ‘say yes’ to ‘serve the Holy Family for saving us’. From the film “Mary the Mother of Jesus” I understand, that Joseph loved Mary very deeply as his wife. And then he was invited by God to love her as the mother of her Son and his Savior. Our Brother, Pope Francis, has invited us to deeply mediate on the whole situation. After the ‘synodal letter’ (October 2021) we can now understand in a  deeper sense, how we have been inserted in the whole happening: walking together with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, to accept the Will of the Father, in inviting the Young Lady, to co-educate the Son to bring us to the Father. This has sounded deep in me, so that I am brought to the inner part of myself. Especially, the feelings that make me very close to Mother Mary is that she is deeply immaculate. It is also possible to think and feel her fondly as my Mother, when I know that she is very much united with Jesus, who calls me His dear friend (John 15:15).


Here we see a very deep relationship with the vocation of Brother Bernardus and friends at the beginning of the FIC Congregation. He had received also the vocation, like Mary and Joseph, to make a communal discernment, to educate “the friends of Jesus”, namely young kids, to be “the sacrament of the love of God” (LG a.1). In order to be able to serve God that way, Mary and the Brothers of the FIC Congregation, have to make the love of God as the true love, and the only one that bind them together. 


Then the Ephesus Council underlined the whole happening to mean that Mary, who is the Mother of Jesus Christ, is the Mother of God. That has paved the way for our conviction that Mary is also the Mother of the Church. In the 19th century, Our Lady told Saint Bernadette Soubirous that the Lord has put her into ‘a very clean situation’, without any sin. The theologians have understood, that a person, who has such a deep relationship with the Son of God, cannot be ‘blemished by any sin’. There have been so many instances to show how our Lady is very near to every Christian heart, because of her being full of the Spirit. She helps us to be the Friends of Jesus the Messiah (John 15:15). He has personally given us the Holy Spirit, so that we can be full of the Spirit, to wait for His Second Coming (John 20:22). In this situation, it has not been easy to find many voices in the Church that ask for a document in the Second Vatican Council. But the Council Fathers have decided to see Mary as the Mother of Jesus, i.e. also our Mother in the Church. That was the reason why the 8th part of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium was destined to be on Mary.


Until now, I have been many years teaching the Catholic Seminarians and also future Protestant Ministers. I see and hear so many positive signs, how so many people love Mary: especially as our Immaculate Mother. There are more and more Protestant Churches, who love Mary and pray to Mary. There are more and more people, who go to Lourdes, Fatima and Indonesian Marian Holy places. Let us continue to love our Holy Mother Mary, the Immaculate Mother because of the Immaculate Conception. You should have the same feeling like me, if you, 60 years ago have entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus, and have celebrated the feast of Mary as your first Mass (9th September 1962) in Girisonta, Ungaran, Indonesia. Some years afterwards, I was ordained priest on 8th December 1973: on the Feast-day of the FIC Brothers and when my mother celebrated also her Patroness in Jogjakarta.


I have another important ‘supporter’ in my devotion to Mary in the person of Saint John Paul II, who has written a modern reflection on Mary’s Immaculate Conception, when he wrote ‘Redemptoris Mater’ (1987). He has once again underlined that “Mary is full of grace” (part 1). That expression is even now very meaningful in relation to her Immaculate Conception: not because of her strength but because of the love of the Holy Spirit to realize the mission of the Father to the Son. 


Let us pray that our personal lives and communal pastoral services be blessed because of the Love of Our Holy Mother. Let us also ask her to pray for us, that we may serve the Lord, as holy as she has served her Son. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to make us as joyful as the Mother of Jesus, to be unified with Him in the presence of the Father, like this Holy Mother.


By: Fr. B.S. Mardiatmadja SJ

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