8 December, Thursday — Let us be humble and surrender to Him!

Dec 8 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this and the following eight days, the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the Divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men.

The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church, no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times.

Pope Piux IX forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally on 8 December 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin.

It is, therefore, now no longer, as formerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.

  • Patron Saint Index

Gen 3:9-15,20
Eph 1:3-6,11-12
Lk 1:26-38

“…for nothing is impossible to God.”

Pope Francis recently reminded us about the significance of humility in his second encyclical, that “We are not God.” Indeed, we have received our existence from God, and as His children, we should recognise that we are nothing without His Divine assistance.

For several years, I had been going through an internal battle almost every single night, often struggling for several hours just to sleep. Once I slept, I would be tormented by terrifying nightmares. Initially, I believed that the root of my battle had a purely psychological cause. So, I decided to take some self-care actions to overcome the battle. Listening to peaceful music, or reading a storybook until I exhausted my mind. Unfortunately, I had also developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to help me to fall asleep faster, which later led to addictions. I would be playing games, or even doom scrolling on the Internet until around 2 am. (Doom scrolling is the act of spending an excessive amount of screen time devoted to the absorption of negative news.) I even spoke about my insomnia to a mental health professional, but apart from prescribing me sleep supplements, the relief would not last. No mental health professional could help me to identify the root problem of my insomnia. I was wondering why I just could not sleep peacefully, so unlike my younger days.

So, I was trying out everything on my own effort to get rid of this thorny issue. Sleepless nights meant that my daily activities were affected too.

I was exhausted. Completely exhausted.  

Then I figured out that the cause might be spiritual. So, I tried praying. And that gave me respite for the night, though not for long. After several days, the battle would once again begin, and I simply stopped praying because of exhaustion and despair.

A few weeks ago, I decided to go for confession. I was unusually super scared of confession, but I decided to go anyway. For penance, the priest told me to pray, “Jesus, I trust in You”, ten times.

I thought that was easy. But it was not. It really was so difficult for me to say those five words. I tried to say it three times after confession, and then I realised I did not trust Jesus. I could not mean the words that I was praying, so I stopped.

A few days later, I was stuck in the same spiritual battle. I was struggling so hard not to fall on the dark side this time round, so I reminded myself that I had unfinished penance. So, I just mentally focused on the words of the “Jesus, I trust in You” prayer, even though I knew that I was actually losing the battle. Then I forced myself to bless myself with holy water, but the battle did not end. I was almost resigned to losing the battle.

And that was when I suddenly had an image of a man in my mind. His face was turned towards me, a downcast and sad face. He was wearing His white tunic and red sash. I instinctively knew it was Jesus looking at me. And then just like how the waves of the storm calmed, I slept peacefully almost immediately after that. My nights have been peaceful since then. No more battle, just Jesus, Our Lady and my guardian angel, all protecting me at my bedside.

I believe that Jesus was telling me to trust Him in the storms of life. As children of God, we are always covered by the protection of His blood. And that we must be humble to let Jesus take charge and steer our boat to wherever He wants us to be at.

For St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina said, “We are made of clay and not every soil yields the fruits expected by the one who tills it. But let us always humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are nothing if we lack the Divine assistance.”

(Today’s OXYGEN by Brenda Khoo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to be humble in life, and to trust and surrender to You, even if our boat is sinking in the storms of life. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for saving us from our storms in life, and granting us the gift of humility when we need Your grace. Amen!

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