This Week in Church: Difficulties and the Immaculate Conception

Welcome to the series wherein I share my take-aways from church. The things that, I think, are beneficial to all of us to know or think about, whether or not we believe in any church-related things.

I think that church can teach things that are beneficial to everyone, whether or not we believe in church-related things.

This week in church we talked about difficulties.

We all know that suffering is the thing that causes us to grow. Our biggest transformations tend to come out of the biggest difficulties. This is no surprise, but it's nice to be reminded of it when we are going through hard things.

As an aside, I was listening to a psychologist talk about the transformative effect of hardship awhile back, and he pointed out that people will often, after going through a hard thing, say that they would still go through it if they had to because it "made them into the person they are today." However, no one ever says that they would like another bad thing to happen so that they can further grow and transform. Interesting, isn't it?

So basically, good comes of bad circumstances, but we don't actually want that good enough to seek the circumstances out.

This week in church we talked about the immaculate conception.

Mostly, we talked about how it is a total mystery, which is fine, but there was one thing that struck me in particular: the readiness with which Mary accepted that mystery (or so the story goes). She almost immediately said, "yeah, okay, let's do this" to an otherworldly being calling itself an angel and saying that God was going to make her pregnant. She accepted a very poetic but non-informative explanation as to how this would work and that was it.

It made me think of adventure movies, for the inevitable moment when one character has a wild plan to get them out of their predicament, but has no time to explain it. Instead, they just say, "do you trust me?" and the other person has to go along with it because a) they do trust them and b) what the heck else are they going to do?

That is how I imagine Mary at this moment: faced with an impossible reality and saying to herself, "Well, this makes no sense and is hopefully a hallucination, but I trust God so if it's true I'd better say yes."

What is the takeaway here? I think it has something to do with not always needing to fully understand what's happening. That there is some value in embracing a mystery that comes from a source we trust.


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