Have you ever seen “The Family Man,” a film starring Nicholas Cage? Cage’s character is an wealthy businessman who’d made a choice thirteen years earlier to leave behind the woman he was to marry to pursue his professional dreams. But then one day he wakes up to find he’s been given a glimpse of what might have been if he’d made a different choice. He’d married the woman instead of having left her. She’s loyal and loving, and they have two beautiful children and a supportive network of friends. Having experienced this, Cage comes to regret the choices he’d made. So when he’s returned to his real life, he fights valiantly to restore what he had lost, and make a reality the glimpse he’d been given of what might have been.
In Mary, our mother, you and I are given a glimpse of what might have been if different choices had been made, if the choice to sin had never been made, leaving us with a fallen human nature. Through the Immaculate Conception, God preserved Mary from this condition, allowing us to behold in her a life of perfect faith, love, and obedience to God’s will. We see in Mary what we might have been today.
However, Mary’s witness should give us, not only a longing for what might have been, but also a sign for what might yet be. This is because Mary’s Immaculate Conception made possible the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, who came to heal us, and restore what had been lost. Through Jesus, we can hope that the perfection Mary enjoyed on earth might be ours to enjoy one day in heaven. Which makes our commemoration today, not an occasion of longing and regret, but a celebration of gratitude and hope.
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