A message from Fr Richard Gibbons during Advent..


“As we approach Christmas, I would like to reflect on the hope that Mary offers us on our journey through Advent.


We’ve always loved Mary as part of our journey of faith in Ireland. She seems to have tapped into the veins of our belief in a natural way. We even have a special translation in Irish for Mary. Not Máire, as usual for someone called Mary, but Mhuire – a name all to herself.


Mary gives every one of us hope in the growing struggles of life. The struggles presently of Covid, what a post-Covid world might look like, our health, financial or even relationship issues. We have, to a certain extent, an idealised concept of Mary – quiet, unassuming, docile, perfect in every way.


A view that is wholly unreal and an illusion. She was a mother. She worried about her son. She worried when he was lost at 12 years of age in Jerusalem. She turned up at another time in his ministry with some of her extended family in tow to bring him back home. She thought he had lost his mind. She suffered seeing her own son die on the cross.


Mary is the woman of the people who challenges us to believe that God can do so much more with us than we can actually believe or understand.

She is the woman whose son delights in God’s choice of her, whose spirit soars because God has not overlooked this lowly handmaid.


For people struggling, Mary expresses our hope in the liberating power of God. For us, Mary is not a statue or a picture , but a real and powerful expression that change can be brought about in the world when God’s choices and God’s preferences are taken seriously. She is the little one, the lowly servant made great by the choice of God, almost inexplicable in our comprehension.


She is the one to lead us to Christ. She is the one to guide us.


What better guide than her to show us on the way to her son this Advent?”


This message was first published as a recording on the Catholic Bishops Digital Advent Calendar on the 8th December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Find out more…