Years ago we thought that the galaxy should be swarming with intelligent life. Part of that supposition was based on there only needing to be about a dozen different variables for a planet to support life. Current thought is that there are now more than 200 parameters that must be met for life to emerge on a planet. The odds of any planet supporting intelligent life would be truly astronomical even in a galaxy with billions of stars. The universe has become much more lonely. Still it’s a big universe and Man may still meet another intelligence from out there. If we do I am confident that we will be able to coexist. After all we’ve gotten along (mostly) with women since the beginning. How difficult could aliens be?

Women are as mysterious to men as anything that may be out there among the stars. As we get older we learn a little. Mostly by a process of learning from our mistakes. We are confronted by how much we do not and will never know about the fairer sex. That’s a good thing. Men love a challenge. It keeps us on our toes. So in a man’s life there are two great mysteries… women and God.

When I was going through RCIA Fr. Klasek explained that what we normally thought of as mystery really wasn’t. It was not the Sherlock Holmes type of mystery. A whodunit. There are merely problems. A situation with a definitive answer that can be discovered. A true mystery can never fully be known or understood. We can learn in part and understand some, but the entirety of knowing shall always escape us. Logic and revelation can only lead us so far down the path, never arriving at the final destination.

This Thursday we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. While this is a commemoration of Mary’s conception without sin during Advent it is hard not to also reflect on why this happened. Our understanding is that God applied the merits of Jesus to Mary in this way so that she could be the tabernacle of the new covenant.The New Eve. Once again the fate of creation would hang on the decision of a woman. After the disobedience in the garden God gave us a promise in Genesis 3:15:

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head,
while you strike at their heel.

Here we have the proto-evangelium. The first promise of the gospel. By Mary’s assent to become the ‘handmaid of the Lord’ she became the Theotokos, literally the ‘God-bearer’ or the Mother of God. And so the story of our salvation continues with God dwelling with us.

As a man I can only contemplate this in humility and wonder. This was the moment. The gates of Heaven began to creak. Yearning to burst open after Christ’s salvific work. In God there is no doubt. Doubt is for humans exercising their free will. I say this moment was the lynch pin. These two great mysteries of a man’s life conspired together without the input of any man. That conspiracy began the mystery of our redemption and the restoration of the kingdom. While it is not yet perfectly realized we work and wait for that day of the Son of Man and the final inauguration of His kingdom.

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