Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. The Gospel reading comes from Luke 1. The angel Gabriel came to Mary to let her know that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son, to be named Jesus. After Mary fully understood the message, she responded, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." When I heard that read, I sensed the beauty in obedience to God. This is no slavery; on the contrary, it is the path to freedom. This is the way it should be ~ all of us creatures obeying our Creator.