The Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” You have found favor with God, or you were blessed and received a special grace from God. What a great privilege to hear words like that. When we hear this Gospel reading for the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception, we may think that from now on Mary will always be happy, safe, protected, and that her life will be peaceful and joyful. However, we know what happens later. We know that by accepting the will of God and becoming the Mother of the Son of God, this didn’t save her from the challenges and difficulties of this life. More than that, because she said YES, she experienced even more pain and sadness -- her husband Joseph wanted to divorce her after he found out that she was pregnant. She gave birth in a poor stable. Then King Herod wanted to kill her newborn child and so she had to run away. And when Jesus was older, she witnessed how many people treated Him badly and wanted to kill Him, and finally they did. Mary was under the cross watching her Son die. Saying YES to God’s will does not always mean that our life here will be perfect. No. Mary is showing us that saying YES to God means to fulfill His will until the end. This life will not be perfect, but if we persevere to the end, then our reward will be great in Heaven.