O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
On 8 December 1854, Pope Pius IX, speaking from his Seat of Infallibility, declared the Immaculate Conception of Mary an article of faith. According to his pronouncement in Ineffabilis Deus, Mary was given grace to be sinless at the instant of her conception. Sin was shut out of her. This teaching, however, was not without controversy. Neither Protestant nor Orthodox accept it.
Pope Pius IX Explains
“… the Blessed Virgin was through grace, entirely free from every stain of sin, and from all corruption of body, soul and mind: she was always united with God and joined by him to an eternal covenant; she was never in darkness but always in light; and therefore she was entirely a fit habitation for Christ, not because of the state of her body, but because of her original grace.” ~Pope Pius IX~
The Catechism of the Catholic Church Teaches
To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace” In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son” The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.
Disagreement with the Doctrine
Many take issue with the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception because they believe Jesus to be the only being ever conceived without sin. This, however, is a misunderstanding. What they are missing is the fact that Jesus had no beginning. He existed from eternity. Jesus is divine and in that, He was not conceived, He was begotten. The Nicene Creed professes, “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial of one Being with the Father……..”
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Enlightens ~ God’s Finest Masterpiece
Saint Maximilian Kolbe struggled with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception because it appeared to give divinity to Our Lady and, although he had a deep devotion to her, he knew she was not divine. He prayed, “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception? Not God, for God has no beginning. Not Adam, made from the dust of the earth. Not Eve, drawn from Adam’s body. Nor are you the Incarnate Word who already existed from all eternity and who was conceived, but is not really a “conception…………”
He came to a profound understanding and wrote, “This eternal “Immaculate Conception” (which is the Holy Spirit) produces in an immaculate manner divine life itself in the womb (or depths) of Mary’s soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception…..” He concludes this revelation by writing, “Awesome and beautiful! God’s finest masterpiece, beyond the greatest natural wonders of the world and even beyond the galaxies of stars in the cosmos, is the creature who received the highest level of sanctifying grace (which is a participation in the very life and love of God) at the moment of her conception. Second only to her Son’s own sacred humanity, nothing on earth is or ever will be more holy.” ~Saint Maximilian Kolbe~
“Awesome and beautiful! God’s finest masterpiece, beyond the greatest natural wonders of the world and even beyond the galaxies of stars in the cosmos…” This is probably one of the most beautiful descriptions of Our Lady ever written.
The Protevangelium Account
The Protevangelium Account is a legend about the birth of Mary which was written about 150 A.D.
This legend tells us that Joachim was fasting in the wilderness while Anne was in her garden mourning her barrenness. Heartbroken, as she lamented her childlessness, an angel appeared to Anne and promised her that she would conceive. So great was her faith that Anne believed in the angel’s words and went to her husband to share this promise. With deep faith and great trust, they joyfully embraced.
Anne conceived and they named their daughter Mary (In Hebrew the meaning of the name Mary is: Wished-for child). These faithful parents dedicated their child to God and kept her from evil. When Mary was three years old, she was presented in the temple where she danced on the third step of the altar. The legend tells that “all of the house of Israel loved her. Joseph was named as her protector and was chosen as her betrothed.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and as we celebrate this day, we offer gratitude to Our Father for having created Mary, the Theotokos. Without Our Lady, there would be no salvation for us. Without her Fiat, we would have no Savior and no chance to cross the veil into His Kingdom. Today we give thanks to her Son who with His last breath, gave His mother to us to be our mother. Today, the Second Sunday in Advent, we offer gratitude for these blessings and all the blessings Our God has so generously bestowed upon us.
Marilyn Nash http://www.Gardenias4Lina.com