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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

I just realized that I CAN NOT let this day pass without commenting on this beautiful mystery.

For those who are not Catholic, or for those Catholics who happen to be misinformed (hail, I was one of you in this regard), I will provide a little info.

The Immaculate Conception, contrary to popular opinion, is NOT referencing the conception of Christ, but rather, the conception of our Blessed Mother herself.

No, you cannot specifically find this in the Bible, although there are passages which strongly reference this idea. We know that our Savior broke the chain of original sin which of course, since Adam and Eve, was passed down at birth.

Christ was born without the stain of original sin. How could that be, as he was born of a woman? Simple...God is very good at planning our salvation and so he created Mary and preserved her soul at conception from the stain of original sin. The chain, then was broken, and simple, humble Mary bore the lamb of God without blemish. had a great article on this today.

Our celebration of this Holy Day is not "Mariolotry", although we clearly honor this special woman, the woman so chosen by God to bear and raise his Divine Son. We honor her because God honored her, Jesus honored her, and as we love Jesus, so we love his mother.

When we honor Mary, we do not stop with her for she does not draw our attention to herself, but rather, she points the way to Christ. Through meditation on this mystery, Mary's Immaculate Conception, we see that Mary was chosen, yes, but she did not choose herself. She did not create herself, she could not have prepared herself. Everything about this blessed mystery points to Christ, points to God and God's plan for salvation. We honor Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant, and our understanding leads us on to greater knowledge of God.

In looking at this one mystery, it's very much like climbing a hill, and once we reach the summit, we see the breathtaking valley below us, seeming to go to all the ends of the earth...such is contemplation upon the Immaculate Conception. One cannot just stop with the idea of Mary's conception, but must move on and ponder the infinity of God, the eternity of God, the timelessness outside of our puny minds and understanding. We enter into other mysteries, such as the understanding of the Trinity, the transubstantiation, the communion of saints.

Indeed, although we honor our Blessed Mother, and deservedly so, she stands with us as a guide and gives praise to God for he is good, and his mercy endures forever. She stands as a good mother, bringing our attention to where it ought to be.

Hail, Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with Thee.
Blessed Art thou amongst women
And Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinnners,
Now, and at the hour of our death

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