The Immaculata

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 19th-20th, 2014
of the Third Week of Advent

Liturgical texts here

 

 

THE Immaculate Conception of Mary is one of the most beautiful miracles in salvation history after the Incarnation—so much so, that the Fathers of the Eastern tradition celebrate her as “the All-Holy” (Panagia) who was…

…free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 493

But if Mary is a “type” of the Church, then it means that we too are called to become the Immaculate Conception as well.

 

THE FIRST CONCEPTION

The Church has always taught that Mary was conceived without sin. It was defined as a dogma in 1854—not invented, but defined then. It should be easy for Protestants to accept this truth on logic alone. For instance, Samson was a type of the Messiah whom God sent to ‘deliver’ the Israelites. Listen to the demands the angel makes of his mother:

Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean. (Friday’s first reading)

In a word, she was to be immaculate. Now, Samson was conceived through natural relations, but Jesus was to be conceived by the Holy Spirit. If God demanded that the mother of Samson be pure to prepare for the birth of their deliverer, would the Holy Spirit unite himself to one who is stained by sin? Would the Holy One, God-incarnate, take His very flesh and blood from one whose temple was defiled by original sin? Of course not. Thus, Mary was granted the “splendor of an entirely unique holiness… from the first moment of her conception.” [1]CCC, n. 492 How?

…by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ. —POPE PIUS IX, Ineffabilis Deus, DS 2803

That is, Mary was “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion” [2]CCC, n. 492 through the blood of Christ, which flows down one side of Calvary all the way to Adam, and down the other into the future, into eternity. Indeed, Jesus would some day pray Friday’s Psalm:

On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength. 

Mary needed to be “saved” first. Without Jesus, she would be eternally separated from the Father as well—but with Him, she has been granted a singular grace so as to be not only the worthy “mother of my Lord” [3]cf. Luke 1:43 and a worthy mother of the Church, [4]cf. John 19:26 but also a sign and plan of what the Church is and will be.

If any of you still doubt this great miracle, the archangel Gabriel has a simple answer for you in today’s Gospel:

…nothing will be impossible for God.

 

THE SECOND CONCEPTION

No, the Immaculate Conception does not cease with Mary. It is given also to the Church, albeit in a different mode. In Baptism, the stain of original sin is “taken away” [5]cf. John 1:29 and through the Holy Spirit, the baptized becomes a “new creation”. [6]cf. 2 Cor 5:17

Mary is the sign, but here’s the plan: that you and I would become copies of the Virgin Mary, conceiving Christ in our hearts and giving birth to Him once again in the world. This is and will be the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, for Christ incarnate came into the world to destroy the power of death:

…despoiling the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it. (Col 2:15)

While this grace has been given to the Church through the Sacraments for 2000 years, it has been reserved for these “last times” for the Blessed Mother to implore a special grace to descend upon the Church in order to blind and chain the “dragon”. [7]cf. Rev 20:2-3 This special grace is a “new Pentecost”, when the “Flame of Love” of her Immaculate Heart (who is the Spirit of Christ), will be poured out upon the Church and the world. This grace, while “crushing” the head of the serpent, will be given amidst sufferings in order to also sanctify and prepare the Bride of Christ for the end of time when Jesus will come in glory to take her to Himself for eternity…

…that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:27)

So we must first become that all-holy Bride—essentially a copy of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

The Holy Spirit, finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. —St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, n.217, Montfort Publications

Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. (Today’s Psalm) 

This is why Satan is attacking the purity of the Church in these days with all the powers of hell. Because it is precisely the purity of Mary that drew…

…favor with God. (Today’s Gospel)

The darkness of our times is really just the last thrashings of a terrified fallen angel who sees already the “morning star” rising in the hearts of a remnant who will crush him. [8]cf. 2 Pet 1:19

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I write you today to encourage you to fight because God has chosen you to receive this pentecostal grace to become the Immaculata. Perhaps you are like Mary as you read this and say, “How can this be…?” [9]cf. Today’s Gospel as you prevue things from a purely natural perspective (and perhaps looking into your heart and seeing nothing but weakness, sin, and impurity.) The answer is this: nothing is impossible with God. If you are a sinner, then make haste to Confession where you will become a new creation once more! If you are weak, then hasten to the Holy Eucharist, Who will strengthen you against the wiles of the enemy! And if you are suffering, then make your own the prayer of Mary over and over again:

May it be done to me according to your word. (Today’s Gospel)

…and I assure you:

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. (Today’s Gospel)

Can you hear the words in today’s Gospel of Gabriel once again? He is speaking them to you right now: Do not be afraid!

Towards the end of the world… Almighty God and His Holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. —St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Art. 47

My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you! (Gal 4:19)

 

RELATED READING

Magnificat of the Woman-Church

The Triumph: Part I, Part II, and Part III

The Rising Morning Star

 

 

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1, 2. CCC, n. 492
3. cf. Luke 1:43
4. cf. John 19:26
5. cf. John 1:29
6. cf. 2 Cor 5:17
7. cf. Rev 20:2-3
8. cf. 2 Pet 1:19
9. cf. Today’s Gospel
Posted in HOME, MARY, MASS READINGS.