Mary, who is virtually the only venerated feminine image of the divine to be found in the monotheistic religions, ought to be of particular interest in our era as we struggle to modify or enrich patriarchal traditions. Within the tradition of Holy Mother Church itself, it is striking to realize how early, how complete, and how warmly loving is the picture of Mary and her role in salvation history. Mary has been always been seen by the Saints as Regina Caeli – Queen of Heaven and Corde Ecclesiae – Heart of the Church.
The Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once pointed to the fact: “that if one could make his own mother, wouldn’t he make her perfect, wouldn’t he love her so much that he would protect her from any harm, from any fall, from any blemish? Well, the Son of God did create His own mother!” To add to this, Blessed John Duns Scotus, a son of St. Francis – a member of the greatest defenders of Our Lady’s singular privilege – stated: “Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit… roughly translated – God could do it, He should do it, and by golly God did do it!” Our Blessed Mother was saved by God in an extraordinary way for she was preserved from mortal sin. Whereas we are picked up after the fall and cleansed, Mary was prevented from falling and thus was stainless.
When we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, we should be more fully aware of the battle that rages between good and evil. “I will put enmities between thee and the woman (Genesis 3:15)” – it was with these Words that God declared the Immaculate Conception to our first parents. Mary was conceived without Original sin so as to cut off her relationship with the Serpent! The Roman Missal directly states the reason: “it was to be the reversal of the friendship with the serpent contracted by Eve, when she listened to his voice and fell under his power.” It is for this reason that we understand that for if Mary was without grace, she would be in Satan’s camp. No, it would not be right that she who was to crush and conquer Satan would first be crushed by him. A prophecy pointing to Our Lady in the Song of Songs states the following about the fair bride of the Bridegroom: “You are all beautiful my love, and there is no blemish in you (Song of Songs 4:7.)” We can also cite St. Luke’s Gospel where Mary is spoken of as being Gratia Plena – Full of Grace. True fullness of grace would be lacking if she came into this world in sin.
Dear friends, let us not give in to the illusion that sin does not exist. It has existed since the Creation and it exists now. Sin will always be present whenever man tries to separate himself from God, ceases to acknowledge his own dependence on God, and refuses God’s gifts. Pride is the primal, fundamental, original sin, which denies the faithfulness of God and leads to disobedience to the Divine Will. Our Blessed Mother broke that mold! Her Humility broke pride! Her Yes was the no to evil and Satan! This Advent Season let us remember this great aspect of the life of the Blessed Virgin. For without her yes, we would not have the crib on Christmas nor the Cross on Calvary on the Friday that changed the world!
God raised Mary as a beacon of hope for us. Let us look up to that beacon and follow her as our guide! O Maria, sine labe concepta, Ora pro nobis qui ad te confugimus! O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
TLM Society of San Francisco