Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day in which the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother St. Anne. Our Lady was conceived, in the view of her future role as the Mother of God, without the stain of original sin. God did this to prepare a worthy place for His son to receive human nature. It was a singular act on God to give to the Blessed Virgin the graces and privileges that she needed in order to fulfill her most important task.
All are called to holiness. We are at a disadvantage because we have been touched with the stain of original sin, and our hearts are conflicted between desiring Heaven and desiring the world. However, God has called each of us and enabled each of us to achieve the heights of sanctity. The Blessed Virgin played a vital role in this gift of God, and it is through her that grace flows because it is through her that the world receives its savior. May we rejoice today with the Blessed Virgin and commit ourselves to strive to never offend God again by our sins. Even if we do not have as lofty of a vocation as the Blessed Virgin, God still calls each of us to sanctity and has given us the means to achieve it. As we consecrate our parishes, and possibly ourselves, to the Blessed Mother today, may we be assured of her continued intercession for us.
While the rest of the theological world did not accept the Immaculate Conception – even Sts. Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Bernard – it was a more unknown blessed who gave the Church the framework to explain this doctrine. Bl. John Duns Scotus, while leaving intact everything that Our Lord accomplished on the cross for redemption, developed the notion of “prevenient grace.” It was this grace that the Blessed Virgin Mary alone received, that explains how the Lord preserved her from the stain of sin even from the very moment of conception. Bl. John Duns Scotus said: “For a most perfect mediator exercises the most perfect mediation possible in regard to some person for whom he mediates. Thus Christ exercised a most perfect act of mediation in regard to some person for whom He was Mediator. In regard to no person did He have a more exalted relationship than to Mary. Such, however, would not have been true had He not preserved Her from original sin.”
The Immaculate Conception was not accomplished primarily for Mary’s glory, but for Christ’s. While God would seek to lavish upon His mother every possible gift, God does this to show for His glory. Our Lady was most humble and the perfect handmaiden of the Lord. It is worth noting that even the reformers accepted this doctrine. You can see what Martin Luther said about the Immaculate Conception in the Catechesis section of the bulletin today. Have a blessed week ahead!