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THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY by Fr. Linh

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY

Rev. Linh N. Nguyen

 

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is not a hypothetical concept, but a doctrine affirming that “the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of God omnipotent and because of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race, free from all stain of Original Sin,” as stated by Pope Pius IX in his declaration of the dogma, December 8, 1854.

 

Four years later, in 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old girl living near Lourdes in southern France, went out to gather firewood for her family. While walking near a grotto, she experienced a vision of a young woman dressed in white and holding a rosary. Later, during another apparition of the young woman in white, Bernadette asked her very simply, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

 

Pope Pius IX’s declaration and Mary’s verification of her title Immaculate Conception substantiate that the Virgin Mary was conceived in the state of perfect integrity, free from Original Sin and its consequences, in virtue of the redemption achieved by Christ on the cross. It was only fitting that she who was to bear the Savior of the world should herself be preserved by Him from sin and its consequences and so be the first to benefit from what He would obtain for the whole human race.

 

That Mary was immaculate in her conception and sinless in her life has been believed and taught by many saints and doctors of the Church from early times. For example, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says, “Whoever heard of an architect who built himself a temple and yielded up first possession of it to his greatest enemy?”

 

The feast of the Immaculate Conception has been celebrated in many part of the Western Church for more than a thousand years. It was solemnly defined as a doctrine in 1854 as said earlier. In our time, the Feast Day is the National Feast Day of the United States and North America. It is a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States and many other countries. 

 

Its basic teaching is that in order for God to become man, there had to be a woman who would be the Mother of God. Since every­thing in this birth was to be extraordinary, divine, it is particularly appropriate for God’s infinite purity that the first sanctuary in which he would dwell should be provided with the most venerable purity. This sanctuary had to be exempt from the slightest blemish.

 

In addition, it was fitting that Jesus who was coming to save the world through his blood should receive it from a Mother whose blood had never been touched by any form of concupis­cence. She had been chosen from all eternity for this marvelous work.

 

God said to the serpent [Satan], “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” (Genesis 3:15).

 

Therefore, from the moment that she was conceived in her mother’s womb, God had picked Mary for his own special purpose. He preserved her from sin so that she might conceive the Christ in her womb.

 

The angel Gabriel sent by God addressed Mary as “full of grace.” Mary’s title “full of grace” provides the foundation for our belief in her “immaculate conception.” Mary was conceived immaculate in the heart of God from the beginning, not because of her goodness, but because of God’s own goodness.

 

God chose Mary in a special way to be a co-operator with his plan of salvation. In other words, she was to be the instrument of salvation for all those whom her Son came to restore to true life. Mary was especially chosen by God, so are we. Saint Paul declares, “God chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.” (Ephesians 1:4)

 

God loves us so much that he wants us to be with him. Saint Paul declares this to be part of God’s plan before the foundation of the world. Mary shared in this plan through the special privilege of being prepared by God to be a fitting mother for God-­made-man.

 

It is the same God who loves Mary and who loves us. There is no difference between Mary and ourselves. She was singled out to be saved by God, but so are we. She was specially loved by God, but so are we. The difference is that she realized it. We don’t. That is why God could be born in her. Why not follow her this Advent?

 


This article was published on Monday 06 December, 2010.

Back to main topic: STUDY THE WORD OF GOD
ADULTERY
THIS POOR WIDOW PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS
CHRIST WILL RETURN WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY
YOU SAY I AM A KING
BASILICAS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL
THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
CHRISTMAS
YOUR REDEMPTION IS AT HAND
GOD’S PROMISES IN ADVENT
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF ECUMENISM
WE NEED ADVENT!
WE SAW HIS STAR AT ITS RISING AND HAVE COME TO DO HIM HOMAGE
EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US!
THE BLIND BOY AND HIS SIGN
EPIPHANY
WHEN JESUS HAD BEEN BAPTIZED AND WAS PRAYING, HEAVEN WAS OPENED
ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
GOD KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS BORN
GOD IS LOVE
“THE MOTHER OF MY LORD SHOULD COME TO ME.”
THE LAST EIGHT DAYS IN THE ADVENT SEASON
HIS PARENTS FOUND JESUS SITTING IN THE MIDST OF THE TEACHERS.
MARY – “MOTHER OF GOD”
WHETHER THE BLESSED VIRGIN SHOULD BE CALLED THE MOTHER OF GOD?
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
WHETHER THE BAPTISM OF JOHN WAS FROM GOD
WHETHER IT WAS FITTING FOR CHRIST TO BE BAPTIZED WITH JOHN’S BAP
JESUS TURNS WATER TO WINE

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