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Immaculate Conception by eazyjay4(m): 7:56am On Dec 08, 2015
Reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

On the 25 March in 1858 the twelve-year old peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous felt drawn to the grotto where a beautiful lady had been appearing to her frequently since 11 February that year. Bernadette asked her who she was, and the lady in white said in the local dialect, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  It would be difficult to say how much that statement might have meant to the barely literate Bernadette. The clergy knew its significance. Only four years earlier Pope Pius IX had defined the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of faith. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

There can be some confusion about the meaning of this doctrine. Some people confuse it with the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. No. The Immaculate Conception is the conception of Mary. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary was never in a state of lacking grace; meaning that from the very first moment of her existence, Mary was the most beloved of God and enjoyed grace, which made her holy, sharing in the life of the Trinity. Mary was full of grace and goodness. Grace which exempted Mary from original sin preserved her also from the sting of concupiscence, or inordinate love of creatures, and tendency to evil. The first sin of Adam brought on us a deluge of evils, and by the two wounds of ignorance and concupiscence which it has left in us its malignity has spread its influence over all the powers of our souls.

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary having been preserved from the stain of original sin, freely cooperated with God's plan of salvation, despite the fact she didn't fully understand what was demanded. That is what this feast day celebrates. It celebrates Mary’s unique role, her cooperation with God in the mystery of redemption, in the Word made flesh. It celebrates her uniqueness. She is unique, in that she is conceived without original sin. God preserved her through the redemption of Christ from the moment of her conception. Mary never committed a sin.

The preface of today's solemnity relates Mary to her Son. One reason for the Immaculate Conception according to this beautiful preface is that it would have been completely inappropriate for the Mother of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity to have been under the reign of sin.  Our own epoch has, sadly, lost both a sense of sin and a sense of holiness, so that it may be difficult for us to even feel or appreciate the urgency of sinlessness in the Mother of God. There is definitely an utter incompatibility between God and sin, and by God’s grace alone, Mary was preserved from original sin and was chosen to be a worthy mother of the Son of God. In being the mother of God she is also the purest of virgins to bring forth God's Son.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church goes on to state:
The “splendour of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.  The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”. CCC 492

In the gospel narrative, Mary gives her divine fiat - "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me". We can immediately see Mary's obedience to the will of God despite the fact that she didn't fully comprehend the full extent of the commitment required of her. Do we see the hand of God at work in our own lives? Often times, we may not see the full picture or the full extent of what God requires of us, but it suffices to state that we must be willing and ready to allow God to use us. We must be available and accessible for the service of God and humanity. God himself says to us, "Before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you and have consecrated you..." Jer 1:4.  

Mary is a model of discipleship for us because she said yes to God and cooperated with God’s plan by becoming the mother of Jesus. We honor Mary because she is the Mother of Jesus and our Mother as well. We can grow closer to God through Mary because of the special place she has in relationship to Jesus.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church further opines that "from among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. “Full of grace”, Mary is “the most excellent fruit of redemption” (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life." CCC 508

Adam and Eve were both created immaculate--without original sin or its stain. They fell from grace, and through them mankind was bound to sin. Christ and Mary were also conceived immaculate. They remained faithful, and through them mankind was redeemed from sin. Christ is thus the New Adam, and Mary the New Eve.

The Catechism notes: As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.”  Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”

Conclusively, today’s feast further teaches us about faith. Faith commits us to a life of searching but at the end of the day, we have to let God be God. Mary is blessed not only because she believed but also acted on that belief. She heard the word and kept it. We too can become holy like Mary if we hear the word of God and act on it. Mary’s deepest hunger for each and every one of us is to do the will of the Father, to know her Son, and to live in communion with Him.

Prayer: May we have true devotion to Mary and that in our devotion to Mary, she as a mother will lead us to her son, Jesus Christ, who is our brother. May each one of us, through our devotion to Mary, be able in our own weaknesses and in our own struggles, to speak the words of Mary and make them our words, "Behold I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
Re: Immaculate Conception by urahara(m): 10:03am On Dec 08, 2015
Immaculate conception ko. Immaculate deception ni

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