Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Immaculate Conception

oday is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which refers to the fact that Mary, Mother of Christ, was preserved from any stain of sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, Anne.

Many might ask if this means that the Catholic Church holds that Mary was never in need of, or indeed, received, salvation. Mary, like all of humanity, was in need of salvation by Jesus Christ, through no work of her own. Catholics, like all Christians, believe that "by grace are you saved, through faith" (Ephesians 2:8).

Mary had faith from the very beginning. Mary's "yes" was the means through which God the Father chose to send His Son into the World. Unlike us, God is outside of time. He has always known that this young girl from Nazareth would (and from His divine perspective, already did) accept Christ, not only into her soul, but into her very body as well. How could Mary *not* be saved?

Mary's acknowledgement of God as her savior is preserved for all time in the Magnificat prayer from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verses 46-55.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with His arm:

He has scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,

and exalted those of low degree.

He has filled the hungry with good things;

and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

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Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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