On this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I thought I'd just offer you a couple of thoughts from the Big Boys; St. Anselm (old school) and Bishop Sheen (new school, kind of). Today's celebration means that Mary, who was conceived through the loving embrace of Joachim and Anne, was kept free from original sin or its stain. This is what "immaculate" means: without stain. We believe that God gave her this grace through the redemptive death of Jesus in a pre-emptive way, because of her unique role in the history of salvation. So to Mary our Star and our Hope, thank you for your YES!
O Virgin, by Whose Blessing All Nature is Blessed!
Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night – everything that is subject to the power or use of man – rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendour by men who believe in God.
- Excerpt from a sermon by St Anselm
A New Beginning
Our human nature was very much like a polluted stream up until the Incarnation. Imagine a ship, for example, sailing in polluted waters. It wishes to sail in clear waters, but without the pollution coming from one into the other. How could the transfer of the ship be made except by a lock? So the ship in the foul waters would be put into a lock where there would be a separation of waters, then the ship would be raised to the level of the unpolluted waters. Now the Immaculate Conception and the virgin birth were that lock. The pollution stopped because there was no union of man and woman. It was simply woman alone who gave a human nature to Christ and began the new humanity.
- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
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