Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary, our model of a sinless life
(Luke 1: 26-38)
Is life without sin possible?
Imagine someone asking you to answer the question: -Is life possible without sin? After the personal experience, the answer would be that a life without sin is impossible. Yes, our lives are marked by corruption. Let’s also think like this: Can we imagine clean and dirty things? For example clothes, flat, hands, cutlery or plates, car … Sure. Consequences mark our life after the sin of our grandparents. Today we commemorate the Church’s teaching that the Virgin Mary was “saved” and not “freed” from any evil. This is a challenge, a memento, an encouragement for each of us to make a more significant effort to protect each sin. Today’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception is an opportunity to reflect on your life as a way to preserve every sin. Let the words of the Virgin Mary remind us especially:
“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38).
These words will be spoken freely by the Virgin Mary at the angel’s proclamation. First, she listens to the announcement that her angel Gabriel is interpreting. It is a strange message that cannot be compared to history. Mary is to conceive a child. Mary is a woman and is no different from other women. There is a correct remark in the Gospel that he asks the angel, “For this, I will not know the man” (Luke 1:34). God acts in His love to save the world through one woman. Already in Paradise, words related to the Annunciation event were heard. At that time, in the so-called “protoevanjelije” of the first good news, God said to the devil: “I have set enmity between you and the woman, between your descendants and her descendants; Here is the beginning of the truth about the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which we know from the symbol of Mary standing with her feet on the serpent’s head. Mary does not do so of her power but the grace of her Son. This text of Scripture points to the unique significance of the holiness of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is the only woman from the human race who has been freed from any sin, including hereditary, so that she can fulfill the words that God has already said in Paradise.
Pope Pius XII In the encyclical “Fulgens corona” in 1953, to commemorate the centenary of the definition of the truth of the faith of the Immaculate Conception, he argues: If the Blessed Virgin Mary were deprived of God’s grace at some point because it was no longer an eternal enmity between her and the serpent, at least at this time, albeit as brief as the one in the original tradition, until the solemn proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, but somewhat inevitable enslavement (cf. AAS 45/1953/579).
Therefore, the absolute hostility that God has determined between the woman and the devil requires an immaculate conception in the Virgin Mary, that is, complete sinlessness from the beginning of her life. The Son of the Virgin Mary was defined as a victor over the devil, and his Mother had rejoiced before saving her from sin. Her son gave her the power to overcome the devil, and so in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, he realized the most significant consequence of his redemptive work. The angel gives Mary the title “full of grace.” Paradise proves that the devil has no power over her because God has given her this privilege, which is the beginning of a new order, the fruit of friendship with God, and involves a deep enmity between the snake and humans.
In the book of the Revelation of St. John, there is a biblical testimony favoring the Immaculate Virgin Mary, where John writes of her as a woman clothed with the sun (cf. Rev 12: 1). John writes that the woman was pregnant and screamed in pain because she gave birth (cf. Rev 12: 2). This note points to the Mother of the Lord Jesus under the cross (cf. Jn 19:25), where she suffers from her son and where the Son gives her in the Apostle John as brothers and sisters of all people. For all her sufferings, John sees her “clothed in the sun,” an expression that says that the Virgin Mary is adorned with divine radiance, which indicates the most beautiful relationship between God and his people. Although these images do not directly point to the prerogative of the Immaculate Conception, they can be understood as an expression of the loving care of God the Father, which includes the Virgin Mary by the grace and radiance of the Spirit.
For us, it is a remembrance. Because the Book of Revelation addresses us to recognize the ecclesial dimension of the personality of the Virgin Mary uniquely, the woman clothed with the sun represents the holiness of the Church, which is fully realized in the Virgin Mary according to special grace.
St. Irenaeus represents the Virgin Mary as the new Eve who, by her faith and obedience, counterbalanced the unbelief and disobedience of the first Eve. We realize that in this economy of salvation, it is required that there be no room for sin in this role. We understand that both Christ, the new Adam, and Mary, the new Eve, knew no sin, that she was thus able to cooperate in redemption.
Sin, which overwhelms like flood humanity, stopped before the Redeemer and His most faithful co-worker. There is an essential difference between the two. The Lord Jesus is holy in the power of grace which in his human nature springs from the divine Person, and the Virgin Mary is sacred in the power of grace which she received because of the merits of her Son, the Saviour of the world (cf. General Audience of John Paul II, 29.IV.1996). Our Lady is our Mother. And it is here that we realize the power of her intercession. Her heart has not changed. She is the perfect image of the merciful God. So we know that we can and do receive many new graces through her.
She was responsible for this with her apparition at Lourdes when she presented herself to the little girl Bernadette on March 25, 1858: “I am the Immaculately Conceived.” It was only four years later that Pope Pius IX, with the Bull “Ineffability Deus,” proclaimed what the Church had realized, taught, and believed from the earliest times, that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the moment of her conception, was uniquely preserved from every stain of sin.
Although today’s world does not seem interested in the purity of heart, innocence, and sinlessness, we cannot say that the world is only evil or sinful. Today’s feast is a challenge to every person, just as we will hear at Midnight Mass when the angels magnify God and say to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill.” (Lk 2:14). In today’s words about people of goodwill, it is fitting that we, people who realize that in Mary Immaculately Conceived, we have a great intercessor, also want to be.
Those who have experienced the atmosphere of the pilgrimage to Lourdes in France and have opened their hearts to the Immaculate Conception have certainly felt and experienced the words of Our Lady in their souls.
I did not travel to Lourdes to ask for a miracle. Many say. But to ask for perseverance in good. A father also traveled to Lourdes in 1998 in a pilgrimage of the Immaculate Family at the express request of his son, who had been ill since birth. When his son was born, as the father publicly declared, – “I cursed God, and since then have not come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for several decades. He decided to travel with his son as an escort at his son’s request. What he saw, what he experienced, the organization of the event, the relationships between people, the almost one hundred people as affected as his son, their smile, their satisfaction, the father not only cried for a long time, he said goodbye to Our Lady, but he made a holy confession. He said of his change of life: – “I thank all those who helped me to overcome my many sins and to convince myself that God is “Love” and Our Lady has not forgotten the promise that she will listen to everyone who takes refuge in her with trust.”
It would not be suitable if we expected a miracle in changing our lives or that we would be freed from all temptations and struggles for the purity of our souls. However, it is correct that we consciously and willingly cooperate with all the graces the Church offers us. Even today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we realize that God also loves us, and in the same way, Our Lady accepts us all as sons and daughters.
Yes, a life without sin is possible. A plate, a car, dress hands get dirty when we use them for the activity they are made for. But God the Father created man in His image. God the Son redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, teaches us, and reminds us of all that Jesus taught us. Apart from original sin, which every person comes into the world with but is forgiven in baptism without merit, we should guard against all personal evil.
Let us pray for fidelity and love of God through the intercession of our Immaculate Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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