Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray For Us Who Have Recourse to Thee
Thomas A. Droleskey
Words are so
inadequate to communicate the beauty of the great feast of Our Lady's
Immaculate Conception. As we begin the second week of Advent, the Church
gives us a chance to meditate upon the great mystery of God
's Redemptive Love as He fashioned His own Mother in the womb
of her Mother Saint Ann. Yes, as we continue to use Advent to reflect
on the many comings of Christ in our lives--as well as His Second and
Glorious Coming at the end of the world - and as we prepare once more
to commemorate His birth in time in Bethlehem, the Church invites us
to step back and to consider Our Lady's key role in salvation history.
For Our Lady was destined from the first moment of her conception to
be the Mother of the Redeemer, thereby making her the Co-Redemptrix,
Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.
The Book of
Genesis tells us that the first woman Eve, was the instrument by which
the first man, Adam, disobeyed God, causing the fall of the human race
from the state of Original Innocence. The fall of Adam started
the reign of sin in the world. Human nature would be forever changed
by the choice made by our first parents when they were put to the test
by the tempter. All human beings thereafter, except the Mother of God,
would be born with the stain of that Original Sin. And it is Original
Sin that is at the root of all personal and social problems in the world.
did not abandon His creatures. He promised that He would send them a
Redeemer. He made a covenant with Abraham , choosing
his stock to be the means by which time and eternity would meet in the
person of His only begotten Son made Man in Our Lady's virginal and
immaculate womb. He prepared His chosen people for their liberation
from the effects of sin by showing His power to liberate them from captivity
to the Pharaoh. He led these people, who grumbled all the while, out
of the wilderness to the land of milk and honey, clearing out scores
of people to give it to them. He constantly used miracles to demonstrate
His mighty power when all appeared hopeless.
The chosen people
were stiff-necked. They quickly forgot what God had done for them. They
ignored the prophets, who were given to them by the Holy Ghost
to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. They sought
after their own lusts. Time and time again God rescued them from one
disaster after another. But they had hearts of stone, not hearts of
So it was when
the New Eve was conceived by her parents, Saints Joachim
and Ann. Our Lady's parents were faithful observers of the Mosaic Law.
They looked with anticipation to the fulfillment of God's promises.
Little could they have realized that the daughter they begot on December
8 over 2,000 years ago was to be the divinely chosen vessel through
which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would become man.
Yes, Our Lady
became the New Eve at the moment that she was conceived. She was preserved
from all stain of Adam's sin by a free act of God to bestow upon her
the merits of the Redemption which would be wrought for the human race
on the Cross by the Son she would conceive in her virginal and immaculate
womb by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. What a tremendous mystery
of love. The Father prepared Mary for her place in salvation history
as His Son's Mother by giving her the singular privilege of having a
perfect human nature, the human nature of our first parents before their
fall from grace. Our Lady was full of grace from the very first moment
of her conception.
Full of grace.
Think about that statement for a moment. We pray those words
every day, "Ave Maria, gratia plena. . ." We are praying about
her Immaculate Conception when we pray those words. We are praying about
the mystery of sin and grace when we pray those words. We are praying
about God's tender love for us when we pray those words. For He preserved
Our Lady from all stain of Original and actual sin not only so that
she could bear the Christ-Child, but for her to give birth to us as
His adopted sons and daughters at the foot of the Cross, thereby permitting
us to be partakers of the supernatural life of grace. Yes, full of grace.
of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception, proclaimed by 150 years ago by
Blessed Pope Pius IX, makes perfect sense. Our Lady had to be preserved
from all stain of sin in order to be the vessel of honor through which
the Word would become flesh. Without the gift of Mary's Immaculate Conception,
the God-Man could not have been conceived as a man. Why? For the simple
fact that the Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is the
very antithesis of sin. It is not possible for God and sin to co-exist
in the same person. Without the Immaculate Conception, a child borne
by Our Lady would have inherited an imperfect human nature, one with
a darkened intellect and a weakened will. It would be clearly absurd
that God would become man in order to suffer from the effects of a sinful
human nature. As St. Paul says, "He became a man like
us in all things but sin." How could this have happened if His Mother
had not herself been prepared by God to be a pure, spotless vessel in
which to house the embryonic Word so as to give Him His human nature?
The Second Adam,
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, was born of the New Eve, Our Lady.
What was lost for us in the Garden of Eden, our Heavenly birthright,
would be won back for us on Calvary. The bond between Our Lady and Our
Lord was forged long before the Annunciation. The Father forged this
bond when she was an embryo, preparing her for the great vocation of
being the Mother of a redeemed human race.
As if to emphasize
the importance of Pope Pius IX's proclamation, Our Lady herself appeared
in the Grotto at Lourdes four years later, declaring to St. Bernadette
, "I am the Immaculate Conception." And it is under
that tittle that Our Lady is honored as the Patroness of this country.
The Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is located in
our nation's capital city.
The great feast
we celebrate today is a reminder to us that we are called to preserve
ourselves from all stain of sin by cooperating with the graces won for
us by Our Lord on the wood of the Holy Cross and administered to us
by Holy Mother Church in the sacraments. We are weak, flawed human beings,
tinged with the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin. However, we
are nevertheless redeemed. God has given us the power provided by sanctifying
grace to overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
It is possible for us to grow in the fullness of grace. Yes, we, too,
are called to be full of grace, to seek a place in Heaven just below
that of the Blessed Mother herself. We are given the very Body, Blood,
Soul, and Divinity of Mary' Son, a Body and Blood knitted together in
Our Lady's Immaculate womb, to strengthen us in our daily effort to
grow in holiness and spiritual perfection.
We see the ravages
of sin all around us. We see a world where people have a sense of right
and wrong, a world where young people are convinced that there is no
such things as objective truth, no less a true religion founded by God
Himself. We see the horror of over 4,000 children killled each day under
cover of law in this country by surgical abortions alone. And we see
the wreckage caused by sin in the incredible degree of unhappiness and
despair exhibited by so many of the people we know in the midst of the
most affluent country in the history of the world. Sin has caused so
many people to live for this life and to be ignorant of their eternal
As we keep vigil
for the Coming of Christ at the end of our own individual lives, as
well vigil for His Second Coming in glory at the end of time, as we
give thanks for His coming in poverty and anonymity in Bethlehem, let
us pray to Our Lady under the title of her Immaculate Conception that
we may strive more and more to be sinless in thought, word, and deed.
May our every desire be to love God more fully through His true Church,
to serve Him more selflessly and to cooperate more completely with His
grace so as to build up His Mystical Body as the New Zion, the Shining
City set on a hill, so that she may be seen by all men everywhere as
the repository of the New and Eternal Covenant. And may we renew
our zeal to fulfill our duties as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, mindful of the fact that the very cause
of world peace has been entrusted to the Heart from which the Sacred
Heart of the Word Who was made Flesh and dwelt amongst us was formed.
We need more and more Catholics to pray and to make sacrifice for the
day on which some Pope will actually consecrate Russia to Our Lady's
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world's bishops, thereby
fulfilling her Fatima requests and ushering in the Social Reign of Christ
the King and of the Reign of Mary, Our Immaculate Queen. This is a great
day to get to Confession to renew our sorrow for all of our past sins
and to pledge to be more faithful sons and daughers of the Immaculate
Queen whose perfect obedience to the will of the Father made possible
O dear Blessed
Mother, you were conceived without stain of sin. Pray for us weak sinners,
who are in need of your Son's Divine Mercy so frequently in the Sacrament
of Penance, that our souls, which were impressed with the image of the
Blessed Trinity at our baptism, may be vessels of honor to an increase
of God's inner life within us. Pray for us, O Lady of the Immaculate
Conception, that we will be the light of the world and the salt of the
earth to provide a leaven in this country whose patroness you are. May
we always speak forthrightly in public of the social honor and recognition
that is your due from the civil state. Please, dearest Mother, help
us to prepare for the commemoration of your Divine Son's Nativity by
calling to mind God's special gift to us of so great a mother.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.