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Immaculate Conception

December 8, 2011

Blessed Solemnity!

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
prepared a worthy dwelling for Your Son,
grant, we pray, that, as You preserved her from every stain
by virtue of the Death of Your Son, which You foresaw,
so, through her intercession,
we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to Your presence.
(Opening prayer from today’s Mass)

Genesis 3:9-15, 20 (God brings the first sin to light and promises redemption)
Psalm 98:1-4 “Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds”
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 (God chose us from the beginning to be holy)
+ Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation)

As it was in the beginning…

God chose us in Christ before the dawn of creation,
chose us to be holy and blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1:4).
He created Adam and Eve in perfect innocence,
innocence which was to be our birthright,
our “garment of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10), through all generations.

Alas, Adam threw off this robe of innocence,
exchanging it for the nakedness of a fearful shame.

I heard You in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself
-Genesis 3:10

No longer blameless in God’s sight,
Adam could not bear to be revealed before Him.
And since he had no innocence to bequeath to his children nor to any of their descendants,
all of us mere mortals can say with King David,

Indeed, in guilt was I born,
and in sin did my mother conceive me
-Psalm 51:5

…all except one!

The New Testament is all about a new creation,
a new Adam (see I Corinthians 15:22, 45), a new Eve,
a new hope for fearless purity before the holy eyes of the Most High.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God promised to put enmity between the serpent and the woman, between his offspring and hers.
But sin had made us allies of the devil!
We shared with him a common rebellion that gave him a claim on us.
This promised enmity, this utter and complete opposition to the serpent,
could not be found in children born in Original Sin.

We needed a miracle.

God provided one.

Even as the first Adam and Eve were created in perfect innocence, utterly free from all sin,
so Jesus and Mary, the new Adam and the new Eve (mother of the living, Genesis 3:20),
both enjoyed this exceptional privilege.
Both shared, from the first instant of their earthly existence,
in the holy blamelessness God willed for all of us from the beginning.
Jesus’ innocence came from His Divinity.
Mary’s came from His Passion,
applied backward in time to the moment when she was conceived without stain of Original Sin
in the womb of St. Anne.
The Lamb Who was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8),
applied His salvation at the moment it was most needed.
This is why Gabriel could address Mary as “Kekaritomene”,
“full to overflowing with grace” (Luke 1:28).
There was no sin in her, no allegiance with Satan’s rebellion,
to resist the divine life God continually lavished on her–
the life He wants to lavish on each of us if only we are receptive to it.
It was this freedom from all sin, this fullness of grace,
that gave Mary the freedom she needed to untie Eve’s knot of disobedience
by submitting herself perfectly to God’s will (see St Irenaeus, “Against Heresies” 22, 4).

Let it be done unto me according to Your word
-Luke 1:38

Because of Mary’s obedience,
our Savior won for us the graces of Baptism and Confession,
which break our allegiance to the devil.

We have died to sin.

We are free at last!

The new Adam and Eve have crushed the head of our ancient enemy.
Will we allow ourselves to fall prey again to his deceptions?

May the beauty of the Immaculate Conception inspire us to new fervor
in keeping our Baptismal robes unspotted until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!

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