Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
This coming Tuesday, we will celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is the patroness of the United States. Although the obligation to attend Mass is still suspended, I still encourage everyone to attend Mass on this day if possible. Our country and the world can certainly use the intercession of Our Lady! See the bulletin for the Mass schedule at Old St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart.
The Immaculate Conception was a deeply debated teaching within the Church. Because of his understanding of conception, even St. Thomas Aquinas had difficulty understanding and accepting the doctrine. To be clear, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of the Blessed Virgin. At the very moment of her conception, by a singular grace from God, Our Lady was persevered from the stain of all sin. This was done in view of the redemptive act of Our Lord before it occurred in time. This grace was given to Our Lady because she was to become the Mother of God!
The person who helped to give the Church the framework to teach this dogma was a Franciscan Friar, Bl. John Duns Scotus. He was a priest, philosopher, and theologian who lived in the thirteenth century. Unofficially, Scotus is known as the ‘Subtle Doctor.’
While the Immaculate Conception continued to be debated long after Scotus had died, Our Lady confirmed this truth on at least two occasions. Once while she appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, declaring herself to be the Immaculate Conception. She also confirmed this to St. Catherine Labore in the giving of the Miraculous Medal. It was only in 1854 that Bl. Pius IX solemnly defined this as a dogma and formally proposed this teaching to the whole Church for belief. May Our Lady, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, intercede for our Church and protect our country!
Please find this reflection on Our Lady from Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I encourage you to read the whole reflection at the link provided; it is well worth your time. Have a blessed week ahead!
When God willed to become Man, He had to decide on the time of His coming, the country in which He would be born, the city in which He would be raised, the people, the race, the political and economic systems that would surround Him, the language He would speak, and the psychological attitudes with which He would come in contact as the Lord of History and the Savior of the World.
All these details would depend entirely on one factor: the woman who would be His Mother. To choose a mother is to choose a social position, a language, a city, an environment, a crisis, and a destiny.
His Mother was not like ours, whom we accepted as something historically fixed, which we could not change; He was born of a Mother whom He chose before He was born. It is the only instance in history where both the Son willed the Mother and the Mother willed the Son. And this is what the Creed means when it says “born of the Virgin Mary.” She was called by God as Aaron was, and Our Lord was born not just of her flesh but also by her consent.
We should not be surprised that she is spoken of as a thought by God before the world was made. When Whistler painted the picture of his mother, did he not have the image of her in his mind before he ever gathered his colors on his palette? If you could have preexisted your mother (not artistically, but really), would you not have made her the most perfect woman that ever lived—one so beautiful she would have been the sweet envy of all women, and one so gentle and so merciful that all other mothers would have sought to imitate her virtues? Why, then, should we think that God would do otherwise? When Whistler was complimented on the portrait of his mother, he said, “You know how it is; one tries to make one’s Mummy just as nice as he can.” When God became Man, He too, I believe, would make His Mother as nice as He could—and that would make her a perfect Mother.” Read more: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/fsheen_marytwfl_nov07.asp