Reflection: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception refers to Mary as free from any stain of sin from the moment of being conceived in her mother’s womb. Therefore, throughout her existence she is untouched by sin. Why is this necessary? The Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation said that the Baby to be conceived by Mary was the “Son of the Most High” and “Son Of God.” In the Book of Genesis Abraham’s God was called “The Most High,” therefore, Jesus, the Son of Mary, is God. Since the baby in the womb sucks in the blood of the mother, then Jesus in the womb would suck in any sin in the blood of Mary. Since Jesus is God and is sinless, the mother must be without sin. Therefore, Mary, the Mother of Jesus who is God made Man, must be completely free from any contact with sin. Thus the need of Mary being the Immaculate Conception. Pope Blessed Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854, proclaimed as dogma of truth Mary’s Immaculate Conception, she was conceived free from the stain of original sin. Mary’s freedom from all sin is the most beautiful fruit of the work of redemption accomplished by her Son. Chosen as mother of the Savior, Mary received the benefits of salvation from the moment of her conception. Christ came to take away the sin of the world, he did not allow that sin to contaminate Mary whom he has chosen to be his Mother. This was confirmed by Our Lady herself telling Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, on July 16, 1858: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
At the Annunciation the Archangel Gabriel greeted Mary: “Rejoice, full of grace.” If full of grace, then there is no space for sin; neither is there a moment of time in her life that can be occupied by sin. In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus calls his Mother “Woman” two times. At the wedding in Cana, he said “Woman, … my hour has not yet come.” We read in Jn. 7:30 “They tried to arrest him but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.” Again in Jn. 8:20 we read “No one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.” But then in Jn.12:23-24 Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified….unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies…” And in Jn 13:1 we read, “Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father,” Jn 17:1 quotes Jesus as praying, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son.” As he was hanging on the cross he said to his Mother, “Woman, behold your son.” It was his hour and he called Mary “Woman”. What is Jesus telling us? We must go back to Gen. 3:15 where God tells the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The ‘woman’ is Mary, the offspring is Jesus who strikes the serpent at the head, by his death on the cross, the hour. God speaks of “enmity” between the woman and the serpent. Enmity means no friendship. Friendship with the devil is sin. Therefore, no friendship means no sin. Therefore, Mary has no sin. “Im” means “no”, “macula” means “sin”; immaculate means “no sin”.