Saturday, December 8, 2012

"I am the Immaculate Conception"

In 1854, the Church at last defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This dogma infallibly speaks of Mary, the Mother of God, who " the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved from original sin..." (Blessed Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilius Deus, December 8, 1854)

Four years later, when a "beautiful Lady" appeared in Lourdes, France, to 14 year old St. Bernadette Soubirous, She did not identify herself until She was thrice asked by the child. The date was March 25, 1854, the Feast of the Annunciation (when the Church commemorates the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of His Virgin Mother). Placing Her palms together, She raised them to Her chest. In an attitude of prayer and adoration, the Lady's eyes looked up to heaven and She said, almost as if trembling with humble emotion, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

"Immaculate Conception"....consider for a moment that the Lady of Lourdes gave this "title" as Her name. The Virgin Mary stated that She is "the Immaculate Conception," not the "fruit" of conception. She did not say, "I am Mary, who was conceived without sin" - as though conception was a past event. Here we have a great mystery, for it is normal for human beings to speak of their former stages in life as a milestone already achieved, as in "When I was eight years old..." 

Instead, the Lady answered with a phrase that is very biblical and very mystifying, an answer so very like Her Divine Son's, Who said "Before Abraham came to be, I AM." His words angered the unbelievers, who dared to presume that Jesus Christ blasphemed against God. Those who do not believe what the Holy Trinity revealed of Himself cannot grasp that He Who "am" exists out of time and space. They cannot accept that the Holy Trinity applied the then-future merits of Christ's Passion to the one chosen to be His Virgin Mother, so that over 1800 years later, She could appear in Her resurrected body and say at Lourdes, and in all humility:  "I AM the Immaculate Conception."

The Virgin Mary is the one and only Immaculate Conception, a human being begotten in the usual manner by two human parents - but conceived without the stain of Original Sin. Furthermore, Her words verify that human life begins at the first instant  of conception or, to phrase it another way, conception is a human being at his or her very first instant of life.

God granted to Mary this "singular privilege of grace" because She was chosen to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Fr. H. O'Laverty, author of The Mother of God and Her Glorious Feasts, once wrote:

"The prayers and sufferings of all the prophets and saints of the Old Law were all intended to gain grace to fit the world and to prepare one of the children of Adam to be the Mother of the Redeemer. At length, after thousands and thousands of years and after much prayer and suffering, both the world is prepared for the appearance of Christ and a woman is found worthy at last to be His Mother. It took all those prayers and sacrifices to obtain sufficient grace to prepare one soul to be the Mother of Christ...It does not mean that the prayers of the patriarch earned the grace of the Immaculate Conception. This was brought about by all the prayers and sufferings of the saints of the Old Law, which were united to the future sufferings of Christ, and in this way this state of grace was restored once more to one child, who was the daughter of Joachim and Ann and of the tribe of David and a descendant of Abraham. Her name was called Mary, and she was after all those years found ready to be the Mother of the Redeemer, who was to restore not only what we lost by the Fall of Adam and Eve but in reality to give us graces and blessings by His sufferings, which are capable of raising us to the highest union with God." [Emphasis added]

"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

No comments:

Post a Comment