On this, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I thought it might be appropriate to say a few words about this wonderful gift which God gave to the woman who would become His Mother.
As usual, we won’t find the words, “immaculate conception” in Scripture. And we won’t find the definition for the term. The reason being that this is another Doctrine that we received from Sacred Tradition. What we do find, however, is that Sacred Scripture does not contradict the Immaculate Conception.
Similitude of Adam’s sin
In objection to this Doctrine, Protestants make a great noise about the fact that Scripture says, “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23), but fail to recognize that this verse is a reference to atheists in the Old Testament, where it says:
Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
So, yes, all who deny God’s existence, have sinned.
However, two chapters down from that verse, St. Paul says:
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Therefore, explaining that there are some who have not sinned and yet have suffered the penalty for sin, which is death. Anyway, let's get back on topic.
What is the Immaculate Conception?
The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, is the celebration of the union of the Holy Spirit with Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, from the moment that she was engendered. This union of the Holy Spirit and Mary is the reason why she was begotten without sin.
Where is it in Scripture?
In my opinion, we find confirmation for the Sacred Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, in these verses:
The Proto-Evangelium (Genesis 3:15)
In the book of Genesis at the point when Adam has already fallen from grace, it is at this point that God announces the coming of a Woman, who will hate the Serpent so much, that she will never be under his control. This is the ProtoEvangelium. The first announcement of the coming of the Messiah, the Seed of the Woman, Who will crush the Serpent under their feet.
The Woman will crush the Serpent by virtue of her giving birth to the Saviour. The Saviour will crush the Serpent by virtue of His obedience to God, His Father.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The Woman, Mary, is She who is in reference here. Because the Woman, Eve, has already cooperated with Satan. But the Woman, Mary, will never cooperate with Satan, will never feel the effects of sin, because she is conceived with a deep hatred of Satan (i.e. enmity) and a deeper love of God.
From the moment of her coming into existence, Mary is united to God and an enemy of Satan. Therefore, she is conceived without sin and remains without sin her entire life.
The perfect word for the perfect lady
In his Gospel, St. Luke, the beloved physician and a master of the Greek language, used a word which is never seen anywhere, again.
Kecharitomene (Luke 1:28)
And he uses this word with reference to Our Lady. When we say, “Hail! Full of Grace!” Full of grace it the English rendering for “Kecharitomene”. But “full of grace” does not do it justice. I’m not an expert in Greek, so I’ll let the experts explain it to you.
“Full of Grace” translates kecharitomene the perfect passive participle of charitoo. It denotes one who has been and still is the object of divine benevolence, one who has been favored and continues to be favored by God, one who has been granted supernatural grace and remains in this state. Verbs ending in oo, such as haimatoo (turn into blood), thaumatoo (fill with wonder), spodoomai (burn to ashes) frequently express the full intensity of the action. Kecharitomene denotes continuance of a completed action.
Hence kecharitomene has been suitably translated as “full of grace”, by the Vulgate and the Peshitto (The principal Syriac version of the Bible). This rendering expresses the conviction of the Church that the divine favor was fully bestowed on Mary, in the sense that she was ever immune from the lease stain of sin and that she abounded in graces of the supernatural life and in all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit which flow from that life. (Kecharitomene)
The Ark of the Old Covenant
As I mentioned before, Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant because in her womb, she bore the True Manna, the True Word of God and the True High Priest. Men constructed the Ark of the Old Covenant out of the purest materials:
The Ark of the Covenant was a kind of chest, measuring two cubits and a half in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height. Made of setim wood (an incorruptible acacia), it was overlaid within and without with the purest gold, and a golden crown or rim ran around it. At the four corners, very likely towards the upper part, four golden rings had been cast; through them passed two bars of setim wood overlaid with gold, to carry the Ark. These two bars were to remain always in the rings, even when the Ark had been placed in the temple of Solomon. The cover of the Ark, termed the "propitiatory" (the corresponding Hebrew means both "cover" and "that which makes propitious"), was likewise of the purest gold. (The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia).
Do you think, then, that God would do less for His Ark?
Psalms 45:10 The Queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold
By no means! As it is written:
Luke 1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
The New Creation
The following can be inferred from Scripture. The New Testament is a New Creation. Jesus is the New Adam and Mary is the New Eve. And the four shared this in common. They were all immaculately conceived.
The original creation had two protagonists, Adam and Eve. God created them in a condition known as Original Justice. It is fitting, therefore, that God also used two immaculately conceived individuals to bring about the New Creation.
So, to conclude
Mary is the Mother of God. If you were God, would you allow your mother to be encumbered by sin? Let me put it in a more realistic context. Let’s say that a truck was coming down the road and your mom was about to step in its path. Would you wait until the truck hit your mom and then save her by taking her to a doctor? Or would you somehow prevent your mom from stepping in front of the truck, thus avoiding any injury whatsoever?
You may not be able to do that for your mom, but God can and has done it for His.
The Magnificat (Luke 1:48-55)
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever. Amen!
Thanks for listening! Let me know what you think, in the comments.