Day 70: The Immaculate Conception (490-494)
Yesterday we started talking about Mary and how the Holy Spirit came upon the Blessed Virgin Mary
That God had PREDESTINED her
He prepared A BODY for Himself
Paragraph 488 says, “‘God sent forth His Son,’ but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free cooperation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel…”
And he relied upon her Yes
Today, we’re going to talk about the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The Immaculate Conception DOES NOT refer to Jesus being immaculately conceived
We believe she was IMMACULATELY CONCEIVED
THAT FROM THE VERY MOMENT OF HER CONCEPTION…
THE FIRST MOMENT OF HER EXISTENCE…
She was PRESERVED BY SINGULAR GRACE
SHE WAS PRESERVED BY ALMIGHTY GOD!!
BY THE MERITS OF HER SON’S FUTURE LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION!!
FROM ALL STATE OF ORIGINAL SIN!!
Why is this necessary?
Could God have done it otherwise?
GOD CAN DO ANYTHING!!
Why is it FITTING that Mary is WITHOUT SIN?
We talked about this yesterday a little bit
We know how the FALL TEAM
Who had a woman, Eve, without sin
And we have the man without sin, Adam
The angel of light, LUCIFER spoke words to Eve that caused her to DISBELIEVE AND DISOBEY
She handed that disbelief and disobedience to her HUSBAND, THE MAN
Who handed that disobedience and disbelief TO THE WHOLE WORLD
Now the REDEMPTION TEAM
We know that Jesus Christ is the NEW ADAM who hands on LIFE AND OBEDIENCE to all of us
Similarly, we see in the Gospel of Luke an angel of light, GABRIEL
Who comes to the NEW EVE, MARY, who is ALSO WITHOUT SIN
And he speaks words to her that cause her to BELIEVE AND OBEY
By her BELIEF AND OBEDIENCE she gives birth to the ETERNAL SON OF THE FATHER in time incarnate
Who then hands on this belief and obedience TO THE WHOLE WORLD
And it’s very FITTING that Mary be in a VERY SIMILAR PLACE as the first Eve in order to accomplish this mission
So that’s what we’re going to talk about today
Also, we’re going to talk about how in Paragraph 494 at the announcement that God would do this
She humbly submits and says, “Let it be done to me according to your word…”
First, The Immaculate Conception
Second, that that HUMBLE ACCEPTANCE
The HUMBLE SURRENDER
The HUMBLE FIAT
The “LET IT BE DONE TO ME” of Mary
So in order to prepare our hearts for this, let’s just call upon the name of Jesus Christ and ask the Father to bless us as we pray!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven, we thank you. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, please send your Holy Spirit. As you sent your Holy Spirit within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to bring forth new life, we ask that you please send your Holy Spirit into our lives. Heal what has been wounded in our lives. Fill what has been emptied. Lord God, we ask you to make a space in our lives for you, for your truth, for your will, for your mission. We know, Lord God, that you called Mary. You created her for a mission. And you gave her everything she needed to accomplish that mission. We trust in you, that you will do the same for us, that you have created us for our mission, and that you will give us everything that we possibly could ever need for that mission. We trust in you. And we pray to you. And we give you glory this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen”
MARY IS THE NEW EVE!!
These last quotes are INCREDIBLE showing us that going back SO FAR
The Church has LONG STATED…
The Church has long made VERY VERY CLEAR…
We have ALWAYS seen Mary as the New Eve
JUST AS Jesus is the New Adam
St Irenaeus in Paragraph 494 says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race….‘The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith…‘Death through Eve, life through Mary.’”
THAT IS JUST SO INCREDIBLE!!
Why is the Church saying very, very clearly that it was necessary that she be wholly born by God’s grace?
Why is it NECESSARY that Mary was CONCEIVED WITHOUT ORIGINAL SIN?
She was NOT conceived without original sin BECAUSE OF ANY MERIT OF HER OWN
How could you merit being conceived in a certain way?
Paragraph 491 says, “Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: ‘The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and by the virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.’”
SO IT IS ALL HER SON!!
Because she had to give a FULL YES
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Paragraph 494 says, “Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly…”
This is a WHOLE HEART
Now, you and I, because we have sin DO NOT have a whole heart
We have a DIVIDED HEART (Some would even venture to say a “Dyslexic Heart” 😉 Paul Westerberg - Dyslexic Heart )
We have hearts that CAN say YES to God
We say yes WEAKLY
We can ASSENT TO GOD
We can LOVE HIM
We love POORLY
We love IN A FICKLE WAY
Paragraph 494 continues, “...Without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son.”
THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
That’s why he even uses that word “necessary” in Paragraph 490, “In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.”
That there was NOT A SINGLE SIN to restrain her from this yes
Here’s Eve’s NO to the Lord that brought about this BROKENNESS
And here is the New Eve
Here’s Mary’s YES that brings about a NEW LIFE
It brings about a NEW CAPACITY for HOLINESS
New capacity for RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
There’s something REALLY IMPORTANT HERE
Pope Pius IX says in Paragraph 491, “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God [and by virtue of the merits of her Son’s future life, death and resurrection] preserved from all stain of original sin.”
The question often asked is, “If God could do that with Mary, why doesn’t He just do that with everybody?”
“Honestly, if God could apply the merits of his son’s future life, death and resurrection to Mary’s conception, why couldn’t He just apply that to YOUR conception and MY conception?”
“Why didn’t He preserve US from the stain of Original Sin?”
God COULD have done that because he did it at least once
This is what it’s called a SINGULAR GRACE AND PRIVILEGE
Now, why didn’t he do that?
Here is Fr. Mike’s offer of an answer:
BECAUSE GOD ALWAYS GIVES US WHAT WE NEED FOR OUR VOCATION
God has a CALL on your life and he has a CALL on my life
He will always give you EXACTLY what you need to accomplish that call
He NEVER calls us to something that He doesn’t also give us the POWER TO DO!!
THE POWER TO ACCOMPLISH!!
THE POWER TO ACHIEVE!!
OUR VOCATION was not to undo the knot of Eve’s disobedience
MARY’S CALL WAS!!
God gave her EVERYTHING THAT SHE NEEDED in order to say YES to this call on her life
And that doesn’t take anything away or diminish the gift he’s given YOU
It doesn’t diminish the vocation he’s call YOU to
It just highlights the fact that for EVERY ONE OF US, regardless of what God has called you to…
HE WILL ALWAYS GIVE YOU THE GRACE…
HE WILL ALWAYS GIVE YOU THE POWER…
HE WILL ALWAYS GIVE YOU THE OPPORTUNITY…
TO ACCOMPLISH THAT VOCATION!!
TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WILL!!
TO ACCOMPLISH THAT MISSION THAT HE HAS CREATED FOR YOU!!
Here’s the good news
HE CREATED YOU FOR A MISSION!!
Just like he created Mary for a mission
He created YOU for a mission
And just like he gave Mary everything that she needed to accomplish that mission…
FR. MIKE IS TELLING YOU!!
GOD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED TO ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION HE HAS IN YOUR LIFE!!
We simply say what Mary said, “I’m the handmaid of the Lord. Behold, I’m the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”
Here is a quote from Carol Houselander, “God will never ask you to do anything more than the Blessed Virgin Mary and all He ever asked her to do was simply to say ‘YES’.”
So here’s the resolution we have
“God help me to say Yes to you. Help me to say Yes to your vocation. Help me to say Yes to this call you have on my life. Help me to say Yes to this mission you created and redeemed me for. And you’re giving me every grace that I need to accomplish this mission. God, I trust in you. Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary said, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’. Here we are. Behold, we are your servants. Behold, we are your sons and your daughters baptized in Jesus Christ and given the Holy Spirit to do all things in your name.”
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE GIFT THAT MARY IS THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION!!
By her Yes, the Father’s will was accomplished in this world
Here we are
BY OUR YES THE FATHER’S WILL CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED ONCE AGAIN!!
It is a HIGH CALL
IT IS A GREAT CALL!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
The Immaculate Conception- “Kecharitomene”
-Notes compiled by Andrew Adamany
PART I: THE ANGEL GABRIEL ADDRESS MARY AS “KECHARITOMENE”
“And he (the angel) came to her and said, " Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be." (Luke 1:28-29)
The original greek: “kecharitomene”-
Perfect Passive Participle- Something already done to the noun in the past that affects the present.
Vocative Feminine Singular- Used as a title to address the person, a single female
Kecharitomene is a title Gabriel salutes Mary as, describing an act that was done unto her in the past that still holds true to her now:
Root word: “Charitoo” (verb)” to make graceful, endow with grace, to be highly favoured” (Strong’s Concordance)
Literally translates as “Hail, you who have been made full of grace/endowed with grace”
Luke’s understanding of “Charitoo”
The only other time "charitoo" is used in the New Testament is by Luke's traveling companion and Apostolic master, Paul:
"He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:5–6)
"He freely bestowed - "echaritosen" - root word "charito" 3rd person singular Active Aorist Indicative"
Literally- "which he has freely made us graceful"
What this grace God bestowed on "us" was meant for:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Ephesians 1:3–4)
Those he made graceful, he chose before the foundation of the world and gave every spiritual blessing in heaven to be holy and blameless before him.
Blameless- greek adjective “amomos”- root word "momos"- blameless, without blemish
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25–27)
Pau's meaning- "When God chose us he engraced us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places that was established before the foundations of the world, so that we may be without blemish, endowed with his grace.
The only other time kecharitomene is found in greek literature up to Luke’s Gospel is in the book of Sirach:
"My son, do not mix reproach* with your good deeds,
nor cause grief by your words when you present a gift.
Does not the dew assuage the scorching heat?
So a word is better than a gift.
Indeed, does not a word surpass a good gift?
Both are to be found in a gracious** man." (Sirach 18:15–17)
* "Reproach" - greek "momos" (noun)- "blemish"
"Gracious" - greek "kecharitomeno" (perfect middle/passive participle- dative singular masculine)
Luke’s full understanding of “Charitoo / Kecharitomene” based on previous known writings and his master’s usage:
“Hail, you who is without blemish in word or deed, who is favored by God who freely gave you the grace and every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places that was set before the foundation of the world.”
PART II: WHAT GRACE WAS INTENDED FOR MAN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD?
God Made Man and Woman in His image, without sin, full of his grace and spiritual blessings: “Original Justice”
Man and Woman freely chose sin, falling from grace: “Original Sin”
With the fall, the Protoevangelium (first gospel- prophecy of the Messiah) came from the mouth of God to the serpent:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
hatred, grudge, variance / strife, falling out (Dictionarium Anglo-Brittanicum - 1708 and 1730)
THE NEW ADAM IN A NEW CREATION
We know the seed that will bruise the serpent's head is the Christ, of whom Paul identifies Adam as the prototype:
"Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come." (Romans 5:14)
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:20–22)
How Jesus fulfills Adam and succeeds where the first failed:
John begins his Gospel as a "New Creation Story"
But the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 is also about a woman that Christ is the seed of. We know this woman is not Eve, because enmity was not found between Eve and the serpent since she freely chose to listen to it over God.
And there is no man that this child is called the seed of (cf Wisdom 7:2, Jeremiah 31:27); only the seed of a woman, which there is no other occurrence in Scripture that a child is called the seed of a woman. If that seed is Christ, who has enmity between himself and Satan, not being born a child of the devil (1 John 3:10) but free of sin as the “New Adam”, the woman he is the seed of has that same enmity with the devil, being made not a child of the devil, but free of sin as a child of God, as the “New Eve”, originally named "Woman" before the fall:
IS THERE A NEW EVE: A NEW WOMAN
In John’s account as a “new creation” how does the New Adam address his mother:
How Mary fulfills Eve and succeeds where the first failed:
PART III: THE EARLY CHURCH FATHER COMMENTARIES
When we turn to the writings of the Early Church Fathers, we aren’t doing so to compare what they teach to what Scripture teaches; rather we are comparing their understanding of Scripture and Apostolic Tradition to the understanding of more modern minds. The Church Fathers lived in an age of the Apostles through the first centuries extremely closer to Christ and the Apostles, some being direct disciples of the Apostles (even mentioned by name in the New Testament). The age of the Church Fathers was before English emerged as a language, when translations were between the co-existing languages of Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. It is the commentaries of the Church Fathers that learned from the Apostles and spoke these languages thag provide immense insight on the meaning and context of the original Greek language used in the New Testament writings, particularly "kecharitomene" and the view of Mary as the New Eve:
Early Signs of Immaculate Conception: No Labor Pangs
Eve, who was made without sin, only after original sin had to bear the burden of birthing pangs (Genesis 3:16). In the earliest extra-biblical and orthodox documents about Jesus Christ, Mary is described as being immune from this penalty that resulted from Eve’s sin:
Ascension of Isaiah (A.D 1st Century)
“And the story regarding the infant was spread abroad in Bethlehem. Some said: “The Virgin Mary has borne a child, before she was married two months.” And many said, “She has not borne a child, nor has a midwife gone up (to her), nor have we heard the cries of (labor) pains” [Ascension of Isaiah 11:12–14 (c. A.D. 90)].”
Odes of Solomon (A.D. 2nd Century)
So the Virgin became a Mother with great mercies. And she labored and bore the Son, but without pain, because it did not occur without purpose. And she did not seek a midwife, because he caused her to give life [Odes of Solomon 19:7–9 (c. A.D. 125)].”
Protoevangelium of James (AD 2nd Century)
“And the midwife said to him: “Is this true?” And Joseph said to her: “Come and see.” And the midwife went away with him. And they stood in the place of the cave, and behold a luminous cloud overshadowed the cave. And the midwife said: “My soul has been magnified this day, because my eyes have seen strange things — because salvation has been brought forth to Israel.” And immediately the cloud disappeared out of the cave, and a great light shone in the cave, so that the eyes could not bear it. And in a little that light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and went and took the breast from His mother Mary. And the midwife cried out, and said: "This is a great day to me, because I have seen this strange sight.""
[Protoevangeloum of James 19 (A.D.145)]
Mary Depicted as the New Eve
St. Justin Martyr (A.D. 2nd Century)
“[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’ [Luke 1:38]”
(Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 [A.D. 155]).
St. Iraneus (A.D. 2nd Century)
“Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient, and, when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband—for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children, and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply—having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith”
(Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).
Tertullian (A.D 3rd Century)
“And again, lest I depart from my argumentation on the name of Adam: Why is Christ called Adam by the apostle [Paul], if as man he was not of that earthly origin? But even reason defends this conclusion, that God recovered his image and likeness by a procedure similar to that in which he had been robbed of it by the devil. It was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise through a virgin the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life. Thus what had been laid waste in ruin by this sex was by the same sex reestablished in salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. That which the one destroyed by believing, the other, by believing, set straight”
(The Flesh of Christ 17:4 [A.D. 210].
Mary Created without Sin or Blemish
Origen (A.D 3rd Century)
"So, as virtue is a grace, which produces someone possessing fullness of grace
(kecharitōménon), when this [grace] has gone on prosperously by way of free choice in us, in these circumstances what is from God becomes present, and this is what is to give grace for grace from God"
(Gospel of John, fragments 11).
Ephraim the Syrian (A.D. 4th Century)
“You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?”
(Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A.D. 361]).
St. Ambrose of Milan (A.D. 4th Century)
“Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a virgin not only undefiled, but a virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin”
(Commentary on Psalm 118:22–30 [A.D. 387]).
St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 5th Century)
“Having excepted the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sins—for how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear him in whom there was no sin?—so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer?”
(Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).
St. Romanos the Melodist (A.D. 6th Century- Greek Hymns)
"Then the tribes of Israel heard that Anne had conceived the immaculate [female] (éteken Ánna tên áchranton). So everyone took part in the rejoicing. Joachim gave a banquet, and great was the merriment in the garden. He invited the priests and Levites to prayer; then he called Mary into the center of the crowd, that she might be magnified."
Collectively, the Fathers understood Mary to be the New Eve, immaculately conceived, free of any stain of sin, exempt from the penalty of labor pangs that resulted from Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden.
PART IV: First English Translations
1587 Douay Rheims “Full of Grace” vs 1611 KJV “Highly Favoured”
Does Being “Highly Favoured” Disprove the Immaculate Conception?
Important to Note: While we don't accept the KJV as an authoritative translation of Sacred Scripture, we understand many of our Protestant brothers and sisters participating in the Catechism in a Year with us may struggle with understanding the dogma. It is being cited here to help assist our Protestant brothers and sisters to see how it’s translation of "Highly Favoured" (in 17th-18th Century English) is not at odds with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, but ultimately means what the Catholic Church means when we say Mary is "Full of Grace," conceived without sin.
The state that God made Man and Woman, without sin/ "blemish"
Christ our Paschal Lamb is now sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Pascal Lamb- lamb without blemish. (Exodus 12:5)
1611 King James "That art highly favoured"
Closest dictionaries to 1611 that define "grace" and "favour": Dictionarium Anglo-Brittanicum (1708 and 1730)
"favour or goodwill, (in Divinity) the mercy of God in finding out means for the Redemption of Mankind" (1708)
“favour, goodwill; (in Divinity) a gift which God gives to Man of his own free will (1730)
n- gracious, kindness, favorable (1708)
V- to shew favour
Adj “favourable”- apt to favour, good, gracious
1730- favour is opposed to rigor, especially in matters of JUSTICE
1708- "Gracious" - endued with grace
("Endued" past participle"- 1708- "qualified with, supplied with, furnished with") literally "supplied with grace"
18th Century English Meaning of “Charitoo/ Kecharitomene”
"My son, blemish not thy good deeds,
neither use uncomfortable words when thou gives anything.
Shall not the dew asswage the heat?
So is a word better than a gift.
Lo, is not a word better than a gift, but both are with a gracious* man." (Sirach 18:15-17 KJV 1611)
* "kecharitomeno" - "justified man" Douay Rheims (1609)
cleared or proved innocent of any crime, charge, or accusation; also verified, maintained for good. (1730)
“Kecharitomeno”- A gracious man is a man endued with grace, a gift which God freely gives to man, which is opposed to rigor, especially in matters of justice. A gracious man is a justified man, innocent and maintained for good.
Root word of kecharitomene/o is "charito"- "to make graceful, to endow with grace"
According to Luke, Paul, the Author of Sirach’s Greek, and the English translations according to 18th Century Dictionaries, “Highly Favoured” carries the Catholic meaning of “Full of Grace.”
Douay Rheims Bible (1582 Translation of Latin Vulgate)
Interlinear Greek Septuagint (Strong’s Concordance)
“Behold Your Mother” by Tim Staples
“Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary” by Dr. Brant Pitre
“The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church” by Jimmy Akin
Article By Fr. Christiaan Kappes (watch “Pints with Aquinas” Episode here)
1611 King James Version
Dictionarium Anglo-Brittanicum (1708 and 1730)