Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Feast of the Immaculate Conception.


Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary
Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse



Oh, it's a big feast today!  It's one of those feasts: an uber Catholic one.
It's the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation.

One of the big Marian feasts, and one that often gives many folks some consternation (from a scratch on the head to fits).  For a good explanation of it all, go here (and scroll down for all those, "What's up with that" "How can that be?" kind of responses).  I can't give you a great theological treatise on it.  It took brilliant theologians from the east and west to determine this one over the centuries, but they did because we are human. And our inquiring minds want to know, and puzzle and ponder.  So those who have gone before us prayed and debated and concluded.  I can say that it only makes sense to my puny brain.


For a long time, I thought that the "immaculate conception" referred to Mary's conception of Jesus, you know, with the descent of the Holy Spirit and Gabriel and all...clean, tidy, right?  But no, it's actually about Mary and her being preserved from the stain of original sin.  Confusing, a little, huh?  Well, this is how it parses out in my old mom brain: God himself is all love and of course, without sin.  God came to us in his son, Christ, who was also without sin (being God and all).  Since all purity and all love cannot coexist with the stain of sin, how could Christ come to us as a man, without first having a pure 'vessel', if you will?  Well, he couldn't, that would not correspond with the natural/divine order.  Growing in utero is, utterly, coexisting.  So, if God cannot coexist with sin, then a human mom to be would have to be found, sinless.  And thus, since God is beyond time, he prepared Mary, {from her conception of course}, to be without sin.  Because God knew, outside of time, that Mary would be the perfect (literally and figuratively) mom for Jesus.


Now, I think that's cool!  It makes perfect sense to me and really is one of those 'clap your hands, I get it" kind of moments.  Yeah, it's uber Catholic.  But hey, I love being Catholic because (well, so many reasons) its cool and rich and takes my breath away.  And of course,  I love feasts....so it's a good day!

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

1 comment:

Life in Fitzville said...

I have posted in the past about why this is a special day for us... thanks for this explanation!