Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Immaculate Conception

As you know if you attended Mass at St. John Neumann this past weekend, I didn't preach -- Deacon Pat Conlen did. He reminded us that John the Baptist told the people "there is one among you whom you do not recognize." Would we -- do we -- recongize Christ in our world?

Nevertheless, I did preach on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and also today, our Lady of Guadalupe. It seems appropriate to recall just a few thoughts in honor of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, on the occasion of these great feasts.

Remembering that we honor Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception -- defined as dogma since 1854 -- recalls to mind the great curse under which the entire human race fell after the sin of Adam and Eve. Without this great sin, there would be no need for redemption, no need for our Lord's Incarnation, and no need for the Immaculate Conception. As it is, however, Adam and Eve did sin, they were expelled from Paradise, and in turn, we each have contracted Original Sin as our inheritance. We are sharers in their nature, fallen from grace, awaiting redemption.

The passage from Genesis 3:15, however, gives us great hope that the enmity placed between the serpent and the woman will one day give rise to a Savior who will crush the serpent's head and inaugurate His reign for all eternity. We live in between the fulfilment of this promise and its final consummation at the end of time. The Blessed Virgin Mary stands for us as a great sign and witness of the Hope that God has promised to His people.

From the first moment of her existence -- at the moment in which her soul, created from nothing by God, infused her body -- she was free from all stain of sin. This singular and unique privilege was gained for her in anticipation by her Divine Son. Even though He had not yet been born, had not suffered, had not died, in view of the merits of Calvary, He saved His mother from the sin that has touched every other man, woman, and child. Mary was preserved in a state of Orginal Justice, and likewise free from concupiscence (the inclination to sin). Never, in her entire life, did she commit even a venial sin.

This perfection -- in view of her Son's saving death and resurrection -- is not something Mary gained for herself or boasts proudly of. Mary needs salvation -- just like everyone -- but she received in anticipation of the Incarnation. And this perfection and freedom from sin should cause the entire body to rejoice at her great gift. This privilege, after all, is not for herself alone, but make possible the very fact that it presumes: without the absolute freedom from sin enjoyed by Mary, she would not have been free to say "Yes!" to the Angel Gabriel. Because her heart was entirely free from any consideration other than to know, love, and serve God, and to love her neighbor perfectly, she was able to give her entire person to the definite service of the Father, by becoming the Mother of His Son.

We honor Mary, therefore, as our example and advocate because she is free from sin, but also because she demonstrates God's fidelity. He desires that we, in turn, live in true freedom. Do we doubt His love? Look to the Blessed Virgin. She is free. She is sinless. Do we wonder about God's care for us? Look to His mother -- one, as St. Therese of Lisieux says, who is more Mother than Queen -- and see in her care for Jesus the care of our Father for each of us.

We honor God when we honor His Saints, and in the most excellent way, by honoring His Mother. He has preserved her from sin; may we live in such freedom from sin all the days of our life through the protection and care of His Blessed Mother. May our devotion to her grow deeper and stronger that we may honor one so perfectly chosen and created by our Lord.

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