View all Uncle Eddy |
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It seems that you have been spending so much time trying to convert your Protestant friends that you have begun to think like them on certain matters. To stop praying the rosary because it is “not an absolute requirement of our faith, and besides it’s just plain boring” is a bad sign, a very bad sign indeed. Need I remind you that the rosary has been a fruitful devotion for Catholics of every rank and class (brilliant theologians, ignorant peasants, popes, missionaries, professors, housekeepers, hermits, orphans, and, yes, even college students) for a thousand years? Admittedly, no one claims that it is a requirement for salvation, but need you to dismiss so vast an assembly that witnesses to its effectiveness in drawing us ever closer to our Lord? That’s what devotion to Mary, in general, is all about you know.
Take today’s feast, for instance, which commemorates both the conception of Mary in her mother’s womb and the dogma (officially defined in 1854, after being believed and celebrated by the whole Church for centuries) explaining that that conception was “immaculate.” It was in order to be a fitting tabernacle for God’s incarnate Word that Mary was preserved from the slightest tinge of original sin even from the moment of her conception. This meant that her heart was completely free from any innate selfishness, any inherent tendency to sin – she, unlike anyone since Adam and Eve, was completely free to love God with an undivided love, to respond to him with her whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. No internal divisions inhibited her total self-giving to the Lord. And ever since she was made the mother of the Church and mother of all Christians (see John 19), she has borne that same untrammeled love for each one of Jesus’ brothers and sisters – that includes you and me. She loves each of us with the tenderness and attention of the most devoted mother, but without any of the insecurity or possessiveness, that original sin tends to inject into most motherly love. Therefore, all her prayers and hopes for us have to do with bringing us into closer communion with her Son, the one Savior, who alone can give happiness and meaning to our lives. Jesus didn’t have to come to earth through Mary; he chose to. And he continues to come to us through her: he is the New Adam, and she is the New Eve; in them, mankind, created “male and female” in the “image and likeness of God” has already achieved its glorious destiny. It remains for us to join them – if we are willing to do so on their terms.
So you see, my ornery nephew, Mary is not an obstacle to friendship with Christ; she is the Queen Mother who glories in bringing sinners to the throne of grace. Keep that in mind, will you? Especially today, which happens to be the Patron feast of the United States.
Your loving uncle, Eddy