Mary is the greatest gift that God has made to mankind. She is the Mother of God: “the masterpiece of the Creator, the clear reflection of God, a miracle of nature and grace, beauty beyond speech, the most splendid dawn, the crown of the Saints, the sanctuary of the mystical heights, the minister of triumph, the All-Holy… It is she to whom the unique prodigy of being Immaculate, most perfect, and most pure belongs…” (Pope Paul VI). Mary has been, is, and will ever be the best known and most loved Woman of all humanity.
Is it necessary to know Our Lady?
Our Lady occupies a place of prominence not only in the history of the salvation of the human race, but also in the spiritual life of every Christian. As a result it is useful, or rather proper and necessary, to know profoundly her sublime mission, her grand privileges and the mystery of her life.
Knowledge of Mary is helpful for knowing Jesus better. The more one knows Our Lady, the better he comprehends and loves Jesus.
What book contains information on Our Lady’s life?
We find information regarding Our Lady’s life in the Gospel that, besides being a sacred book inspired by God, is also true because it speaks of facts that really took place. And the most certain proof that the information on Our Lady is true is the fact that three of the four authors of the Gospel knew Our Lady personally (Sts. Matthew, Luke, and John).
To what sublime mission was Mary predestined by God?
Mary was predestined by God, from among all women, to accomplish the incomparable mission of being Mother of the Messiah-Savior and universal Mother of all creatures.
God prepared the Virgin Mary for this great mission by enriching her with the choicest graces and most singular privileges that make her the most exalted creature, the most beautiful masterpiece, after Jesus, ever worked by God.
What privileges did Mary acquire from God in order to accomplish her mission?
The four most important privileges bestowed upon Our Lady are:
1) The Immaculate Conception,
2) The Perpetual Virginity,
3) The Divine Maternity,
4) The Assumption into Heaven in soul and body.
Moreover, Our Lady corresponded in a marvelous way to all the graces which she received from God; consequently, we can say that she also merited to be the Coredemptrix of the human race, the Mediatrix and Dispensatrix of all graces, the omnipotent Advocate before Jesus, the Queen of Heaven and earth, of the Angels and the Saints. All this is a precious patrimony of our Faith.
The first privilege that Our Lady received from God in view of her divine Maternity was to be conceived “Immaculate”.
While all are born with original sin, that is to say without sanctifying grace, Our Lady was the only human creature to receive from God a soul filled with grace from the very first moment of her life. She was the first flower to bud forth on the earth without being poisoned and stained by the sin of Adam.
In her presence the Devil will always be constrained to take flight.
What is original sin?
Original sin is the gravest sin of rebellion and disobedience committed by Adam and Eve in the earthly paradise.
God had created man with a privileged status. He had enriched his soul with marvelous gifts. In order to prove his fidelity, He willed to put man to the test, but man failed.
His sin “deprived him and all men of grace and of every supernatural gift, making him subject to sin, to the Devil, to death, ignorance, evil inclinations and every other misery, and it excluded them from paradise” (R. Catechism #71).
How can one give proof of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception from Sacred Scripture?
One can give proof of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception from the words of God to the Devil after the original sin: “I will put enmity between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and her Seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for thy heel” (Gn. 3,15).
The enmity between the Devil (the serpent) and Mary (the Woman) that God announces will be complete and endure forever. If Our Lady had been subject to the Devil even for just an instant, the enmity would not have been complete. Thus Our Lady was never a slave of Satan, that is to say that her soul, by a singular privilege of God, was never tainted by original sin.
What other text of the Sacred Scripture proves the privilege of the Immaculate Conception?
Another proof of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception can be found in the words with which the Angel Gabriel saluted the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Lk. 1,28).
The Archangel’s greeting makes us understand Mary’s sublime holiness. St. Gabriel did not call Mary by her name, but called her “full of grace”. These words show that Our Lady had been and remained a friend of God and full of every grace.
One defect, even a slight one, would have been enough to hinder the Angel from calling her “full of grace”. Hence Mary was always Immaculate, without a shadow of original sin.
When was the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception solemnly approved by the Church?
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was solemnly approved and proclaimed a dogma of Faith on December 8, 1854, by Pope Blessed Pius IX.
The Supreme Pontiff, receiving the voice which has been passed on in the Church from the first centuries and united with the authoritative testimony of the Popes, Bishops and faithful, declared that “the doctrine that maintains that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, had been preserved free from all stain of original sin, is revealed doctrine of God and therefore to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful” (Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Blessed Pius IX).
What effects did Mary acquire from the privilege of the Immaculate Conception?
Mary acquired two marvelous effects from the privilege of the Immaculate Conception:
1. a perfect equilibrium between the senses and reason, by which she did not receive that disordered inclination of the senses towards evil (concupiscence) which in us often prevails over reason;
2. immunity from any sin whatsoever.
The Church has always believed and taught (and sound reasoning itself suggests to us) that Mary, in foresight of her divine Maternity, could not have committed any sin, but rather her life on earth was like that of the Saints in Heaven.
The Council of Trent explicitly declared this doctrine.
Why did God choose an Immaculate Mother for His Son?
In having to choose a Mother for His Son, God chose her to be immaculate, pure, without any trace of sin, so that her soul might perfectly reflect the image of the Most Holy Trinity.
Our Lord did not wish to adorn Our Lady with exterior qualities that would render her pleasing to the eyes of the world, but preferred that she be endowed with every virtue and grace.
This, in fact, is the true greatness and dignity of man.