Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception

Some of us think the term “Immaculate Conception” refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father and called it as “Virgin Birth”. But others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived “by the Holy Spirit”. Some says The Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain (corrupt nature). With the grace of the God Mary was preserved from these defects.

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 Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. An implicit reference may be found in the angel’s greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you”. The phrase “full of grace” is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene and expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.

“Full of grace,” is better than the one found in many other versions of the New Testament, referred as the “highly favored daughter.” Mary was a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek says that it never mentions the word for “daughter” anywhere. Her grace was permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit.

Adam and Eve were both created immaculate-without original sin or its stain. They fell from grace, and through them mankind was bound to sin. Christ and Mary were also conceived immaculate. They remained faithful, and through them mankind was redeemed from sin. Christ is thus the New Adam, and Mary the New Eve.

The Assumption says that at the end of her life Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch and Elijah. Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.

It was never defined by any church whether she died or not. But the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, “after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

Some believes that she was taken into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called “paradise,” where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection.

When December 8th falls on Saturday, the precept of attending Mass is still observed in the United States, even though it will mean going to Mass two days in a row (since every Sunday is also a holy day of obligation). In the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, December 8th is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In the United States and in a number of other countries, it is a holy day of obligation.

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