God made Mary the Immaculate Conception so she could become His mother

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TOMORROW, December 8, is such an important solemnity among Catholics worldwide that it is a Holy Day of Obligation (meaning, it is a day on which Catholics must go to Mass—even if it is not a Sunday.)

The importance of the Feast or Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is heightened in our country. Here, the local hierarchy, which with the Holy See’s approval has reduced the number of holy days of obligation by transferring their Mass to the nearest Sunday, has kept December 8 as a separate Holy Day of Obligation along with December 25 Christmas Day or the Nativity of Our Lord and January 1 the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Yesterday’s column by Ric Saludo told us “Why Mary and her Immaculate Conception matter.”

In today’s Sunday Read, I will present the points in the official and most authoritative “Catechism of the Catholic Church” discussing why it became necessary for an immaculately conceived human being to be born.


The short and simple answer is the headline I have given this piece.

The discussion of this very important article of the Catholic Faith, so important that in the face of some Christians’ insistence to the contrary, Pope Pius IX declared the belief held by Christians from the beginning to be a dogma.

The Catechism’s discussion on the Immaculate Conception begins in point number 490 under Roman number II of the discussion of Paragraph 2 of the Profession of Faith (the Credo): “Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin Mary.
 
II. . . .BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY
487 What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.

Mary’s predestination
488 “God sent forth his Son”, but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free cooperation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary”:

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.

489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age.129 Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established.”

The Immaculate Conception
490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

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, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”. By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

“Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done]to me according to your word.” Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s grace:

As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”

Mary’s divine motherhood
495 Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”. In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).

Mary’s virginity
496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:

You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.

497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee. The Church sees here the fulfillment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.”

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18 Comments

  1. I am taking a different route on this subject because discussing and debating doctrines make me queasy. What continues to amaze me is the overt religiosity of this paper. Two articles on Immaculate Conception in one week by two different writers seem an even handed attempt to explicitly influence others of your church doctrine. The Philippines is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. There is no need to further the church’s grip on our country. However, I have to submit that the responses of your readers seem to indicate, they are comfortable with it Automatically, they slip and slide into doctrinal debate. In fact it would appear that this energizes them immensely. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not using the word “religiosity” in its negative overtone. I am a religious person myself, however, I have outgrown the faith of my childhood. This is not to say that the doctrines are childish. That is far from my intent. To assert something that cannot be proved or disproved is an exercise in futility. Although I hang on to the basics such as the existence of God and Jesus as my Savior. Whether Mary, the mother of God was conceived immaculately or not seems beyond our ability to know and to debate it into infinity is like beating a dead horse. Admittedly, I am beginning to wonder whether one of the unstated goals of this paper is to influence its readers to your church. Well, it is your paper and it can print whatever it wants. But if this is the case, I would like to argue that the paper negates the noble service it provides to the public, namely to inform and educate people of adverse views that may not be consistent with the paper’s or to the majority of the population. Religious doctrine in small dosage and done far in between maybe beneficial to the faithful in. But to the general public a constant drip and drop of doctrines and church rituals can only strengthen people’s biases and discourages dissent. Alternate way of thinking is discouraged.

  2. Question: “Is worship of saints / Mary biblical?”

    Answer: The Bible is absolutely clear that we are to worship God alone. The only instances of anyone other than God receiving worship in the Bible are false gods, which are Satan and his demons. All followers of the Lord God refuse worship. Peter and the apostles refused to be worshipped (Acts 10:25-26; 14:13-14). The holy angels refuse to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9). The response is always the same, “Worship God!”

    Roman Catholics attempt to “bypass” these clear Scriptural principles by claiming they do not “worship” Mary or saints, but rather that they only “venerate” Mary and the saints. Using a different word does not change the essence of what is being done. A definition of “venerate” is “to regard with respect or reverence.” Nowhere in the Bible are we told to revere anyone but God alone. There is nothing wrong with respecting those faithful Christians who have gone before us (see Hebrews chapter 11). There is nothing wrong with honoring Mary as the earthly mother of Jesus. The Bible describes Mary as “highly favored” by God (Luke 1:28). At the same time, there is no instruction in the Bible to revere those whom have gone to Heaven. We are to follow their example, yes, but worship, revere, or venerate, no!

    When forced to admit that they do, in fact, worship Mary, Catholics will claim that they worship God through her, by praising the wonderful creation that God has made. Mary, in their minds, is the most beautiful and wonderful creation of God, and by praising her, they are praising her Creator. For Catholics, this is analogous to directing praise to an artist by praising his sculpture or painting. The problem with this is that God explicitly commands against worshipping Him through created things. We are not to bow down and worship anything in the form of heaven above or earth below (Exodus 20:4-5). Romans 1:25 could not be more clear, “They exchanged the truth of God for a…

  3. Believe the Bible, the word of God, not what the men of cloak tought us. REMEMBER THE INQUISITION. putting on the stake those who did not belive them.

  4. What is the Immaculate Conception?”

    Answer: Many people mistakenly believe that the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ conception was most assuredly immaculate, but the Immaculate Conception does not refer to Jesus at all. The Immaculate Conception is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church in regards to Mary, Jesus’ mother. An official statement of the doctrine reads, “The blessed Virgin Mary to have been, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of Mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.” Essentially, the Immaculate Conception is the belief that Mary was protected from original sin, that Mary did not have a sin nature, and was, in fact, sinless.

    The problem with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is that it is not taught in the Bible. The Bible nowhere describes Mary as anything but an ordinary human female whom God chose to be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was undoubtedly a godly woman (Luke 1:28). Mary was surely a wonderful wife and mother. Jesus definitely loved and cherished His mother (John 19:27). The Bible gives us no reason to believe that Mary was sinless. In fact, the Bible gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Person who was not “infected” by sin and never committed a sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/immaculate-conception.html#ixzz3LASwiTz0

  5. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception originated out of confusion over how Jesus Christ could be born sinless if He was conceived inside of a sinful human female. The thought was that Jesus would have inherited a sinful nature from Mary had she been a sinner. In contrast to the Immaculate Conception, the biblical solution to this problem is that Jesus Himself was miraculously protected from being polluted by sin while He was inside Mary’s womb. If God was capable of protecting Mary from sin, would He not be able to protect Jesus from sin? Therefore, Mary being sinless is neither necessary nor biblical.

    The Roman Catholic Church argues that the Immaculate Conception is necessary because without it, Jesus would have been the object of His own grace. The thought goes like this – for Jesus to have been miraculously preserved from sin, which itself would be an act of grace, would mean God essentially “graced Himself.” The word grace means “unmerited favor.” Grace is giving someone something he or she does not deserve. God performing a miracle in preserving Jesus from sin is not “grace.” In no sense could Jesus possibly be infected with sin. He was perfect and sinless humanity joined with sinless divinity. God cannot be infected or affected by sin, as He is perfectly holy. This same truth applies to Jesus. It did not take “grace” to protect Jesus from sin. Being God incarnate, Jesus was in His essence “immune” from sin.

    So, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is neither biblical nor necessary. Jesus was miraculously conceived inside Mary, who was a virgin at the time. That is the biblical concept of the virgin birth. The Bible does not even hint that there was anything significant about Mary’s conception. If we examine this concept logically, Mary’s mother would have to be immaculately conceived as well. How could Mary be conceived without sin if her mother was sinful? The same would have to be said of Mary’s grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on…

    • GOD need not protect JESUS from sin because HE IS WITHOUT SIN. Again, please educate us, by enumerating sins that JESUS would have committed during His human existence.

  6. If God was capable of protecting Mary from sin, would He not be able to protect Jesus from sin? Therefore, Mary being sinless is neither necessary nor biblical.

    The Roman Catholic Church argues that the Immaculate Conception is necessary because without it, Jesus would have been the object of His own grace. The thought goes like this – for Jesus to have been miraculously preserved from sin, which itself would be an act of grace, would mean God essentially “graced Himself.” The word grace means “unmerited favor.” Grace is giving someone something he or she does not deserve. God performing a miracle in preserving Jesus from sin is not “grace.” In no sense could Jesus possibly be infected with sin. He was perfect and sinless humanity joined with sinless divinity. God cannot be infected or affected by sin, as He is perfectly holy. This same truth applies to Jesus. It did not take “grace” to protect Jesus from sin. Being God incarnate, Jesus was in His essence “immune” from sin.

    So, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is neither biblical nor necessary. Jesus was miraculously conceived inside Mary, who was a virgin at the time. That is the biblical concept of the virgin birth. The Bible does not even hint that there was anything significant about Mary’s conception. If we examine this concept logically, Mary’s mother would have to be immaculately conceived as well. How could Mary be conceived without sin if her mother was sinful? The same would have to be said of Mary’s grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on. So, in conclusion, the Immaculate Conception is not a biblical teaching. The Bible teaches the miraculous virgin conception of Jesus Christ, not the immaculate conception of Mary.

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/immaculate-conception.html#ixzz3LASUekGf

  7. From the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew: Now the birth f Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrohed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dram, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prohet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us)….”

    God bless you, Rene Bas. Do not be deterred from doing the Work of God as a writer, publisher and editor by unfavorable comments.

  8. John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

    By those words Jesus through St John, both mutually commended to Mary and us, Christians; her as our mother, and we her children.

    The debate is not who Mary is in the economy of salvation history, but our attitude to Mary. In our natural life we grow and develop to become fully adult human beings. Of course it doesn’t change the fact and our respect for our mother. We grow up and assume more responsibilities proper to our status.

    Roman 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

    The debate of Christian about Mary is we remain children in our relationship to Mary, instead of an adult child of Mary., obviously St John was an adult in body and in faith. However, we remain children. We remain “childish” ( using the word of St Paul) in our faith.
    This is one of the Irritant and challenge to the male adult ego. Because of this they altogether disregard Mary or even reject her. We have not established a healthy and strong relationship with Mary without being “childish.”

    People love to extol the virtues of Mary as if those become theirs, when we should be working to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in growing ours. She become the hiding place from facing our own battles that we need to meet squarely as an adult. This is not to say we disregard her maternal concern for our well being, just as she was concern for the wine running out in Cana.

    The role of Mary is not in question but our mother and adult child relationship. Mary did not shield her Son the pains and suffering of the cross, We want Mary will shield us from things God has ordained for us. Jesus said come follow me. No servant is greater than…

    • We also respect Mari like Moses, Joseph son of Jacob, etc. and even Josep her husband for the important roles they played in our christian history BUT we MUST NOT WORSHIP her because she was also a human being who inherited our sinful nature from our first parents.

      At one time Jesus was told that his mother, brothers and sisters were looking for Him. And what was His respond? He said my mother and brothers are those who do the of the Father – God.

  9. The headline to this article is the most dreadful English that I have ever encountered in my life.

  10. Paano naging ina ng dios si Mary ngayon anak siya ng Jewish Israel at pinili ng tunay na dios upang si kristo ay maging anak niya!
    Si eva ay nilalang niya ng walang magulang at direktang sa kanya ng galing bakit hindi siya tinawag na anak o ina ng dios!
    Lahat ng mga magulang na nabangit dito ay siya ang lumalang!
    Ang diyos ay napakalaki at ispiritu!
    Bakit itinutulad ninyo siya tao.may laman at buto at higit sa lahat ay siya lamang ang lumalang!

    • May mas malaking problema yata na hindi napapansin ng mga Christians. Kung Mary conceived Jesus on Dec. 8 at ipinanganak si Jesus Dec. 25, she carried him in her womb for more than 1 year! Unbelievable!!!

    • December 8 is the conception of Mary, not of Jesus. If Jesus was born in December he would have been conceived in April, the day of the annunciation.