December 8, 2015
Happy holy day! As you all have heard/will hear in Mass, today we read about our fallen ancestors in Genesis who gave into temptation and thus brought sin into the human condition. And yet even in that moment of great sorrow, there is a promise:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."
We call this verse the "protoevangelium" because it speaks of the hope of someone who will defeat the serpent. Even after our earliest moments of sin, God knew how He would save us.
This is why we find such great hope in this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The helpful Catholic website New Advent shares this description of the Blessed Mother's state due to the unique circumstances of her conception:
"The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded."
Mary did not struggle with the temptation to sin the way that we do; she, by God's mercy, never felt the burden of original sin. However, lest we think she didn't feel anything that we felt, the entry goes on to note: "But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death." She could still be grieved over the persecutions and death of her Son and can sympathize with us in our daily struggles. She is, after all, a perfect mother.
And so though this holy day can seem particularly specific to only one person, it is actually one that gives us a hope in which we can all participate--the hope of eternal life won for us by our Lord. The Immaculate Conception was that initial ray of hope, announcing the coming of the dawn, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate this ray of light in the dark waiting of Advent, and continue to ask our mother to intercede for us to her Son.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, ardent admirer of the Blessed Virgin, pray for us!