A Willing Role

This solemnity, although formally declared dogma in 1854, has a long history of belief and celebration in Christianity since the 4th century and perhaps earlier – the records only go back so far. What this means is that what happened in 1854 was formally stating what was already believed. It was not new. But here’s the question for you… what does this Solemnity mean to you. That is not a question to explain “what” it celebrates – that part is clear. The 1854 papal encyclical stressed that Mary’s sinlessness was not due to her own merits, but truly, by the merits of her son, Jesus. I quote: Continue reading

The Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception of the Venerable One...It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings. Continue reading

What should we do?

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year C of the lectionary cycle. The opening verse of the gospel is from the people who have just heard John the Baptist proclaim the coming wrath of God (Luke 3:7) and they shout out, “What should we do?” What is clear from John is that judgment on the basis of one’s fruit/deeds is at hand: “Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees” (v.9). Continue reading