Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is in perfect harmony with the spirit of Advent; while the soul is preparing for the coming of the Redeemer, it is fitting to think of her, the all-pure one, who was His Mother.
The very promise of a Saviour was joined to, or rather, was included in the promise of this peerless Virgin. After having cursed the insidious serpent, God proclaimed: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head” (Gen 3:15). And behold, the Virgin whose coming was foretold, approaches, “white as snow, more beautiful than the sun, full of grace, and blessed above all women” (Roman Breviary).
Precisely in view of the sublime privilege which would make her the Mother of the Incarnate Word, Mary alone, among all creatures, was preserved from original sin. Yet in Mary Immaculate we see not only her preservation from original sin, and the complete absence of the slightest shadow of an imperfection, but we also see the positive side of this mystery which made her, from the very first moment of her existence, “full of grace.”
Theologians teach that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary began her spiritual life with grace much more abundant and perfect than that which the greatest saints have acquired at the end of their lives. When we consider also that during her whole life, the Blessed Virgin corresponded fully and most perfectly to every movement of grace, to every invitation from God, we can understand how charity and grace increased in her with incessant and most rapid progress, making her the holiest of creatures, the one most completely united to God and transformed in Him.
O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, what light and strength your sweet image brings me! The most beautiful, the holiest, the purest of all creatures, so “full of grace” that you were worthy to bear within you the Author and Source of all grace, you do not disdain to give yourself to me—a poor creature, conscious of my sin and misery—as a model of purity, love, and holiness.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania