“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!” —Luke 1:42 “Jesus came into this world through Mary, and at the end of time he will return through Mary.” —St. Louis de Montfort
Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and, in honor of Jesus’s Mother, I wanted to offer a brief explanation of what “Immaculate Conception” means and share a beautiful painting depicting Mary under this title.
The Immaculate Conception was not defined dogma until 1854, but it was believed and defended by ordinary Catholics and great theologians many centuries before that. The doctrine was always based in the Bible verse (Lk. 1:28), “And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” That’s already an unusual greeting in that angels in the Bible usually appear and start issuing orders, rather than offering a respectful greeting. But it’s much more than a mere compliment.
Luke’s Gospel, of course, was originally written in Greek, and the word translated “full of grace” is kekaritomene(κεχαριτωμενη). This perfect passive participial form is rare in Greek, and unfortunately has no direct translation into English. The closest literal translation is “to have been fully perfected in grace in the past, a state which persists into the present.” This has long been explained by the Immaculate Conception—that is, through the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ’s salvific death, Mary was miraculously preserved from the original sin every human inherits, at the moment of her conception.
This was very fitting for the Mother of God. After all, Jesus was in Mary’s womb for nine months, and He got all of His human DNA from her—how would it be appropriate for her to be sinful? The early Church understood that insulting Mary insulted Jesus. Mary is only important because Jesus made her so, but Jesus made her the holiest person ever at her conception. That is why St. Elizabeth calls her “blessed among women” and Mary prophesies, “Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” (Lk. 1:42, 48)
Read the rest, including an explanation of the painting’s symbolism, on Substack.
This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!