I think we struggle with this idea because we see sin as so prevalent, temptation as unavoidable. Original Sin is the tug to do things that contradict our conscience, which knows what is right and what is not. I think the best way to understand the ideas of original sin is by looking at the Son, who reveals the Father, in order to try to understand what the Father wants us to know about this.
Many people today consider that in claiming Jesus was sinless, we are in some way depriving Him of a quintessentially human characteristic, however, this error results from an incorrect understanding of what sin and indeed freedom actually are.
The account of the fall in Genesis explains how man and woman chose to realise their human existence in conscious independence from and, in opposition to God. The constant accumulation of personal sins from then on has created a universal sinful environment. Something I think we are all able to observe and attest to.
When I sin, I consciously and freely oppose my better judgement. I attempt to rationalise my decision and set up my rationalising judgement against my will to do what is right. Think about it, you can spot yourself doing it. You know that you shouldn’t but you figure out a way to rationalise it. You still feel guilty afterwards, but the rationalisation gives you the excuse to do it in the first place. The implication of this action on our part constitutes a conflict with God because we are aware (but deny) the absolute obligation to do right, which in itself, comprises an encounter with the true, Absolute God Himself.
And yet, despite this, we knowingly, willingly turn away from that obligation and serve our own, selfish, often destructive purposes…eating that one bit of cake too many that will ultimately only serve to make us feel sick.
Jesus’ sinlessness arises from a proper understanding of the nature of His mission. Msgr Romano Guardini, goes as far as to suggest that:
“In the measure we comprehend sin, we comprehend Christ; and we comprehend our own sin only in the measure that we experience what he experienced when he sweated blood in the night”.
Here Msgr Guardini is saying that we can only truly understand sin when we consider it in the light of the Passion of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. It is powerful to reflect on that. In Gethsemane, Jesus sweats blood. It’s like His body is already breaking down and little wonder if you really stop to think about it—He is under the weight of the sin of all the world.
So, Our Lady was free from the pull of that concupiscence and so was much more aware of the will of the Father and therefore able to align her will with His. His will for us is all that is good and best and right for our human dignity so not sinning is not missing out on something very human, but it is being more human, fully human, properly human the way that God wants us to be.