I was thinking about the Immaculate Conception the past days and I don’t understand it, honestly, unless you read the Protoevangelium of James, which isn’t even in the Bible so I have no idea how much influence it has on the church; but anyways if Mary was never a sinner like the rest of us, how could she have been redeemed by Christ?
It helps if you remember God is not bound by time.
Mary was saved at the moment of her conception by Christ.
Look at it this way. Imagine there’s a deep pit. People in front of you are walking blindly and fall into the pit. You see a person about to fall and you reach out and pull them back. You saved that person from falling.
Now imagine you grab a big rope and pulley, and you start pulling people out of the pit.
You have saved the people in the pit.
The person you grabbed and pulled back BEFORE that person fell is just as ‘saved’ by your action as the people who were already in the pit and who you were able to pull up.
Does that help?
Christ’s saving action saved those who had already died, as well as though of us living years after His Death, so why could it not save Mary before she was conceived?
How could this happen? By the unlimited power of God of course, who can make happen whatever He wants.
because God is not limited by what you can think and what you can’t think
Just here to second Tantum ergo. As well to say well said!
Read this, the answer is a little bit down on the page but this is a good reference to help explain/defend the faith.
Note: these are all real questions and the Catholic answers to those questions posed by many different people over a period of time.
Mary was saved via preservation from Original Sin (think preventive medicine versus surgery: an act is done to prevent a malady from ever existing), but even aside from this, God is - although not in an identical sense - a Savior even to the angels. Sin or no sin, we cannot ascend to the Beatific Vision by our power, or sustain our existence by even a second without our Creator’s will. This is why Christ ascended into Heaven and Mary was assumed into Heaven. Christ willed it - after his time had come - and it was so. The Dormition of Our Lady would have likewise been because Christ willed it.
As to how the Immaculate Conception happened: God willed it. I’m not sure how much deeper we can go than that. The same way he willed the Incarnation.
Hope this helps.
Mary had free will so would she have been able to reject the offer from the angel to be the Mother of God?
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the omnipotent God, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved from all stain of original sin.
Christ, as God, preserved Mary from sin because He wanted to do everything possible for her. He wanted to be conceived and born of a sinless Mother.
Certainly you alone and your Mother are from every aspect completely beautiful. There is no blemish in you my Lord, and no stain in your Mother.
~St. Ephraem (306-373)
It was fitting that Christ should pre-redeem His Mother by preserving her from sin from the first moment of her earthly existence. Is it conceivable that any loving Son, who has the power, would not preserve His mother, in whose womb He was to dwell, from every stain of sin from the first moment of her existence?
~Duns Scotus (1308)
The most holy Virgin, by a gift of grace and privilege of the Almighty, in view of the merits of Christ the Redeemer, was preserved from all stain of original sin.
~Pope Pius IX (1854)
Mary’s freedom from original sin carries with it two consequences: From the time of her conception, she was free from all notions of concupiscence, and she was also free from every personal sin during the whole of her life.
The common teaching of the Church is that by a special privilege of God, Mary could not sin.
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the faith that has been defined by the Church as a truth revealed by God.
Mary was immaculate from conception.
Because no word shall be impossible with God.
ST. LUKE - Chapter 1 vs. 37
And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.
ST. MATTHEW - Chapter 19 vs. 26
a resounding amen to this.
I heard Catholic apologist Tim Staples once explain on Catholic Answers Live that Jesus was fully God and also fully man. He inherited his divine nature from God. He inherited his human nature from Mary. Since Jesus is sinless and he inherited his human nature from Mary, Mary could not have been tainted by sin or else Jesus would have inherited his mother’s sinful human nature from her, which would not have made him divine.
That’s how I understood it, anyway. In other words, I think Catholics believe that Mary was born sinless because of who Christ is, not because Catholics are trying to turn Mary into a goddess or anything like that.
Well, how could Mary have been immaculately conceived if she inherited her human nature from both her parents? In short, it was not necessary for Mary to be without sin for Christ to be without sin. Still, her conception was because of who Christ is. She was to be the Ark that God’s presence overshadowed. She was to be the Tabernacle in which God’s presence dwelled. She was to be the mother of the new creation.
I may back off my original argument against your point if we are careful with it. It’s not that Christ could not have been born without sin, but it is entirely fitting and appropriate that the dwelling place of God be made pure, and this is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Furthermore, it is important that she who would be mother of the new creation be able to give her full, unreserved consent to the matter, and I ask how anyone tainted by sin could do this without even the slightest reservation? Mary is the archetype of Daughter Zion and of the Church. It is fitting that she be the image of what God desires of Israel, the Church, his Bride (meaning Israel and the Church). (Have I descended into the Catholic deep end of the pool, here?)
But yes, it’s all very much Christological.
Hope these two links provide some aid:
Both articles were written by a former Protestant minister who absolutely despised Marian doctrines, but later converted to Catholicism and now defends them. He also wrote a book called Behold Your Mother and you can buy it from the Catholic Answers shop
This is not a good explanation. It was not necessary for our Lady to be immaculately conceived for Jesus to have been born sinless. Even if our Lord was born of a prostitute, it would not have been a reason for him to inherit the stain of original sin. Otherwise, by this logic, Mary’s parents would have had to be sinless, and their parents before them, and so on. This was not the case.
Mary was immaculately conceived because not because it was necessary, but because it was fitting. If the Ark of the Covenant was made of incorruptible hardwood coated in and out with pure gold, simply to house sacred symbols, when a plain sack will do, how much more fitting should the Mother of Him who fulfills those symbols be pure as well?
Thanks for correcting me. I want to emphasize that what I said in my post was only my *interpretation *of what Tim Staples said on *Catholic Answers Live *one day. It is quite possible that I misunderstood what he said. it wouldn’t be the first time. After all, I am still learning about Catholicism and have a long way to go.
Follow up question:
If Jesus is fully God and yet fully man, from whom did he inherit His human nature if not from Mary?
I like this thread, by the way. I consider this a good opportunity to learn more about Mary and what Catholicism teaches about her.
How Can Mary Be Sinless When She Rejoices in God, Her Savior?
A Catholic Understanding of Luke 1:47
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is one of the Four Marian Dogmas taught by the Catholic Church. Long-believed and formally proclaimed in 1854, this dogma teaches that Mary was without sin from the moment of her conception and remained sinless her entire life.
One argument frequently advanced by those who do not agree with the Church’s teaching is based upon Mary’s own words found in the Gospel of Luke: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47) If Mary declares that she needs a savior, then she must have been a sinner—or so the reasoning goes.
The Catholic Church does not hesitate to profess that Mary needed a savior. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences
Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.
It was by the grace of God—and not the work of Mary—that she was saved from sin in a most perfect manner. By what is called “preservative redemption,” Mary was preserved from sin at the time of her natural conception. John the Baptist was sanctified in the womb prior to his birth (Luke 1:15), and Mary was sanctified at her conception. It is no difficulty that Christ distributed the grace of Calvary some forty-five years or so before it happened, just as he bestows it upon us two thousand years after the fact. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that this gift was given to Mary, making her “redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son” (492). She has more reason to call God her Savior than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner!
If Jesus wished to save his mother from the stain of sin, what is to prevent him?
Becuase it was GOD’s idea and plan
Because of the merits of Her Son Jesus
GREAT post Rany, & welcome HOME:thumbsup:
St.Thomas Aquinas once asked the same question, and until he received the answer that would eventually remove all doubt, he denied the teaching of the Immaculate Conception, so long as the Magisterium didn’t give it a final stamp of approval. This is the answer to the question: Mary was in need of being redeemed like all of humanity, having descended from Adam. She, too, was subject to inheriting the stain of original sin. However, by the foreseen merits of Christ, God immunized her from contracting this deadly contagion of the soul. In other words, Mary was redeemed by way of prevention on account of her election to the Divine Maternity. Thus, her “spirit” could rejoice in God her saviour (Luke 1:47). The rest of humanity is redeemed by being cured of this deadly disease of the soul through the sacrament of Baptism. Whereas our redemption is curative, our Blessed Mother’s is preservative. Let’s keep in mind that Christ’s redemptive merits aren’t constrained by linear time, but extend to all righteous people who have lived before, during, and after his death and resurrection. By our Lord’s merits, all the righteous who lived before him, such as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Job, were in the Limbo of the Fathers (limbus patrum) until Christ opened the gates of heaven. So Mary, too, could benefit from her Divine Son’s merits before she would even give birth to him. Mary received a singular grace without which she would have been conceived in the state of original sin as well. God looked with favour on the lowliness of His handmaid (Luke 1:48).
But to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ.
*Ephesians 4, 7 *
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels.