Why must Mary be "Immaculate"?

Why must Mary be without sin?
I’ve seen arguments that have to do with Christ cannot be in same body as sin or something like that. But we have the full divinity in us every Sunday so I don’t see need for her sinlessness.

Not sure of the reasons stated by theologians. But my thinking is this, if you come from a poor family and you became successful in business and became a billionaire, would you let your mom remain poor? Your mom doesn’t have to be rich for you to be rich. But if you are rich, why would you let your mom remain poor?

This makes sense, to an extent…but we know already that Mary is rich in grace…why immaculate? I struggle with this from time to time as well.

A more adequate example would be if you became rich by being really good at picking numbers in the lottery. It’s a God-given talent. You become rich, so you make you mother rich too…but why does your mother also have to be really good at picking numbers in the lottery?
I’m sure there are better metaphors, but this is the best I can do to show my confusion about this. :slight_smile:

I guess my analogy fails in one part. Jesus didn’t become a “billionaire”, He has always been a “billionaire” for all eternity. Makes sense to have His mother share in His “riches” in all of her existence as well :thumbsup:

We may have the Divinity of Christ in us every Sunday, but not all of us are Christs Mother.

She doesn’t HAVE to be immaculate, Jesus chose to maker her that way. The simple answer is that Jesus fulfilled the commandments perfectly, including honoring his father and mother. He honored His mother in the best way He could, as you are expected to do with your mother. You cannot create your mother free from original sin, but you probably would if you could. Jesus could, so He did, out of love of His mother. She was saved from original sin in anticipation of His sacrifice on the cross…the perfect salvation from the perfect savior offering the perfect sacrifice.

The argument that says she had to be immaculate to contain the Word made flesh within her has things backwards. It basically says that the ark of the old covenant had to be carefully approached or you would die and it was only contained the type of Christ. The logic continues that if that was true for the type, how much more for the fulfillment? The problem is that the ark of the old covenant was made with Mary in mind, including that Jesus would make her immaculate which means that the ark had to convey that truth. The ark of the old was dictated by God’s creation of Mary. It is not that the ark had certain requirements therefore Mary should have the same requirements as well. The only reason the ark had these requirements is because of what Mary was to be.

God Bless.

Christ is divine fire. Fire purifies.


First of all I’d like to say that I love these kinds of threads.
It makes us really think about how we understand the Church’s teachings and put it into our own words. Make up our own analogies. This stuff makes me think. (Ouch!;))

I am a convert to Catholicism. Here’s how I understand it. (It may be riddled with theological errors. But I am not prone to making mistakes. Honest.)
Jesus did not suddenly appear in Mary’s womb. The Holy Ghost overshadowed her and fertilized one of here ovum. For Christ to be sinless that ovum, the human part of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, also had to be sinless. Therefore Mary was immaculate so that her ova were also immaculate. Jesus was sinless until He took our sins upon Him as He struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane.

On the other hand, I suppose God could have prepared that one special ovum as sinless …
But the Holy Ghost has revealed to the Church that Mary is immaculate, so I simply accept that.

This actually makes sense. A part of her physical body, which became a part of Christ’s physical body, had to remain sinless. However…that begs the question:

How could Mary be created sinless if her mother’s ovum was not sinless? And her mother before that? :slight_smile:

It’s all so confusing…and with the feast day coming up, it’s a great time to discuss it.

Mary was sinless. This Catholic dogma is called the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In other words, she was concieved without original sin.

The Immaculate Conception of Mary does not mean that Mary doesn’t need a Savior. Mary herself said:
“And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:47) Douay-Rheims Bible

Jesus is Mary’s savior. She was prevented from falling into original sin by the grace of God. The rest of us are born with original sin and therefore we need Jesus in order to save us from our sinning ways. Mary was saved from God before sinning.

It’s unclear to me if you are asking about Mary as immaculate, pure, without sin, or immaculately conceived. They’re not the same thing.

The Church Catholic and Orthodox call the Mother of God achrantos “pure”. “spotless”, “immaculate”. She cooperated fully with God’s will and is sometimes called the New Eve reflecting her perfect obedience to God. Christ God could, and apparently did allow her to model for us this perfect cooperation with the abundance of God’s grace.

The dogma of the “Immaculate Conception” is a recent declaration of the Catholic Church. This dogma is considered irrelevant to the Orthodox. Again, I’m unclear whether your question encompasses this dogma or is only focused on Mary as achrantos.

Mary without sin. Not the IC.

I’m not a theologian, so if someone more knowledgeable comes along then I’ll quickly defer. I don’t want you sitting there without any explanation, so I’ll try my best.

Mary restores humanity to the relationship we had with God in the Garden of Eden. What Eve undid, Mary set aright. Eve sinned, Mary obeyed. Eve separated us from God, Mary brought us reconciliation. Mary is the model of what we are all called to. The rest of us are kept from experiencing God fully and intimately because of our sins and the corruption that we’ve brought to our world, separating ourselves from Him. Mary is our model. Her obedience our example. Her complete unity with God our vision and knowledge of what awaits us.

She is without sin because we all should be. God shielded her from the effects of sin by His indwelling presence, as He would for each of us if we aligned our will entirely with His. Why her? Why not her mother or Elizabeth whose son was sanctified in the womb? Why Elijah? Why Moses? Why me? Because it was God’s will and He knows the entire creation story and knew exactly when and where and who would bring about His plan, just as he knows you and has a plan for you. And like Mary, we are called to carrying God in us in trust and obedience. Mary’s dormition and assumption provide a foretaste of what is to come now that our relationship with the Lord is restored. I hope someone who studies this will come along and better explain.

“He [Christ] became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it unto me according to thy word.’ And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.” - St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 100 (AD 150)

“And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” - St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, 3, 22, 4 (AD 180)

“For it was while Eve was yet a virgin, that the ensnaring word had crept into her ear which was to build the edifice of death. Into a virgin’s soul, in like manner, must be introduced that Word of God which was to raise the fabric of life; so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex, might by the selfsame sex be recovered to salvation. As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other by believing effaced.” - Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ, 17 (AD 200)

“… Christ found in the Virgin that which He willed to make His own, that which the Lord of all might take to Himself. Further, our flesh was cast out of Paradise by a man and woman and was joined to God through a Virgin.” - St. Ambrose of Milan, Letter to the Church at Vercellae, 33 (AD 396)

“Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary.” - St. Jerome of Stridonium, Letter to Eustochium, 21 (AD 384)

Because Jesus Christ wanted it that way. He favored her. Easy enough? Glad to help you out.

To be honest, I don’t see it as necessary either. I would still believe the Gospel message regardless.

But it is an early tradition, which I accept as a theological opinion.

Not helpful, and rather rude.

I get that she’s the new eve and all by saying yes to God. But I don’t see where it necessarily sinless her entire life. when Jesus was in her womb sure I see her being sublease so I see a temporal sinless. I mean perhaps having the deity I’m such close union transformed her flesh forever more…

Thank you.
I understand it’s tradition, I guess I need to read some of the Fathers to get a better grasp of where they’re coming from.

Bingo! Jacob had a dream from God at Bethel. He marked the spot where it happened with a stone (setting it up as a shrine or altar) and it remained an important holy place afterwards, being mentioned several times in the OT as a centre of worship.

You can’t bear God the Son in your womb for nine months and then raise him to adulthood without it permanently affecting you!

I would guess that you don’t have the grounding in tradition to understand the fullness of what you read. I know I don’t. You have to rely on others right now at your stage of learning. It’s important to learn from solid people you can trust, not from the internet or your own guidance. You need to be part of a local community which is charged with the task of handing on the faith, operated under the guidance of a bishop, and your learning should occur there. It’s doesn’t give instant answers like the internet, but it gives guidance you can stake your soul on.

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