Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mary and the Immaculate Conception

December 8, in addition to being the Second Sunday of Advent, is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Catholic churches. There are many, many misconceptions about the Immaculate Conception - both within and without the Catholic church - so I will take a moment to explain a little.

First, what is it not.  

The Immaculate Conception is not when Jesus was conceived. It does not mean that Mary was conceived, like Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. It does not mean that Mary is a goddess, and it does not mean that Mary did not also need Jesus as her personal Savior. It also is not a sort of  "pre-condition" required so that Jesus would be born without sin.

So what is it? 

The doctrine of Immaculate Conception means that by God's Grace, Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. She was conceived in the normal manner, by an act of physical love between her parents - but God preemptively saved her from sin, filled her with His Grace. 

As described in this article at Catholic.com, think of Mary as being saved from the pit of sin - not by being pulled out by Jesus (as we are) but by being prevented from falling in the first place - prevented by the saving grace of Jesus. 

Contrary to what many think, this does *not* mean that Mary did not need Jesus as her Savior - but rather that he already did save her and continued to save her.

Mary's obedience to God's Will is but one part of the Christmas story, what about Joseph? Tomorrow, I will explore a bit of about this man who stood by Mary.

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