On Dec, 8 2021
Contrary to popular belief, the great feast of the Immaculate Conception is not a day to remember that Jesus was born immaculately! Even though it is not about Jesus' birth, it takes nothing away from His perfect nature, but rather points to it.
One of the reasons the Church includes this feast during the Advent season is because we are called to remember that Mary was conceived immaculately. But how and why? The how part is answered simply by stating that God can do anything! The why part is very important for us to know because it says something about the nature of Jesus.
This important feast points to the mystery of the Incarnation and is an important to understand. Mary is referred to in scripture as the “New Eve” and Jesus as the “New Adam.” Together they are for all of humanity, throughout time, a perfected image of God, as we were intended before original sin.
The simple truth regarding Mary’s Immaculate Conception is that if God intended to dwell within her she had to be perfect. God cannot dwell within Mary’s biological human nature if she is imperfect by the stain of original sin. Mary's Immaculate Conception is necessary and prepared her for the special mission of bearing God incarnate.
Most importantly, Mary's miraculous conception paved the way for the most incredible miracle of all time-the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
A few centuries before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah prophesied:
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14
The most important word in Isaiah’s prophecy is ‘Virgin.’ It’s important because it’s impossible for a virgin to conceive. The second most important word is Immanuel – meaning God is with us. This prophecy, a good five centuries before the birth of Jesus clearly stated that the impossible would become possible – a Virgin would conceive a child and that in this child’s nature God himself would be present. The name Immanuel was not trending that year. It actually means that the presence of God would be in our midst.
The Old Testament is filled with many prophecies about Jesus and many other references to the coming Messiah. The birth of Christ was not intended to be a surprise, but a fulfillment of what we’ve come to know as Salvation History. This history begins with the story of creation, man’s fall, and the subsequent story of God’s unending accompaniment of His people. The prophecies clearly reveal that God Himself is entering into our physical realm and that His coming will usher in a new era that will forever change the course of human history. Although it seems impossible, it makes total sense as to why the Lord had to prepare Mary even from her conception for this high calling as the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah.
One of the most important truth of the gospels-our faith. Without this element the contradiction of the Incarnation or the impossibility of the immaculate conception remains an obstacle too high to understand. It is through the gift of faith that we can accept these divine mysteries.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
This act of faith in Jesus and the Church's teachings is a matter of the heart and mind, a choice that every person must make in the Incarnate Son. Once made, we enter into a new and heavenly reality embarking on the path of heaven.
If you want to learn more about the theology of the Immaculate Conception and what our Church believes, check out this quick explanation from Fr. Mike and Ascension Presents: