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PART ONE: What About Mary?
“All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”
By a soul
(Friday, May 8, 2020, Month of Our Blessed Mother)
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for Protestant Christians when considering Catholicism is Our Heavenly Queen, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I believe that it is fairly easy to accept that the Mother of Jesus is Our Spiritual Mother, too, if you carefully consider the passage in Sacred Scripture where on the Cross, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is entrusting St. John the Apostle with the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How St. John the Apostle is representing spiritually all future Christians who are being adopted into the Divine Family with the Blessed Virgin Mary being the Spiritual Mother of All Christians. I also believe that it is fairly easy to accept the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Greatest Intercessor among the angels and saints in Heaven. How, just as we can ask people on earth to pray for us; likewise, we can ask the angels and saints in Heaven to pray for us—with the Blessed Mother being our closest advocate—friend—among the Communion of Saints in Heaven.
However, the biggest stumbling block for Protestant Christians is when they consider the bible verses, Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 23, and First Letter of Saint John, Chapter 1, Verse 8. Here they are:
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
1 John 1:8
“If any man says he has no sin he is a liar and the truth is not in him.”
* * *
Well, in this commentary, I want to address the biblical rationale for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because I believe that every Catholic needs to be able to defend Our Heavenly Queen and Our Blessed Mother. Please note that I do not consider myself to be a biblical scholar, so I am not an theology expert in Christian apologetics, but I wanted to do this writing, because I am one of the types of people who learns through writing (if you have not noticed yet). So, this writing is very much for me as for you, my dear followers of MaryRefugeOfSouls, so we can learn together how to interpret Sacred Scripture regarding these bible verses. This is also a first part writing, as I plan to do a second part writing on the Immaculate Conception—which will be much lengthier as I consider Divine (Private) Revelation. But, for this first writing, I am just considering the Holy Bible and how we, Catholics, should answer these probing questions about how Saint Paul said, all have sinned, etc.
Chiefly, please understand, that there is a major difference between how Catholics and how other Christians define sin. Catholics (and I can include our Orthodox brothers and sisters in this understanding, too) define sin into different types (or categories) before God. Firstly, there is Original Sin and there is Actual Sin. Then, there are two types of Actual Sin, which are Personal Sin and Communal Sin. And of Personal Sin, it can be broken down into Venial Sin and Mortal Sin. Also, both Personal Sin and Communal Sin consist of either Sins of Commission and Sins of Omission.
Now, if you are a devout Catholic who often attends the Sacrament of Confession, I believe that you would understand what I just wrote about the different types of sin and have an idea of their respective definitions. But many other Christians (Protestants and even ill-informed Catholics) lump all types of sin together and it is because they do not recognize the different distinctions of sin, that the world is in trouble with God’s Divine Justice. Especially, when it comes to recognizing communal sin, because many people only want to take responsibility for themselves (if that), but the thought that everybody’s sins might also has societal effects and repercussions is fiercely opposed by our mainly individualistic Western culture. But, that is an issue for a wholly different commentary than this one.
But, it is only because Catholics define sin into different types (or categories) before God that other Christians can even begin to understand the meaning of what Saint Paul wrote when he said, “all have sinned,” etc., in the context of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the Catholic belief that the Blessed Virgin was preserved from Original Sin from the moment of Her Conception and that She remained Sinless throughout Her entire life on earth. (Original Sin is the sin that mankind inherited due to the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden).
Now, let’s unpack what Saint Paul the Apostle wrote. Firstly, when Saint Paul stated that “all have sinned”, he was referring to Actual Sin—the type of sin that a person commits once he or she reaches the age of reason (about 7 years old). There are actually millions of people that this biblical verse does not apply to. They are millions of people who have not reached the age of reason—the age when they know the difference between right and wrong for their actions—and have died. They consist of unborn babies and young children. Also, persons with mental disabilities such as severe retardation are incapable of sinning before God. Such individuals are incapable of knowing the difference between right and wrong, and so, they cannot be included in Saint Paul’s statement that “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” If Saint Paul wanted to state that everyone is conceived in Original Sin, then he would have written the bible verse differently. But, that would also be a falsehood, because we know that both Adam and Eve were originally created immaculate as well as Our Lord, Jesus Christ—who was like us all except in sin as Sacred Scripture teaches. So, is it really a stretch to realize that Our Heavenly Queen was conceived immaculate due to the future merits of Her Divine Son, Jesus Christ? Because “all” must not mean “all of mankind” if there are millions of exceptions to this statement that all have sinned.
So, clearly, Saint Paul was referring to Actual Sin and not Original Sin. And so, now, the question then becomes, if the Blessed Mother could have been conceived immaculate, did She commit any Personal Sin during Her lifetime?
Well, we find the answer in the Salutation—the Greeting that the Archangel Saint Gabriel gave to the Blessed Virgin Mary when he approached Her at the Annunciation. In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 28, Saint Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you”, from which we can understand that Mary had the Spirit of God dwelling within Her in the fullest sense of the word. We can also infer that “full of grace” means that she did not lose any graces from the time of Her conception in Her mother, Anne’s womb. Although some Christians may counter saying that in the next verse it says that Mary was greatly troubled by the Salutation, suggesting that perhaps She knew that She was not sinless, but that would be a false interpretation. The reason that Mary was troubled was because Saint Gabriel was announcing to Her a new Name—a new title for which She is be called and recognized by the generations. Saint Gabriel did not simply say, “Hail, Mary”, or “Hail, Joe”, or “Hail, Anne”, as any other person would be greeted by another person by their name. Saint Gabriel announced a new Holy Name for Our Blessed Mother, just as other important people in the history of salvation have had their names changed by God in Sacred Scripture. Saint Gabriel was announcing the new Holy Name for the Blessed Mother by which She is to be known as the Immaculata, or Sinless One, before God. And so, in Her humility, Mary was greatly troubled because of this title, this honor, bestowed to Her by the angel, until Saint Gabriel reassured Her that She had found favor with God.
Now, I want to address the final Bible verse that Protestant Christians counter with to deny the Sinlessness of Our Beloved Queen. In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 1, Verses 46-47, the Blessed Mother says these words as part of Her Magnificat or Canticle to God, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” And so, some Christians may contend that Mary would have never said that God was Her Savior if She was truly sinless, because She would not need any savior at all. Well, ironically, in this day of the coronavirus, the easiest way to explain to non-Catholics that Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is indeed the Savior of Our Blessed Mother as well, is to liken Original Sin to an infectious disease. While the rest of humanity becomes tainted with Original Sin as part of their conception, the Blessed Mother received the vaccine before everyone else, and so, was never infected. And so, Jesus Is very much indeed the Savior of Our Blessed Mother because She was “saved” ahead of time in this way by God. For the chief reason that Our Lord needed the purest vessel to be conceived in—the Immaculate Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary—such is the Supreme Holiness of Our Lord.
In conclusion, although Sacred Scripture does not address directly whether the Blessed Mother remained sinless throughout Her entire life—after the Annunciation happened—I am able to discern from private revelation, that at the moment of the Annunciation, the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was spiritually joined to the Immaculate Heart of Our Beloved Queen. And so, from that joining, Her soul was raised to such a high state of grace with God, that Her free will became incapable of committing any possible sin against God. Truly, Our Blessed Mother’s Fiat, or ‘Yes’ to the Incarnation of Her Divine Son in Her Womb was the last possible chance when the Blessed Mother could have conceivably fallen out of grace with God. After Their Two Hearts were joined together, the free will consciousness of the Blessed Virgin Mary was so elevated and enraptured and embodied in the essence of and Glory of God, She could no longer fall. Such was the reward for Her ever-faithfulness to God. Her free will since Her birth had increasingly evolved and became so entwined with the Divine Will of God that it became annihilated in God to the point where She wholly lived for God alone and His Will manifest in the world.
I hope that I explained that right, as some things are too mystically beyond my capability of understanding and explaining adequately this side of Heaven. I understand it in my heart, but using human words can be inadequate at times with mystical concepts. Anyways, I do plan to write a Part Two relying on private revelation to explain the Immaculate Conception of Our Beloved Queen, but that is for the future. Meanwhile, my hope is that this particular commentary will benefit those who have been challenged to understand and explain the Immaculate Conception from a biblical viewpoint. God bless!
In Christ’s Love,
Why it is Okay for All People to Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to Intercede for Them – By a soul https://maryrefugeofsouls.com/2016/08/17/why-it-is-okay-for-all-people-to-ask-the-blessed-virgin-mary-to-intercede-for-them/
The Heavenly Gifts – A Commentary By a soul https://maryrefugeofsouls.com/invitation-to-become-a-child-of-mary/the-heavenly-gifts/
Special Commentary – Why Must Mankind Undergo the Great Tribulation? – By a soul https://maryrefugeofsouls.com/2020/05/01/special-commentary-why-must-mankind-undergo-the-great-tribulation-by-a-soul/
Invitation To Become A Child Of Mary