Join us in our discussion about the Blessed Virgin Mary as we acknowledge her role in salvation.Â Â St. Augustine asserts that while Eve is the called the mother of the human race, Mary is called “Mother of salvation.” St. Jerome claims, “death through Eve, life through Mary.” These ideas illustrate the importance of Mary’s role in Christ’s redemption. In this the first of two discussions about Mary, we explore the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary and how she is the Church’s model of faith.At the start of this discussion, it must be clear that what the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illuminates in turn its faith in Christ. Doctrines concerning Mary are part of the Word of God that consists of both Scripture and Tradition. Like Mary, the Church is the faithful handmaid of God’s Word. There are five key doctrines, rooted explicitly or implicitly in the Bible, that reveal the truth of who Mary is.The Catholic Church does not teach that Mary is divine. She is no goddess but a creature like us. She is absolutely unique and special because she is the woman out of all of history who was chosen by God the Father to give human flesh and blood to his divine Son.Â This act of God “the Incarnation”, is often misunderstood as the “Immaculate Conception.”The “Immaculate Conception” does not refer to the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. Rather, it refers to the conception of Mary in her mother’s womb. This truth has been taught and believed since at least the third century. Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God (cf. Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28), was redeemed from the moment of her conception. This “dogma” was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. “Since she was to be the mother of the Redeemer” the one free from all sin so that he could be the perfect expiation of sin, it was necessary for her to be free from sin. Thus, God preserved Mary from original sin at the first moment of her conception.This first part of the discussion on Mary, shows how when we talk about Mary we ALWAYS do so in relationship to Jesus Christ. We do not worship her.Â God alone is adored and worshiped. Our devotion to Mary is meant always and only to lead us to deeper devotion to Christ, her son. We believe Mary was chosen by God for this and is thus a new mother for a new people, the People of God in Christ. As such she is he exemplary realization of the Church.More on Mary from the the Cathecism
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