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La Leçon de catéchisme (Catechism Lesson), 1890, by Jules-Alexis Muenier (1863-1942), oil on canvas, Musée des beaux-arts et d’archéologie de Besançon

Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you, but do so with gentleness and reverence.”

cf. 1 Peter 3:15-16

catechesis

A daily morsel of Catholic education and faith formation.

Mary

Was she immaculately conceived (and without sin)?

QUESTION OR COMMON OBJECTION:

Catholics think Mary never sinned, but she called God her “savior.”  That means she must have sinned.

CATHOLIC ANSWER:

God did save Mary – by giving her a special grace to preserve her from sin.  The angel Gabriel said to Mary …

Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you.”

Luke 1:28

To be “full of grace” means to be without sin.  The Ark of the Covenant was created perfectly to hold the Word of God – the Ten Commandments.  Mary was created without sin to hold the Word of God – Jesus.

Other References:  Ex 25:10-22Gen 3:15Lk 1:49

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From the author

To be “full of grace” means to be without sin.  When you have a deep understanding of Holy Scripture and Mary’s role in Salvation History, you’ll understand why she was (and needed to be) preserved from the stain of Original Sin.

The Ark of the Covenant was created perfectly to hold the Word of God (The Ten Commandments).  The Ark also contained Aaron’s rod (staff), which signified the priestly office of the Priesthood; and the Ark contained the manna from heaven (see Hebrews 9:4).  The Ark of the Covenant of the Old Testament was a prefigurement of what, or Who, was to come.  The Ark prefigured Mary.  The Church Fathers, intimate with and having a deep understanding of Holy Scripture, acclaimed Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant – for Mary’s womb carried Jesus Christ.  Nestled within her womb for nine months was the Eternal High Priest, the Incarnate Word of God, and the Bread come down from Heaven.  Jesus, in His Person, established the New Covenant.

In a Coptic sermon, attributed to Saint Athanasius (ca. 293-373 A.D.), the Holy Virgin is thus addressed:

“O Ark of the new covenant, clad on all sides with purity in place of gold; the one in whom is found the golden vase with its true manna, that is the flesh in which lies the God-head.”

So, like the Ark of the Covenant we understand of the Old Testament, Mary, too, was created perfectly to hold within her Jesus Christ.  It was God who preserved her without the stain of sin because it would be Mary who would one day hold within her womb Jesus the Eternal High Priest, God in the Flesh, and the Bread of Heaven.  All generations would soon call her blessed (Lk 1:48), for she would become the Mother of God.  She who was created … gave birth to her Creator.  How awesome is that!

catholic answers

trent Horn

When Catholics say Mary was immaculately conceived, they mean that at the moment of her conception Mary was filled with God’s sanctifying grace. God protected her from sin throughout her life, but did it have to be this way? Trent Horn explains why it was fitting for Mary to be conceived without sin for her role as Mother of God.

tim staples

If Mary was sinless as Catholics believe, then why does the Bible say she needed a savior? Tim Staples tackles this common objection on Catholic Answers Live.

Ascension Presents

Filmed in the home of Mary, Part 2 of Ascension Presents’ series on Mary focuses on the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and how it is rooted in the Archangel Gabriel’s greeting, “Hail, full of grace.” Dr. Edward Sri explains why this biblical support of the Church’s teaching doesn’t take away from Christ’s saving power, but shows how Mary received God’s salvation at the point of her conception. God gave Mary this special grace so she could be the holy vessel who held his son. Taken from Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother.

catechism of the Catholic Church

For information about what the Catholic Church believes, answers to FAQs, and an encompassing resource addressing common objections and misconceptions non-Catholics and Catholics alike may have about the Church and what it teaches, we invite you to visit the online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 

PRAYER

Let us pray.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.

St. Michael the Archangel, by Reni Guido, 1635, 17th Century, originally oil on silk. St. Michael stepping on Devil’s head while holding his sword.

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”

Saint John Paul II, pope

 

Jesus, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (cf. John 6:68).

 

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family, pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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