Immaculate Conception: The Door Opening

The Immaculate Conception is the door opening on our salvation.

It is God the Father, preparing the way for the birth of God the Son by first preparing a holy mother for Him.

The idea that God chose to enter the world as a helpless baby, born to a young girl and her carpenter husband in a backwater province of a conquered nation goes against everything we know and believe about what makes a person important.

We live in a world where might makes right and the biggest and meanest get to make all the rules. This disregard for the little people of the world was even more pronounced in that long-ago day when Our Lady was conceived. This tiny spark of humanity, who was destined to become the bearer of the hope of all humankind, was, if possible, even less important to the worldly world than her baby son would be at His beginning.

She was, after all, a girl in a world that to this day regards little girls as less than worthless. She was that half of humanity which was often exposed at birth and left to rot. Even today in large swaths of what we call civilization, baby girls are aborted because they are girls, and if they are born, killed shortly afterwards. Girls in these cultures often get less food, little education and almost no support in their development as people. They are subjected to brutalities ranging from female genital mutilation, to child marriages, rape and battering.

And yet, God chose, with every possibility possible at His disposal, to come into our world through the motherhood of a young woman. God entrusted Himself to a mother from His conception to His eventual death on the cross. It was a woman who gave Him life and who nurtured, shaped and reared Him into young manhood. This does not take anything away from Joseph’s contribution. Fathers are just as important as mothers. But today we are considering the one person who was with Jesus from conception to grave, and who then was there at Pentecost when the Church was born.

Mary is the mother of us all, the essential human contribution to the undoing of the curse of the Fall. She was prophesied at the Fall and she will be there at the real end when Jesus comes again.

And it began with her conception, when God re-created the lost innocence of Eden in a new Eve who would give birth to the salvific Child to undo our transgressions. This great re-wind started then, in her Immaculate Conception. It was the long-awaited door opening. This feast day is our chance to go back and re-learn what has been given to us by a young girl who, conceived without sin as the original Eve had been, did not falter in her mission as that earlier Eve did, but remained sinless until her own death.

God gave us Mary, and Mary, through her obedience and faith, gave us His son.

She is not, as some traditions try to treat her, a mindless incubator we bring out for Christmas pageants and then forget the rest of the year. Our Lady is woven into the story of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. Everything that is wholly human about Our Lord comes from and through her. She gave us her Son, first at His birth and then later at Calvary; and He in turn, gave us His mother.

The Immaculate Conception is a door opening on the end of hopelessness and death. It is a cell-sized point of light shining in the darkness of our own devices. Mary, Our Mother, began the way we all did, as a single cell made in the image and likeness of God.

Christ’s humanity is her humanity. Her dignity is our dignity. She is our mother for the ages.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    Thank you for this moving reflection, Rebecca – very true.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Jessica.

  • http://backoftheworld.com Ryan M.

    Rebecca, there’s obviously been a lot of bloggers posting on the Immaculate Conception this week, but this post… this is the single best thing I’ve read all week! Thank you so much for this!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank YOU for this lovely comment Ryan.

  • http://mywordwall.wordpress.com Imelda

    Thank you for writing about the Blessed Mother. :-) It is always nice to read about her. How generous God has been to honor mankind by raising one of our own above the angels. I find that contemplating about the work of God on the Blessed Mother is a great source of joy and consolation.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      So do I.

  • http://www.unwalled.wordpress.com Kim

    Beautifully expressed!

  • Bill S

    I have comments on every story in reverse chronological order up to this one. Just to be consistently negative, it kind of annoys me when people mix up the immaculate conception with the virgin birth. It doesn’t help that the gospel for the day describes how Jesus was conceived. People think that that moment in time is the immaculate conception of Jesus. Immaculate being that there is no sex involved. This has affected some people’s attitude toward sex. Women who haven’t had sex for a long time even claim that they can’t have a baby unless it is an immaculate conception. I have had enough education to know that the immaculate conception is the concept that Mary was conceived without Original Sin.

    The veneration of Mary is something that separates Catholics from other Christians. I’m not sure that is a good thing. But it is what it is. That wasn’t so bad was it?


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