"Hail, Full of Grace!" – UPDATED

The Annunciation by Waterhouse

A little collection of links and videos appropriate to the Holy Day:

Start with Deacon Greg, whose affection for Our Lady seems to have blossomed into one of his loveliest homilies:

. . . one of the women said, “We’re Jewish, from up in Orange County, and we just don’t have anything like these [stained glass windows]. They’re just magnificent.”

Well, she’s right. They are magnificent. But she was wrong about something else. The Jewish people do have something as beautiful as these windows – in fact, we share with them something even more wondrous.

I’m speaking of Mary – the Jewish peasant girl whose feast we celebrate today.

No window here can compare to Mary, who served as God’s window into the world.

Thomas Merton put it perfectly.

“Mary”, he wrote “was as pure as the glass of a very clean window that has no other function than to admit the light of the sun.” And he explained: “If we rejoice in that light, we implicitly praise the cleanness of the window.”

I can’t think of a more beautiful way of considering Mary on this feast of the Immaculate Conception. Looking around this church, named for our Blessed Mother, we see the light these windows cast, the ever-changing colors, and we see, too, the ever-deepening reminders of Mary’s devotion. The golden light of a mother’s love…the blue of her sorrow…the red of her son’s own passion. But through it all there is light. Radiant, limitless, streaming light.

The light of the world.

And Mary is the window through which that light shines.

My own podcast: on Bernadette Soubirous’ encounter with The Immaculate Conception – it relates to this post

Fr. James Martin and The God of Surprises:

Fr. Robert Barron brings us St. Anselm:

To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, whom he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

In Rome: a look at the story reflected in Vatican Museum Frescoes

Joe Carter on the atheist’s dilemma:
When Nothing Created Everything

Getting into the biological exchanges between mother and child

Msgr. Charles Pope: On the Fittingness and Faithfulness of the Immaculate Conception:

The Gospel chosen for today may confuse some for it is the gospel that refers to Christ’s conception. However it is chosen for the fact of what the Angel Gabriel says to Mary: And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you (Lk 1:28). There is a Greek word underlying the translation “full of grace” and the word is κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitomene). The meaning of this term is much disputed since it is a hapax legomenon(a word that only occurs once in the whole of Scripture). The great scholar, Greek speaker and Father of the Church Origen said of this word: The angel greeted Mary with a new address which I could not find anywhere else in scripture….This greeting was reserved for Mary alone (Hom 6.7 on Luke).

Read it all, of course.

Pat Gohn: Redeemed and Exalted by the Merits of her Son and at Among Women!

New Advent: the Dogma

Too Much Mary: or too little Jesus?

O Mary: O Eve!

The House at Ephesus

Taylor Marshall: Who Crushes Satan’s Head?

New, New, New!

Happy Catholic: the end of the Novena

Pope Benedict XVI: God’s Mercy More Powerful than Evil

YIM: Because Dracula was a Catholic?

Lisa Graas: Is the Catholic Church Impeding Ted Turner’s Planet-Saving Agenda?

Fr. Steve: Solemnity Thoughts

The Divine Life:
Enmity with Satan

John Zmirak: Stitching in Limbo

Mark Shea: Immaculate Conception and Eastern Orthodoxy

Peter Nixon: A Must Read and Keeper

David Mills: Delivered from All Stain

Pat McNamara: The Pope who proclaimed the Dogma

Catholic Key: Immaculate Conception of Guadalupe

Fr. Dwight Longenecker:
on how he came to believe in the Immaculate Conception. Nicely done.

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Mooga

    (Posting like a madman today)

    Long before I even considered entering the Church, Marian devotion made me uneasy. Part of my objection was respectably Protestant: Jesus and Mary seemed to be engaged in a zero-sum contest for respect. More for one meant less for the other. Another part was pure snobbery The practice of venerating Mary made me think of toothless peasant women in black headscarves, crying into their mustaches over husbands who’d been bumped off in vendettas.

    It didn’t especially help that my first exposure came in December of 1996, at the Seminole Finance building in Clearwater, Floriday, on whose windows Mary allegedly appeared in the form of oil streaks. Seeing the image of a faceless, minimalist Mary surrounded by votive offerings and scribbled pleas for intercession (“Cuba si! Castro no!”) was enough to convince me that the whole business was loopy beyond recall.

    Since then, two things have softened that view. The first was a quote from Padre Pio that I found in a book of Rosary meditations. I can’t recall it word for word, but it boiled down to the observation that Mary’s DNA was in the Eucharist. If she was important enough to form part of a high-priority Sacrament, then, it seemed to follow, she might be pretty special after all.

    The other thing was your meditation on microchimerism. If being the Ark of the New Covenant was not a temporary assignment but a lifelong commission, then it might not matter so much that Mary disappears halfway through Acts of the Apostles, where she only shows up in crowd scenes. I’m not theologian enough to know whether it really supports the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, but it makes them sound saner to this untrained layman’s ear.

    Good food for thought.

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  • http://christophersapologies.blogspot.com/ Christopher

    Wow! What a list! I am going to enjoy reading them. This year I have been reflecting on the “singular grace” Mary received at the moment of her conception and our baptism. In both cases, God’s grace removes original sin, endowing Mary and us the freedom to choose Him in all our actions. Mary’s Immaculate Conception prefigures our baptism and demonstrates God’s plan to restore humanity. What an amazing grace! I posted my thoughts on my blog and welcome your thoughts on it.


  • http://yardsaleofthemind.wordpress.com/ Joseph

    Total blast from the past – that Nova Nova setting was written by Dr. Willametta Spencer, from whom I took music theory at Rio Hondo Junior College in about 1979. She writes amazingly wonderful music.

    One thing she said that has rattled around in my head for 30 years now:

    “The Catholic Church has the best liturgical music. And they don’t use it.” (this was 1979. I think Dr. Spencer is Anglican.)


  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I don’t know if we Catholics make too much of Mary. After reviewing Marionology this feast day, I would say not, but it’s certainly within the realm of argument. But I have to say that Protestants make way too little of our Blessed Mother, She is “full of Grace” even before she accepts God’s request.

    A great review of Marionolgy can be found on the lecture of Dr. Scott Hahn, a former Protestant turned Catholic. For a mere three bucks you can download it here at Lighthouse Catholic Media. It’s worth the three bucks, as all lectures are by Dr. Hahn.

  • Tonestaple

    Is the Catholic Church impeding Ted Turner’s planet-saving agenda? I certainly hope so – someone’s got to do it.

    It’s interesting: everything I’ve ever heard about Ted Turner indicated that he treated women with contempt. Now he is advocating a policy that has created a frightening imbalance in boy and girl babies where it has been tried. I don’t think Ted likes girls very much.

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