Mary shows our destiny

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It is very apropos that during this Advent season, we meet Mary along the way on this feast day, and then we meet Mary again at the end of this week in Our Lady of Guadalupe, preparing for the birth of Christ.
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The Immaculate Conception.
‘Immaculate,’ means pure and clean. The Immaculate Conception, is when Mary was conceived without sin in her mother’s womb. She never had Original Sin. But what does this mean?
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A young woman asked, how Mary could have been conceived without sin, isn’t she human like us?’
Well, what IS Original Sin? A person with Original Sin actually has something missing. They are missing grace. We are born into the world without the supernatural grace of God. We come into the world in a natural sate, not supernatural –  without the Life of God in us. THAT is what Original Sin is. It’s a condition of being without sanctifying grace. So Mary was just as human as us,[i] just as human as her mother and father. Our Lady is a true member of the human family, one of us.
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WE acquire the supernatural life of God when we are baptized; grace comes into our soul. The Life of God. But for Mary, she received the Life of God in her – grace – right away. As the angel clearly said, ‘Hail Mary, FULL of grace.
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Eve had the life of God in her when she first was made; she and Adam walked with God, but they lost grace. Mary is called the New Eve, and St. Paul will say that Christ is the New Adam. So Mary is full of grace, from the very beginning, because she will be the model of what we can be.
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A protestant friend said to me, ‘Father, we are all sinners, we are nothing, we are vile and filthy and weak before the Lord God.’ Isn’t this true of Mary? I said, ‘It is true that we are sinners and wretches before the Good God.’ But you have forgotten the rest of the story: God wants us to become great. He has made us his children. Sons and daughters of the Most High. He wants us to be other Christs, like Jesus. He wants grace to increase in us – until we are Full of Grace!
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Now ONE of us shows the goal that God has for us, the Greatest Saint. Mary is the image of the whole Church. She is the first one of us to have it all. In heaven, Our Mother is sinless, pure, holy, great, beautiful, and alive. And this is the goal of the entire Church – to reach heaven and be great and pure, and immaculate.[ii] Mary leads the way, and so she is called the Gate of heaven.
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St. Bernard[iii] says that if we have the misfortune to lose grace, by mortal sin, if we are discouraged, Mary will help us. She will obtain for us the courage to confess, and change our life. He calls Mary the Finder of Grace!
Finder of Grace? She does not find it for herself, because she is full of grace; she finds it for us sinners.

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[i] Peter Kreeft in Catholic Christianity, p. 405. Protestants confuse Original Sin with a distorted humanity. They think Mary suddenly was born with a different humanity. Not so, same humanity, but with grace.

[ii] AD DIEM ILLUM LAETISSIMUM, number 5.

[iii] Glories, p. 81.

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