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  • Sarah Raad

Conception

“I am the Immaculate Conception…” (Our Lady of Lourdes).

The Immaculate Conception (Bartolome Esteban Murillo)

I have been reflecting on the beautiful power of Our Blessed Mother over the last few days and weeks, particularly through her identification as the Immaculate Conception…


When I was a little girl, I watched a film version of the visitations of Our Lady of Lourdes called “Bernadette”, which was released in 1988…


In the film, there is much discussion around Our Blessed Mother’s self-identification because she says, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. When I was a little girl I did not really understand what all the fuss was about. And now – as an adult – I can see why the concept went right over my head, so to speak.

You see, when Our Lady of Lourdes called herself the “Immaculate Conception” it caused all sorts of confusion in the Church. The reason for the confusion is that in calling herself the “Immaculate Conception”, Our Lady identifies herself as being at once both the ACTION of the Conception and the FRUIT of the union. Our Lady did not – for instance – say, “I am Immaculately Conceived.” She clearly described herself as the noun – “Immaculate Conception”…

I have been reflecting on this title of Our Blessed Mother in light of the teachings of Saint Maximillian Kolby, who was able to explain the title in a manner that was later endorsed by the Church…


Saint Maximillian explained this in two ways.


Firstly, he said that the Holy Spirit is the UNCREATED Immaculate Conception because He is the FRUIT of the Perfect Love between the Father and the Son. This means that the Holy Spirit is the UNCREATED Immaculate Conception because He has always been without beginning or end just as the other persons of the Holy Trinity have always been without end, and yet the Holy Spirit is the PRODUCT or conceived fruit of the love of the Other Persons.


Then, he described our Blessed Mother as the CREATED Immaculate Conception, because she calls herself the Immaculate Conception as a reflection of her elevation to the status of her spouse – the Holy Spirit. It was Our Blessed Mother’s perfect surrender of her WILL to God’s WILL that allowed – through her union with the Holy Spirit – for her to be elevated by her spouse who is God Himself. In this way, Our Blessed Mother Assumed the Name of Her Husband – the Holy Spirit through her unity with Him – just as a woman assumes her husband’s name in marriage…


And THIS – this elevation of Our Blessed Mother by God is the reason why Satan so hates her… You see – Satan was not just any angel. He was the prince among the angels – his was the highest place. And yet – HIS SIN OF PRIDE – caused him to decide to reject the Will of God because he wished to become more than God and follow his own will. And so it was that Satan was cast into Hell with all the other angels who rejected the Will of God through the sin of PRIDE.


Now imagine Satan’s incredulity when he realised that the place that he so coveted in Heaven was awarded not to him – the prince of the angels – but to a mere human woman instead. Granted, Our Blessed Mother is the most perfect of all Human Women and the most perfect of all human souls (with the exception of her Holy Son), but she is still only a HUMAN soul… And though human souls are created in the image and likeness of God, we are not pure spirits like the angels and therefore, we are less than they are.


And this is why I understand the power of Our Blessed Mother, who seeks to do the Will of God. And so, I turn to my Blessed Mother so that she can help me to submit to God’s Will…


For Pope Saint John Paul II urged, “Make yourselves saints and do it quickly…” And that is exactly what I would have her do for me, who of myself am nothing…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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