Wednesday, January 14, 2009


On 8th December 1854, Pope Pius IX officially declared the Doctrine of Immaculate Conception of St. Mary in the Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus. The Church celebrates this truth on the 8th of December every year.

Immaculate Conception of St. Mary means that she was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, without ‘original sin’ or its stain. Original sin refers to the deprivation of sanctifying grace and the inclination to sin shown by every person as a result of the sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Sacrament of Baptism removes original sin from us; but St. Mary, by an exceptional grace granted by God, was exempted and preserved from all stain of original sin from the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body- that is, from the first moment of her existence, conception or animation. Hippolytus calls her the Tabernacle exempt from defilement and corruption. St. Ephraem said she was as innocent as Eve before her fall.

Sanctifying grace was granted to her before sin could influence her soul. She earned this exemption from the universal law through the merits of Jesus Christ, which cleanse others from sin during baptism. Thus St. Mary did not require a removal of the essence of original sin from her soul as her immaculate soul was immune from it and was excluded from it by the special grace of God. This quality of her purity, the supernatural state of her soul and the divine grace Mary enjoyed right from her conception, are reflected in the salutation of Gabriel during the Annunciation, “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you”{Luke 1: 28}. She was the perfect abode for the incarnation of God.

By: N.G.Philip, Bethel, Nalamchira, Thiruvananthapuram-15, India & Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is story No. 70 in this site. Please click ‘older posts’ at bottom of page to read previous stories in this site.

No comments: