Mary
Part 5 Mary and Theology

Chapter m54 Immaculate Conception

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Doctrinal Content

Magisterium

History of Doctrine

Ecumenical Considerations

Liturgical Celebration - Rank

Liturgy - Date

History of the Feast

Readings at the Eucharist

Readings at the Liturgy of the Hours

Social Significance -- Homily Points

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

What does the Catholic Church teach about Mary?  Have you taken a theology course on Mary? Where can you find current Church teaching on the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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Bibliography

 Pope Paul VI,  Marialis Cultus, Apostolic Exhortation for the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1974 Feb 02   Text available in English at  http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6marial.htm

Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, Encyclical Letter, March 25, 1987

John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Apostolic Letter on the Most Holy Rosary, 2002 Oct 16  can be found at  http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae_en.html

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Doctrinal Content

The gospel passage which is assigned in the Lectionary for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Luke 1:26-38, quoted here from the NRSV for copyright purposes) contains the basic biblical source for our discussion.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

"Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."  "Hail, Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee." 

"Full of Grace" is the flipside of "without sin".  Commenting on this passage and its use in the "Hail Mary", Wikipedia says: 

The first of the two passages from Saint Luke's Gospel is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, originally written in Koine Greek. The opening word of greeting, χαῖρε, chaíre, here translated "Hail," literally has the meaning "rejoice" or "be glad." This was the normal greeting in the language in which Saint Luke's Gospel is written and continues to be used in the same sense in Modern Greek. Accordingly, both "Hail" and "Rejoice" are valid English translations of the word ("Hail" reflecting the Latin translation, and "Rejoice" reflecting the original Greek).

The word κεχαριτωμένη, (kecharitōménē), here translated as "full of grace," admits of various translations. Grammatically, the word is the feminine present perfect passive voice participle of the verb χαριτόω, charitóō, which means "to show, or bestow with, grace" and, in the passive voice, "to have grace shown, or bestowed upon, one." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Mary

If Mary is "full" of grace, some theologians, such as for example the Franciscan John Duns Scotus taught that this "fullness" would have been there from the very beginning, from the moment of Mary's conception.  This would imply that she had no sin, actual or original.  Duns Scotus is often pictured in art with a scroll saying "Potuit, decuit, fecit" orgarding Mary's conception without original sin.  "God was able to preserve Mary from the Sin of Adam (potuit); it was fitting that God do this (decuit); and therefore God did it (fecit).

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Magisterium

 role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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History of Doctrine

 role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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Ecumenical Considerations

role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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Liturgical Celebration - Rank

 role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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Liturgy - Date

 role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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History of the Feast

role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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Readings at the Eucharist

Reading One  Genesis 3:9-20
God speaks to Adam after he had eaten of the tree.

Psalm  98
Sing to the Lord and new song


Reading Two  Ephesians 1:3-12
We are chosen in Christ to be holy and without blemish

Gospel  Luke 1:26-38 
Annunciation [
full of grace]

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Readings at the Liturgy of the Hours

 role of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

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Social Significance -- Homily Points

At baptism all our sins, original and actual, are taken away and we too are sinless.  We are called to preserve this sinless state (as symbolized by the white garment) until we arrive with Mary in heaven.

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In your mind, how far does the "sinlessness" of Mary extend?  It is defined that she was without original sin.  We can presume that she was without mortal sin.  And venial sinHuman imperfections?  --  How do you think of Mary as "sinless" and still think of her as "human like us"?

If you understand Original Sin not to be a historical event due to your theological understanding of the Eden Myth, how does this affect the way you understand the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?

 

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 04/11/14 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org