MOTHER! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!
Despite a common misconception about this solemn feast, today the Church honors, not Our Lord’s virginal conception in the womb of Our Lady (that we honor on the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord), but the conception of Our Lady, our tainted nature’s solitary boast.
Our Lady is one of us, raised to a dignity that is beautiful and amazing. She, who bore the son of God, could have no stain of sin in her, for she was to be the Ark of the New Covenant, the God bearer, the Mother of the Word Incarnate. The Ark of the Old Covenant was but a shadow of the New, and the care that God commanded in it’s making foreshadowed the extreme importance of that chosen vessel, who would become Mother to the Savior of the World – an honor and gift of huge proportions.
In today’s Office of Readings St. Anselm says, ”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.” In anticipation of Jesus’ saving sacrifice, Our Lady is preserved from the stain of original sin, but she is no less redeemed through Jesus.
The Catechism says this:
492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.
And goes on to say:
508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. “Full of grace,” Mary is “the most excellent fruit of redemption” (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life.
Our Lady that most excellent fruit of redemption, she, the Mother of Jesus, that one who is full of grace, is also our Mother, a gift beyond measure, who stands ever ready to help remake our souls into the image of Jesus.
Our Lady, Immaculate One, Pray for Us!