Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Monstra te esse Matrem edition)

UPDATE: See important exchange in the comments box. Yikes!!!

red bud

Today’s the day. Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled. Mary Immaculate is The Warrior in her virginal motherhood, by way of Her Seed, The Redeemer.

While I do put this up from time to time, forgive me, it is not bragging. It is Mary’s gift to me to give back to her. I say that in all humility (I hope). But it must be said. What I write here (based on a rather intense thesis) followed by six Pontifical Universities in its writing (also by enemies of my conclusions), with no one, including enemies, able to provide any correction or demonstrate that anything is mistaken in any way, presents for the first time (and there are historical reasons for that) that the transmission of original sin by propagation is demonstrated from the Scriptural text, and, therefore, also the Immaculate Conception of the Virginal Mother of the Redeemer.

We cry: “Monstra te esse Matrem!” (Show yourself to be a Mother!) Today’s the day she shows herself to be a mother, the Mother of the Redeemer and our Mother. She’s the warrior, the one who is singled out in Genesis 3:15 as going into the battle that is itself the war against the ancient dragon, the fallen Oracle, the deadly serpent whose power will be crushed by the heel of the Redeemer, with that Redeemer Himself dying because of this initiative of love.

In honor of the Immaculate Conception on this day of days, in this hour of hours, I offer you the bullet points of the argument and the thesis on which it is based, as well as the audio for the conference given to the IVE in Washington, DC, a few years back.




Filed under Flores, Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

11 responses to “Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Monstra te esse Matrem edition)

  1. Monica Harris

    I will have to read the bullet points a few million times to really understand this, but at least you answered my question about why enmity is like a grace. And I am starting to see how this could be a step to uniting Jews and Catholics.

  2. sanfelipe007

    I’ve heard this before! What a great way to spend Good Friday. You are a good son, Father.

  3. elizdelphi

    I listened to half of it first in the middle of the day while doing some other tasks and that was not adequate for understanding it. Thanks for providing the text of it also which i certainly needed to understand it when I listened to the whole thing again after coming home from Good Friday service. I get substantially more comprehension from reading than hearing. The people listening to it must be theology students. [Yes, Institute of the Incarnate Word, plus some high powered guests.]

    Your explanation of the breath of the living ones becoming the breath of the dying ones with Original Sin is fascinating. Particularly, because as a Catechist I have tried to make it my most important mission to give the kids an idea of what it means to be in a state of grace and how to protect God’s life in them and how to grow in the life of Grace, a life of friendship with God. Not only with the kids, but I lead adult parish book study groups and I find that adults also need a coherent formation in this and find it eye opening, twice now I have taught Saint Teresa’s The Interior Castle with the life of Grace highlighted and strongly emphasized. What you said so well about cooperation with God’s grace (but avoiding Pelagianism) in response to a question after this talk strongly resonated with so much of what I and my friends recently discussed about St Teresa’s teaching. So I was keenly interested in how does what I try to teach everyone about the life of Grace map to what you were talking about in this talk, so please help me to understand your thought and scriptural exegesis in relation to my own thoughts, because I am pondering it and getting confused:

    a. Is “the breath of the living” directly equivalent to the life of Grace? [No. It is a normal breath of air the same as the animals have, and it is used that way, as simple breath, in Genesis, such as at the time of the flood.] If not what is the relationship of the life of Grace to that? [It is an inescapable implication during the formation of Adam that this breath is coming with the provision of life, but simply the life that that particular creature, so different from others, is intended to have by YHWH Elohim. Adam is reflective, has free will, the correct use of which keeps him living. He is to be a coworker with God in creation, and must agree to this. This supernatural relationship with God necessitates the life of grace. He is in the state of sanctifying grace, a free gift of God, until he sins, changing the intention of the breath to that of the dying ones.]

    b. Does Adam receive God’s gift of enmity in regard to the serpent during his natural life, or only on Holy Saturday? [Immediately at the statement to the serpent in Genesis 3:15. We read of Adam’s sanctity in the book of Wisdom 10:1-2.]

    c. Does Adam receive the grace of the Redeeming Sacrifice on Calvary (an eternal act after all) during his natural life, or only on Holy Saturday? [Enmity and sanctifying grace are one and the same, or better, enmity demands the foundation of sanctifying grace in order to be there.]

    d. Do b. and c. mean the same thing? [see above] Is the enmity in regard to the serpent simply the flipside (the negative aspect) of being in the Seed of the Woman, living in YHWH Elohim (in Christ) with the breath of the living? [He is cut off from friendship, as it were, with fallen humanity when the grace of God is given, for God has usurped Satan’s rights over us. He had rights because of our obeying him, as it were, in Adam.]

    e. Were you and I born with “the breath of the dying ones” [Yes. We’re falling into the grace the moment we are conceived.] and did we then receive “the breath of the living ones” and the enmity in regard to the serpent when we were Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? [Yes, with this grace specifically having its origin in the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ, which contains within it the new breath of the living ones. Remember the bit about Christ also breathing on the Apostles after the Resurrection?] Or did we receive the enmity,[Yes.] but we have still the “breath of the dying ones” (since certainly this is inherited by the children of baptized Christians)? [We retain the effects of the sin in all justice in this world because the consequences of the sin were freely chosen with the sin.] Or did we receive the enmity only when we grew up to the age of reason and God gave actual grace to choose not to sin? [Even with grace and enmity, we still have free will and the weakness of original sin, and our own. We always needs God’s graces to keep us before Him in reverence and faith and love.]

    f. If I committed a mortal sin, did I lose the “breath of the living ones” and regain it when I made a good confession and was sacramentally absolved? (I guess this is the same as question a.) [Good question! This is actually the origin of the fundamental option heresy of moral theologians of this past century. They couldn’t accept that mortal sin was really mortal, as if we could jump in and out of grace like some bit hopscotch game. The sincerity of confession is always a question. The freedom of the will is always a question. Etc. Good thing that Jesus, who is good and kind, is the judge. But, yes, all things being equal, one loses grace. Just to say, again, we must suffer the weaknesses and death of the consequences of sin though we have the breath of the living ones within us in the state of grace.]

    g. Are you seeing the fact of a second, overlapping creation account in Genesis as a foreshadowing of the second, overlapping generation of man in Christ? [Genesis 1:1–2,3 is one story which for Adam ends on day 6. Genesis 2:4–3:24 is another presentation, complementary, which has its own two generations: the creation and fall of Adam, the renewed creation of Adam in the new Adam, the Son of the Mother of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15.]

    Sorry for all the questions, you could probably see what my confusion is from the questions and explain it to me briefly. This was one of those things where I got more confused the more I thought.

  4. Monica Harris

    Ok, so when is the correct version of this verse going to be issued in the Vulgate?

  5. elizdelphi

    Thanks for the answers! This is making more sense, though I may still be slightly confused. Is this correct: when the Christian who was born with the consequences of original sin and with the breath of the dying ones, comes to be in a state of sanctifying grace, he still bears the consequences of sin in himself (now a cross to carry in union with Christ) but through the Eucharist does have the breath of the living ones, because this is the life we have in Christ? Put that way it seems like a strange state to be a Christian, to have this body of death and yet to have this life. [Strange for us who seek mercy cut off from justice, but, don’t forget, mercy and justice are one on the cross.] But I think one can see St Paul saying things like that, carrying about in ourselves the dying of Jesus that the life of Jesus may be in us also, etc. [Yes, this is what Saint Paul means.] Didn’t He take on all these effects of sin even though never did He lack the breath of the living ones but was its very origin? [No. Our Lord never had the “fomes peccati,” the consequences and weaknesses of sin. When He was tempted, these were temptations foisted on Him from without, not generated from weakness within. He allowed Himself to die.] Does even our suffering the effects of the sin that was ours become a participation in the Lord’s sufferings? [Yes, if we offer our union with the Lord in the charity, the grace He provides, even amidst the circumstances of the effects of original sin in which we find ourselves, this gives great glory to God and speaks of the Resurrection of Jesus, that He is alive, that His love is alive. When we get to know more whence He called us, from hell, and across Calvary, up to the Cross, we are carrying our crosses better, and this is an act of intercession for all, but even in particular for this soul or that until we embrace the entire Mystical Body of Christ.]

    When I was with the secular Carmelites I had a disagreement with one or more of the OCDS who felt that one might be in Saint Teresa’s fourth dwelling place (say) and then fall into mortal sin and then hop back into the third or the sixth dwelling; they felt that you might bounce all over the map wildly including falling in and out of mortal sin. Now I don’t know anyway how one could ordinarily diagnose for herself with any certainty what “dwelling” she is in, I do not think I know myself and short of some extraordinary grace no one can claim they know they are in a state of grace. [The person who does this for himself is always going to be wrong. Leave it to Jesus. He is our spiritual director. Aquinas speaks of returning to whatever place depending on the strength of the charity we have cooperated with in pushing repentance to whatever intensity of simplicity.] But I held that according to Saint Teresa what that person was saying was not normal, and the person was hurt and apparently sorely distressed or offended, which I thought was absurd since virtues are habits, and truly possessing firm habits of goodness that one would have at such a stage in the Christian life is incompatible with willingly falling into grave sin. [Well, no. We are always free to sin. We are always weak. Virtues are good but we must be totally humble about it or we’re just so dead.] This conversation was pretty much the origin of me trying to witness that getting in a state of sanctifying grace (ie being given that grace by God, His free gift) and guarding that life of grace continuously and growing in it is supposed to be normal and is what St Teresa talks about. [Yes.] When we do the parish studies and I explain it from the text no one disagrees with me. I have always held that “being in the castle” entails both practicing prayer and being stably in a state of grace (which is really what St Teresa says) and that clearly after the choice to keep going which is made in the first dwelling place even though we are still (frighteningly enough) capable of backsliding and sinning mortally it is not “normal” to fall out of the castle, we are meant to always keep going forward. [Yes, but it can happen.] Those who do not have any serious impairment from organic mental illness yet who keep willingly committing grave sins, I would say are not yet serious beginners in the spiritual life, though they might be pre-beginners who aspire to it.[Yes, a long way to go.]

    Also, am I correct in reading that “he” in “He is cut off from friendship, as it were, with fallen humanity” refer to satan/the serpent?

  6. sanfelipe007

    Thanks for your questions Elizabeth, and for your answers, Father! The smart ones in class are always raising their hands!

  7. Gregg the obscure

    Thanks for posting the summary. I downloaded the thesis years ago, but it exceeds my grasp. The summary, on the other hand, is quite clear even to an oafish layman such as me.

  8. elizdelphi

    Felipe, I do not have the means to go to theology school to get smart so to my mind it’s a good option for my education to simply try to understand what Father Byers is talking about, because he is very much a teacher and clearly knows a whole lot more than me, and unlike reading a book he says when I am misunderstanding something. And he is constitutionally incapable of being boring. I tried staying away from this blog because of trying to limit time on the internet, and ultimately I gave up (though not on trying to limit internet use, an ongoing need).

  9. elizdelphi

    Our book study group is currently reading St Teresa’s “The Way of Perfection.” The section of chapters we discussed tonight included her discussion of the (salvation-oriented, God-centered) “spiritual love” she says goes with spiritual perfection and wanted her sisters to have including a comment that “We must never tire of condemning anything that leads to hell, for the slightest evil of hell cannot be exaggerated.” I told them what you had said about the enmity toward Satan that is a gift of God that goes with being in a state of grace and one gentleman in particular exclaimed that he had never heard that and really seized on that idea. It is a vivid truth and is right there in Genesis, but I myself would not have noticed it in that way.

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