I simply must write a popular version of this before my time in this world is over.
I put up the way too academic version here, again, as a matter of prudence.
And, yes, there are tiny roses all around our Lady in that picture above which I took now many years ago, whilst re-establishing the “Extraordinary Form” in the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes (beginning again after decades immediately after July 7, 2007. I’m hoping that the thesis is also a tiny flower for Jesus’ good mom.
I’ve written out some 25 summation paragraphs about the thesis, which add much about the Immaculate Conception. I’d like to re-write those as a start to the popular version of the thesis.
Request: I’m meeting up with some great priests from all around the world. Might I ask any reader willing to do so for a Hail Mary every day April 12 to 16, 2021. Thank you. Prayers for ye all as well. There may be some small time dedicated to conversation about what happened with this thesis…
“Let’s go to die with Him!” exclaims Thomas, who clearly loved Jesus. But we are weak. That the King of kings, who raised people from the dead, worked great miracles, spoke with authority, no political correctness, would have to fulfil being the Suffering Servant caught Thomas off guard. He ran with the rest of the Apostles, Judas already going to his own place.
Doubt comes upon us when we run after mercy not founded on justice, nice stuff from God without anyone paying the price in God’s justice. It’s like Thomas and the other Apostles say, “Why does this always have to happen to me? This isn’t right? Where’s God in all of this? I’m gone!” We’re such entitled brats, all of us, without exception. “I deserve to be able to sin because, you know, yeah.” Something like that. We’re so tough. But, no. At the very first opportunity we can say that we deserve to be able to sin. I’m too weak anyway, and that has to be God’s fault, not mine. I’m sinless. I’m immaculately conceived. There is no such things as sin, and I don’t need forgiveness.”
And there’s Jesus’ Immaculate Mother, having seen all the sin of all mankind from Adam until the last man is conceived, with purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision – so totally unlike us – not at all blinded to all the hell vomited out on her Son.
If anyone had the right to be cynical – and of course no one does – it would be Mary. No one has ever suffered as has she and she remained entirely faithful to the Lord Jesus, her Son, in solidarity with Him, also for us.
How dare we think we have something more to be cynical about than her. We cave. She didn’t. She’s the heroine whose example we strive to follow with the mercy won for us in justice by her Son, He standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty. She’s the one who intercedes for us that we become members of the Body of Christ.
How dare we offend her by still thinking that we are entitled to steal our souls away from God, away from her, our mother. Cynicism is a sin against God, but it’s also a sin against Immaculate Mary.
Dear Pope Francis, remember when you said that women with lots of children – more than two? – were nothing but rabbits? Yes, well, I’m child number four of my own mom, whom, according to you, Pope Francis, is therefore just another brainless idiot who is merely a copulating damned rabbit. You reduce my dear mother to a rabbit. And you laugh. Why do you hate my mom and motherhood, Pope Francis? Am I indignant? Yes, rightly so. Do I think you are a fraud with your hateful, misogynistic and altogether damned by God “teachings”? Yes.
Dear Pope Francis, to be consistent with your self-absorption, your propose Pachamama as a mother-creator of all there is, replacing the Most Holy Trinity, having the pretense in your own dark world that this idol worship is honoring motherhood. But your image of motherhood is so deficient that you can only come up with a wooden carved idol representing all that is death and darkness and demonic. Do I think you are a fraud with your hateful, misogynistic “teachings”? Yes.
Dear Pope Francis, remember when you said that many of your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs are damned heretics, you know, because they said, according to you, that Jesus is not fully our redeemer, but that Mary is also our redeemer? You should recall this, since it was on the Vigil of the great Solemnity of the Annunciation to Mary, 24 March, 2021. But your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs never pronounced such heresy. You are either ignorant or a malicious liar who is purposely causing scandal, purposely making your predecessors look like damned fools so as to make yourself a Promethean figure, the greatest, the only One!
Dear Pope Francis, you take those Supreme Pontiffs out of context. Taking their text without their context is your specious pretext. Your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs refer to Mary as Co-Redemptrix simply because it is fitting in justice that one of us – Mary – not divine, asks for the grace of redemption and salvation both of which entirely come from her Divine Son, Christ our God, Jesus. The “Co-” of “Co-Redemptrix” does not necessarily refer to equality, such as is to be seen in the usage of “co-worker” among those at the same level of service on a manufacturing assembly line. There is another usage for the prefix “co-” such as ourselves being “co-workers” with the Almighty Creator in the care of His Creation, such as is Adam’s vocation to till the ground, walking in the presence of the Most High. There is an infinite difference between the Creator and the creature even while the Creator calls His creature to be a mere co-worker in the garden all around us.
Dear Pope Francis, let me be pedantic in answer to your condescending insults to your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs and the very Mother of God. What is meant by your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs with their usage of “Co-Redemptrix” has reference to the fact that it is fitting in justice that a non-divine human being perfectly ask for the graces of redemption and salvation which only Christ our God can provide. That’s it. Mary does this. She is Co-Redemptrix.
Dear Pope Francis, you nevertheless claim that your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs are the most damned of all heretics because of their making, you say, the Blessed Virgin into some kind of goddess. They did not claim Mary to be a goddess. These assertions of yours, Pope Francis, are most dark, most evil. Your statements are blatant lies. It is as if to see the fires of hell flashing in your eyes, you who continuously claim that you are most humble of all, that only your humility can accomplish all you want, you know, because what you want is of sole importance.
Dear Pope Francis, do you laugh in scorn at Jesus and other members of the Body of Christ who are indignant with your insulting of Jesus’ mother, having it that she cannot be Co-Redemptrix? Well, let me tell you Pope Francis, it has been said and written about the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, the most humble of all, more than you:
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has looked upon the humility of his slave, for behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
Dear Pope Francis, it seems that you hold Mary to be an idiot who cannot know our need perfectly so as to intercede for us perfectly, that which is needed for her to be Co-Redemptrix. But do you not commit THE psychological sin of projection of yourself unto her? She is the Immaculate Conception, you are not. She has purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision and understanding so perfect – and truly beyond anything Promethean you think you have – that she can in fact see our need perfectly and, in solidarity with her Son under the cross, she can herself present that need perfectly to Jesus, who is alone our Redeemer and Savior. Jesus knows our need all too well, tortured to death on the Cross from the original sin of Adam and all the sins of all men throughout time until the last man is conceived, but, again, it is fitting in justice that she makes perfect intercession for us. It is fitting that she fulfil Genesis 3:15, She is in solidarity with Jesus, with His providing the graces of redemption and salvation which smash down the guilt of sin by filling us with God’s life. And she can see our need perfectly by simply looking to her Son upon the Cross taking on all that sin for this redemption and salvation. It is fitting in justice. She is our Co-Redemptrix.
Dear Pope Francis, the ever Virgin Mary miraculously gave birth to Jesus, remaining a Virgin to indicate that she conceived Jesus in Faith by the power and overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, remaining a Virgin still as she has not completed giving birth in faith to the members of the Body of Christ throughout time, but right there on Calvary. Haven’t you heard that it was said by Saint Paul how very many times that Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ and we are the members of the Body of Christ? The mother of the Body of Christ is the same. The Fathers say that Mary did not give birth to a monster, just a head, but to the Head of the Body and the members of the Body. The members of the Body are birthed throughout time with her intercession she made under the Cross for us, her birth pangs, that perfect intercession. You, Pope Francis, cannot begin to understand the pain of motherly love she went through. You insult her. She is Co-Redemptrix precisely in her motherhood of Jesus and in becoming our mother. It is fitting in justice. You have been a novice master of Jesuits and you do not know these things, Nicodemus? She is not a goddess, but she is the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God. She did not redeem us or save us, but she continues to give birth to the Body of Christ throughout time.
Dear Pope Francis, she remained under the Cross while all the Apostles ran away, including Peter, your predecessor. But they ran out of fear. They could not look at the Mother of God, the Co-Redemptrix, in the face. Neither can you. You coward. Go ahead and try:
Dear Pope Francis, you can’t do it, you can’t look into her eyes, can you? What’s the matter, Pope Francis? Not enough humility? You insult the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God just as you insulted my own earthly mother. In saying that Jesus’ mother cannot intercede for us with motherly solicitude – that which would instead make her Co-Redemptrix -you are also saying that she cannot be our mother by that maternal intercession under the Cross with her Son being tortured to death right in front of her.
Dear Pope Francis, I’m sorry. I forgot. That makes sense for you. You are actually not insulting her in your own mind, because then, if she were not our mother but Jesus’ mother alone, then she would not exceed your limit of children, a limit which if crossed makes any woman a rabbit. You wouldn’t dare claim that Mary is a god-damned rabbit like my mom. My mom had four children, I being the baby of the family. You damn her for her four children. But Jesus’ mom is safe from your demonic attack because according to you she only had one Son, Jesus. But you actually do condemn her as a monster, the mother of a god-damned demonic monster who only has a Head, Jesus, but no Body, no Body of Christ, no Corpus Christi mysticum.
Dear Pope Francis, who are you, really, holding yourself to be so clever, Promethean, the all-enlightened one, so self-absorbed, so very humble in your own eyes, so very much better than Jesus’ Immaculate Mother?
Dear Pope Francis, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix, Queen Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and men, also interceded for you, though you are so very, very ungrateful; you so easily insult her as you insult your predecessors, ingratiating yourself with the fallen world, with heretic Protestants who hate Jesus’ good mom, ingratiating yourself with freakish “catholic” heretics from whom you gain applause, ingratiating yourself, you think, with the great red dragon, the ancient serpent and Satan. She is powerful in exorcisms. But you insult her?!
Dear Pope Francis, you run away, not Mary. She was strong enough to stay with her Son. But you run, run, run. You coward. John came back, and, aside from Judas Iscariot, all the other Apostles would beg her forgiveness. But you? You insult her as being too clouded in her vision, too dark in her heart, too clumsy in her soul to be in solidarity with Jesus in our redemption and salvation, unable to intercede for us so perfectly for those graces of Redemption and Salvation that she cannot be Maternal Co-Redemptrix?
Dear Pope Francis, you claim that Jesus’ good mother cannot be The Woman singled out in Genesis 3:15, The Woman of Cana whose Hour of Intercession is to be during Jesus’ Hour on the Cross, The Woman singled out under the Cross to be our Mother, The Woman who is the Ark of the Covenant, clothed with the Son, with a crown of stars about her head, the exalted enemy over against the great red dragon, the ancient Serpent and Satan?
Dear Pope Francis, you say that the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God cannot do this? Who in hell are you to raise your heel to crush Jesus and His Blessed Mother and ours? Who in hell are you to raise yourself above her and above her Son who willed this humble economy of salvation with such mercy based on such justice?
Dear Pope Francis, Jesus stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. He did this with His dear mother accompanying Him, true accompaniment. It is wondrous to behold.
Dear Pope Francis, you instead hold up Pachamama as a goddess, as the mother-creatrice of the universe. Who in hell are you, Pope Francis?
Dear Pope Francis, do you hold yourself to be Saint John, who returned after he fled, so as, in your mind, to ever so condescendingly accompany Mary under the Cross? And when you march up to Calvary, do you not violently thrust Mary aside, saying that you know better how to to intercede for the world, more than Jesus own mother? You make a show of yourself. You make of yourself our true intercessor, a kind of god, one whom people can worship. And what does all that self-absorbed proclamation of yourself get you, Pope Francis?
Dear Pope Francis, you are violating Jesus’ good mother by insulting her Immaculate Conception, insisting she is too stupid to intercede for us, too lacking in understanding to fulfil appropriate justice that one of us ask Jesus for the graces of redemption and salvation (that being the definition of what it is to be Co-Redemptrix). Just because the archangel Gabriel does not strike you dead for insulting Mary on his own feast day in the traditional liturgical calendar (24 March, 2021) does not mean that Jesus is pleased with what you do against her, His mother. You rape her with your insults. Am I indignant with you, Pope Francis? Yes.
Dear Pope Francis, let me be pedantic for you, for it is you who lack understanding. We see in the logic of the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:15 in context that the Mother of the Redeemer stands apart from Adam’s sin, that she is immaculate, that she is enemy number one of the great red dragon, the ancient Serpent and Satan. We see in Luke 1:28 (in understanding the perfect participle in New Testament Greek), that Mary perfectly continues to stand perfectly transformed in grace since the instant she received her vocation (in context) to be the Virgin Mother of God (receiving that eternal vocation when she is conceived). Therefore:
Dear Pope Francis: It is because she is immaculate that she has the purity of heart and agility of soul and the clarity of vision and the breadth and depth of understanding to see what we need perfectly and intercede for us in perfect solidarity with her Son: she gave birth to Jesus, the Head of the Body, and by these birth pangs of her intercession for us, she gives birth to us as the members of the Body. Her perfect maternal solicitude is precisely what makes her Co-Redemptrix.
Dear Pope Francis: How dare you think to know what she went through, as if you could judge her from your fallen perspective. How dare you insult her as being incapable of perfect intercession, meaning that she cannot fulfil the appropriate justice of intercession. How dare you say that see cannot in this way of perfect intercession be Co-Redemptrix. How dare you insult your predecessor Supreme Pontiffs. How dare you insult the Sacred Scriptures…
Dear Pope Francis: Mary is our advocate as our intercessor, our mediatrix in this way of all graces, our Co-Redemptrix with such maternal solicitude to have us be members of the very Body of Christ. Yes.
Dear Pope Francis, are you that Pope who is a sign of unity below the one mother of the One Body of Christ? I think not.
Dear Pope Francis, GO TO CONFESSION. I’ll tell you this, unless you confessed, I wouldn’t give you Viaticum, I wouldn’t provide you the Last Rites. I’m not going to hell for the likes of scum like you Pope Francis. Sure, if you confess, I’ll absolve you, give you Viaticum, provide you the Last Rites, with joy. But if you do not submit to the mercy of God in all justice, I’m not going to accompany you to hell. I’m your Missionary of Mercy, but I cannot and will not act ultra vires, beyond my powers as a son of the Church: I will not condemn the justice of God and therefore the mercy of God. You’re on your own at the judgment. Just go to Confession.
Dear Pope Francis, don’t get me wrong. We love you to pieces, it’s just that we do so with objective reality: I want you to go to heaven. That would give greater glory to God. But I love God more than you, enough to want you to run from this oh-so-clever sophistry. I invite you once again to look into her eyes: she’s your Co-Redemptrix if you want:
From the Dominicans: Five First Saturdays Devotion of Reparation as requested by Our Lady of Fátima on July 13, 1917. Our Lady said: “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I will come to ask for the Communion of Reparation.” On December 10, 1925, Our Lady returned with the Child Jesus and spoke to Sr. Lucia about true devotion of reparation to Her Immaculate Heart. Jesus spoke first: “Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.” Then Our Lady instructed Lucia about the Five First Saturday devotions. On the First Saturday of Five Consecutive Months
Make a Sacramental Confession [One can confess within 8 days of the First Saturday]
Pray the Rosary (5 decades)
Receive Holy Communion
Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary
The Great Promise of Our Lady: “I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
As the Immaculate Conception, in perfect solidarity with her Divine Son Jesus, in such catastrophically sorrowful conditions became also our Mother under the Cross with her perfect intercession for us with Him, she surely also had the joy, in those birth pangs for us, the joy that Body of Christ was being born, not only Christ the Head of the Body, but we the members of that body, the children also now of the Holy Family.
I think Augustine, had he been equipped with a better understanding of original sin and therefore of the Immaculate Conception… I think Augustine would have spoken more of the joy of the Mother of God and the Mother of the Body of Christ, that the Body of Christ was being born.
O felix culpa! Yes, but let’s see her pronounce that in a preeminent way.
This is a re-publishing from years ago, a way to honor the Immaculate Conception on this day, 8 December, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It’s set to snow today, ice all around, black ice on the roads in the mountains here in WNC as Sassy the all-wheel-drive 2016 Subaru Forester braves transport to three Masses. My parish sports the American-esque version of the Hautes-Pyrénées surrounding Lourdes, France.
Back in the day, when I was a permanent chaplain in Lourdes I took the picture above of fresh roses bursting from the ice next to the Grotto. It was February at the end of weeks of 24/7 sub-freezing temps with ice and snow precipitating down on the pilgrims daily. As you can see, the ice and snow are no match for the gentlest of petals when it is time to give due honor to the Immaculate Conception at the Grotto. Below is a view from above the grotto, and, yes, this is also a color picture. It was just that dark and dreary and ferociously cold:
Meanwhile, in the brutally hot August of Rome it snowed exactly where the Basilica in honor of Jesus’ good mom was to be built, and only there, you know, when tender snowflakes had rightly, for once, had something to do with water despite adverse temperature.
Today I am thinking about Saint John Paul II, how he used the phrase “co-Redemptrix” dozens of times, I think 29 times. This title for our Lady refers simply to how appropriate it was in justice that one of us who is not divine should ask for such graces perfectly, graces coming directly from her Divine Son. It was because of her Immaculate Conception that she had agility of soul, purity of heart, clarity of vision, see exactly what we needed from Christ Our God. Thank you, Blessed Mother, for being a good mother to us. Continue to show yourself a mother to us!
Perhaps this theme of co-Redemptrix is the key to my making a popular version of the thesis, finally. My hope is that this would bring some light to the darkness, including my own dark little life. The glory of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception entering this world to grab us and bring us to heaven fires me up, enough, methinks, to melt the ice and snow of my own heart and soul so as to finally start writing. [I know, I know, I just have to do it. Time goes on. Life is short. Yikes! And, I know, I know, I wrote these words years ago… I’m so bad and evil. I beg for the wherewithal to do this.]
When Saint Paul says that Jesus “became sin” for us, that’s rather a controversial statement. Speaking in shorthand begs some reflection, some questions. I take it all a step further, saying that “Immaculate Mary” “became sin” for us. This is a rather intense, if long, and emotional sermon for me to deliver.
I always and only speak from the heart, trying to listen as I speak to the my Guardian Angel and the Holy Spirit, since I know nothing and they know everything, and seeing that there is a grace for preaching in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I may not have cooperated with that grace. You be the judge.
Some parishioners were profoundly affected for the better. Those people have suffered immensely in life, in all the truth of God’s charity.
In summary of long reprimand of one parishioner, this sermon was an abject, total failure on my part, and was a perfect example of division instead of unity, horribly depressing and dark, but that I should be of good heart, as I can use this as an occasion for learning.
I still see the “great faith” of the “Dog-Woman” in all her hellish suffering as the brilliantly shining glory of God among us as grace upon this earth.
I still see the crucifixion of Jesus as the manifestation of glory upon glory of God’s truth in all charity upon this earth.
I still see the Woman under the Cross as the manifestation of God’s glory upon this earth in a mere human being, although the Woman of great faith, the ever holy ever virgin Immaculate Mary now assumed into heaven.
Perhaps I am to be anathematized for what I say, but this sermon is what I consider to be the best of my entire life, bar none. Of course, I am biased.
Again, it’s a little long, but I’m speaking about Mary – OUR MOTHER! – throughout, regardless of whether or not I mention the “Dog-Woman.” I can’t help but speak at length about my mother and yours, Jesus’ Good Mom…
It’s the “dead of winter.” February in the northern hemisphere. It’s not that there’re not any flowers in these dark days. You just have to know where to find them. They could be in bud-form. These buds were found on the very top of a mountain ridge at one of my Communion Call stops.
The other day we had a closing Mass for a Knights of Columbus sponsored novena of prayer for the establishment of a greater respect for life in these USA and around the world, that is, respect for life from natural conception to natural death.
So, “from natural conception…” Why is that? Surely that “product of conception” or that “tissue” or that “annoying multiplication of cells” – the deadly euphemisms the hellish “Planned Parenthood” would use… surely that little “thing” is not already a man, is it?
Yes. What will be a man is already a man. Those are the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas way back in the 1200s. His arguments, though he can also cite endless Scriptural texts and references to the great ecclesiastics throughout the millennia, his arguments are based on natural law, on philosophy, on reason, all of which applies to everyone whatever their religious background, whatever their opinion otherwise happens to be. In other words, that little one in the womb is not a salamander, or a cow. No. That’s what the money hungry abortion industry wants people to think. This is a vulnerable human being that we’re talking about.
Let’s take an example with Jesus. When He was just seconds old in the womb of His good mom, the Blessed Virgin Mary, she raced off to assist her cousin Elizabeth who was with child with John the Baptist in her old age. I imagine that at her age, she could have run from Nazareth down Ein Karem (Spring of the Vineyard), the tiny mountain village on the western cliffs of Jerusalem, where Elizabeth lived with her ancient of days husband, Zechariah. I walked just a bit more than that distance (except in the Jordan River Valley) in less than 24 hours as a crippley 30 year old two days before the outbreak of Desert Storm, some 50 miles. Fine, I was hurting for a couple of weeks after that, but – Hey! – I did it! I’m sure young Mary could have made much better time, especially since she had just become the Tabernacle of the Most High, a living Ark of the Covenant, she who stomps on the crescent moon, is clothed with the Sun, who is adorned with stars (as we read in the Apocalypse:
So, Jesus, just a few cells multiplying like mad in her womb, had his soul and divinity, was already a divine God-Man, and worked His first miracle of grace for His cousin, little John the Baptist, in the womb of Elizabeth. Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Spirit as well. Jesus did this when He was less than 24 hours old, just some cells. He’s already a Man, a God-Man.
Also, let’s call to mind dearest Mary calling herself “The Immaculate Conception” in Lourdes some 1858 years later. In other words, the Queen Mother, God’s good mom, Queen of Heaven and Earth, of angels and men, equated herself with her first moment of conception, for at that moment, just a cell, was already herself, and from the first moment of conception, as she was without original sin, she was already absolutely perfectly doing the will of God. And what can be better than that, being the Queen Mum? No. Jesus points to doing the will of God. No one did this better than Mary, and from the first moment of her conception.
So, a budding flower for you, dearest good mother of Jesus.
These are not flowers, but they do represent what I would give to my mom in a huge ceramic vase I made as a Sophomore (wise-fool) in high school for this very purpose. These are out on the ridge of the hermitage, though I’ve never seen them in Western North Carolina in the eight years I’ve been here. Up in Minnesota they are everywhere to be seen. I was fascinated by them as a kid and still am today. I love God’s good creation. That doesn’t mean I bow down to Pachamama. No. But I do think of friends who walk in the Lord’s presence in the Lord’s good creation and praise Him as might a little child for all the good God’s goodness. And after all the Pachamama rubbish, I think it’s imperative to give flowers (at least of sorts) to the Immaculate Conception, Jesus’ good mom.
But if you think all of this is irrelevant to the challenges of today’s society and culture, think again. I had a wild conversation with an unbaptized person the other day who grew up quite entirely unchurched, so to speak. That person had some questions, for which I attempted some answer, all of which is here paraphrased:
QUESTION: Would Mary, having been immaculately conceived, without original sin, have died, whether or not Jesus, the Word Incarnate, came among us.
ANSWER: Mary had to be redeemed like anyone else. Time is a creation of God, who holds time, as it were, in His hands, from beginning to end. If Mary were not to have been redeemed at the moment of her conception (which is indicated in the Hebrew text of Genesis), Mary would have died because of having been subjected to original sin with all of its consequences. Death is specifically pointed out as a consequence immediately in Genesis and then by Saint Paul.
Excursus: Saint Augustine, having been inspired by Saint Ambrose, exclaimed “Oh! Happy Fault!” regarding original sin, a bit tongue in cheek, in that this was the occasion for so great a redemption, so that with this, we not only walk in God’s presence once again, but we do so as united to the Mystical Body of Christ, brought through, with and in Jesus before the Father by the fiery Holy Spirit in this way. The great hymn at the Easter Vigil, the Exsultet, fully exclaims: O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem (Oh happy fault, which merited us to have such a great Redeemer!) But Mary’s exclamation is even greater, for not only was she redeemed, but she also became Jesus’ good mom.
QUESTION: So, how is it that Mary died if she still had a pristine agent-intellect (otherwise lost for us by Adam with original sin) that could draw matter to spirit with integrity and therefore have her live forever without dying at all?
ANSWER: Pius XII plainly says that Mary died prior to her assumption. We might split some hairs by saying that Mary didn’t really “die”, but that, in her assumption body and soul into heaven was rather changed “in the twinkling of an eye” as Saint Paul says for those who are alive when Jesus comes again, their mortal bodies putting on immortality (and so a kind of death to our present state).
But methinks such talk is wrought in fear of offending Mary’s immaculate conception: she was not subject to original sin and its punishment of death, so SHE DIDN’T DIE! But Jesus, the innocent and divine Son of the Living God died for us, right? What about that? Jesus came into this world to take our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that having suffered our own punishment for sin even while being innocent, He could, in His own justice, justly have mercy on us: “Father, forgive them!” But He rose from the dead as one cannot keep the very Author of Life down. He didn’t have to die. Not only could He have kept aggressors at bay (Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and He will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?”Matthew 26:53), but He could also have kept His body with full integrity by way of His pristine agent intellect. But He chose not to do this, in obedience to the Father (see John 3:16). He let Himself die on purpose.
In my not so humble opinion, although Jesus would have eventually died from the scourging and crucifixion, what precipitated His death is what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. The sweating of blood indicates a trauma of such magnitude that it would be accompanied by a massive heart attack, so that even the pericardium, part of the heart surrounding the heart, would break. That would fill with blood, which in turn would separate into red blood cells and plasma, and gush out when Jesus’ heart was pierced the next day. Jesus’ dies from his broken heart beginning in Gethsemane, with the trauma coming about because of not wanting his good mom to see His sufferings. But: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” He did that for us. For us. That’s very good and kind of Him. Thank you, Jesus.
I believe that Mary also died in this way. She dies from the same kind of broken heart for having seen all the sin of all mankind from Adam until the last man is conceived by way of looking upon her Son tortured to death on the cross. That’s all of our sin written out in His wounds. She understood what His death meant, what with her purity of heart and agility of soul following upon her immaculate conception. We have no idea, but she saw our need perfectly. She was in perfect solidarity with her Son’s purpose. She interceded for us perfectly. She had in order to do this, to be in perfect solidarity with her Son.
This is only right in justice: if she is to ask for what Jesus gives to us because of her maternal solidarity with her Son, she then has to see what she is asking for, which means she has to suffer all the horrific trauma this will bring to her maternal and now literally broken heart, which means that she has to see it through to the end, all the trauma, all the death, no giving up, no compromise, no being a mother merely part-time or only until it gets rough. Mary lasted until Pentecost, but I don’t think long after that at all.
Excursus Question: Couldn’t Jesus have saved Mary, or vice-versa?
The shorter answer is that they wouldn’t have done this, as everything about the manner of our redemption requires that mercy is founded on justice, with God the Father’s Son, with Mary Immaculate’s Divine Son, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty. God is the one who works miracles, not us, not even the Immaculate Conception.
The longer answer that when the saints work miracles, it’s not them, but God happily following up on their intercession for others or even for themselves. Jesus often said: “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” We have no integral agent intellect, but Jesus does, and by living faith we become, as Saint Paul says, living members of His Body, the Body of Christ, or as Pius XII says, the members of the “Mystical Body of Christ.” The Person of the Divine Son of God Incarnate works the miracle also through His human nature.
So, that’s a pretty intense Q and A, don’t you think? Remember that this is with an unbaptized, quite entirely unchurched person. Methinks that the Lord’s little flock is hungry for the truth of the Son of the Living God, Jesus, so much so as also to want to know something of Jesus’ good mom. That’s as it should be. The weight of the glory of God bears down on us all in this sorry world, bringing us hopefully to our knees before Mary’s Son, Jesus.
Back to flowers for the Immaculate Conception, and looking at the milkweed above, and to use Jesus’ own parables: when the seed goes withersoever the wind blows, to that dark storm on Calvary, it is finally planted deep in the earth, and then bears much fruit, having witnessed to its vocation unto the end. And then Jesus rises and ascends to heaven. And then Mary, who gave Jesus His human nature, is rightly also assumed into heaven. All a pledge for us, that we are intended to go to heaven as well.
The above video is the most amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing recitation by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen.
Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Teach me how to pray
Cause God was just your little boy,
And you know the way
Did you lift him up sometimes,
Gently on your knee
Did you tell him stories of the world,
Like Mother did to me
And when he fell, did you lift him up,
And make everything alright
And did you tell him his prayers at night
I want to know my lovely lady, lovely lady,
Dressed, dressed in blue
Oh, God was just your little boy,
Your little boy and you know the truth
And did you whisper in his ear sweet lullabyes,
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, did he cry
Lovely lady, dressed in blue,
Oh won’t you please teach me how to pray
Cause God was just your little boy, and
I want to know, I want to know,
I want to know, so teach me how to pray
Rhododendron calendulaceum or Flaming Azalea is native to these mountains in WNC. This one is next to the Samuel the Angry Donkey pasture some miles down the mountain from the hermitage. A “snitty” florest on the internet calls it “Satan,” as if Satan has rights over anything to do with flames. No.
God is love, and God’s love which we witness with Jesus is ardent. We poetically speak of the ardent flames of love. The Scriptures speak of the flames issuing from the majestic throne of God. Those flames are symbolic of God’s love. God’s love does not itself change for the recipient. It is the receiver whose changing capacity to take in God’s love which put’s a limit or less so on God’s love.
In heaven all receive fully of God’s love and rejoice in those ardent flames of love.
In purgatory those very same flames of love, so to speak, instruct those preparing for heaven, purging them of their lack of thanksgiving, and in this they also rejoice as they know they are on their way and are progressively more capable of thanking the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. They are learning, but, mind you, they are also holy, as they are in the state, as we say, of sanctifying grace.
In hell all are also provided with the ardent love of God, but they, fallen angels and damned souls, have chosen to have no capacity to take in that ardent love. They perceive that love as punishing flames, writhing in spiritual and intellectual frustration even while choosing to be that way.
How to say it? God’s love is God’s love.
But what about Mary, the Immaculate Conception? She was free of any need for purging so she knows nothing of our weakness and anguish and struggles, right? So, she can’t actually be a good mother to us, right? Wrong.
It’s because of her purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of spiritual vision that she saw exactly our need in all it’s horror, much more than we could even begin to know, and at the same time she was in solidarity with her Divine Son in His mission to redeem us, and, if we so choose to cooperate with His grace, to save us. Mary knew all about the ardent flames of God’s love from the perspective of those on earth, those in purgatory, and, analogously, as one fully in grace that is to turn to glory, as Saint Paul says.
So, whatever it’s called, a fiery flower for you, Mary, Jesus’ good mom.
While preaching this Palm-Sunday on what would be an appropriate meditation for this Holy Week for my parishioners – the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then the 4th and 13th Stations of the Cross: Jesus meeting his mother after getting smashed down by the cross for the first time and then Jesus being lowered from the cross into her arms, ever so dead – in preaching on all that… well… I mean… I suppose I could put the audio of the homily up… It’s just that it’s embarrassing as I got entirely choked up a number of times, entirely unable to speak for at least what seemed like ten seconds… thirty seconds…
Here’s the deal: Not that it at all came out in what I said necessarily, but it was in preaching on Jesus and His good mom that I “understood” – beheld quite directly, if you will – the dynamic, if you will – by which it is entirely necessary that Mary be Co-Redemptrix. To me this wasn’t just an “insight”, but rather an invitation to behold what’s really going on with our Redemption, ever so personal for Jesus about Mary, the good Son of a good mom. It was like seeing Mary as Mother from the eyes of her good Son.
I asked a specialist in psychology and priests about this fault of mine, getting choked up, which the Brits would call weakness, and even worse. He knows me well, and is my spiritual director. He straight up laughed at me for stupidly even asking the question, saying that Freud would say that it all has to do with an unresolved conflict with my own mom. But, then he said that Freud has been discredited on saying everything like this must be a “conflict,” adding that surely this was, in fact, for me, a valid religious experience. And then he went on to mention some of his own like experiences.
I say all that just to rid some of such unnecessary distraction so that they might pay attention to what is important. Here are some points spelling out a bit what I didn’t entirely spell out in the homily because of my getting choked up:
Only Adam was responsible for the “breath of the living ones” which was only given to him with its intention that he and his offspring be alive and then reaffirm this life should he eat from the tree of the living ones, that is, living with good choices, instead of eating, as it were, from the tree of knowing good mixed with evil, a kind of epistemology of dumbed-downness by which the power of his agent-intellect was corrupted not only for himself, but for us. Adam changed the intention of the breath from life to death. We no longer have the wherewithal to keep matter and spirit, body and soul together. We start to drop into the grave the moment we are conceived.
Any offspring have a share in the breath of the dying ones, and are dumbed-down, weakened, unable to love that which, the One – God – whom they don’t know, as they otherwise should, and so are immediately in sin, what we call original sin.
God creates the soul which is concomitant with that life, that dying life at the choice of Adam, not of God. God is just respecting Adam’s choice for himself, for us. We are created good up to the point Adam chose. And that’s the point: up to the point that Adam chose. Adam chose to descend to the level of where his wife bid him to go, not more nor less.
In justice, in our Redemption, Jesus should redeem us, recreate us only inasmuch as, only to the point that one of us would ask for this, Mary’s intercession for us.
Mary, free from original sin, and therefore with purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of (spiritual) vision so that she could see exactly what we needed as she looked upon what sin has ravaged on her Son. She was in perfect solidarity with Son, her Immaculate Heart, His Sacred Heart.
Jesus followed up on her intercession for us, and only up to the point she desired this for us, which, of course, was perfectly. She’s the perfect mother. Our mother.
That maternal intercession of hers was necessarily for Him. It is this to which He looked. And only this. Jesus had a human nature. In justice, He should use this human nature. It is in His human nature that He received the intercession of His mother for us. He was going to do exactly what she wanted for us (which is, of course, exactly what He wanted for us precisely as her children, with Him).
Just to say it:
Our Redemption by Jesus is equal, not more, not less, to the maternal intercession of Jesus’ good mom for us. He looked to her, the Son to the Mother. Just as Adam looked to his wife as to just how far he should fall, so did the new Adam look to The Woman to see just how far He should lift us back up. Being Immaculate, she saw our need perfectly, and, in perfect solidarity with her Son, interceded for us perfectly. Having said all that, it is she who set us before our Redemption. Jesus would not have done it without her indicating that Redemption. Mary is entirely necessary as Co-Redemptrix for our Redemption.
Academically, the point is entirely valid with all my years of doctoral studies on Genesis 2:4–3:24 (including 3:15). I have much to say on all this, drawing out all the implications, drawing out the incisive ironies. I am overwhelmed with the entirely and very personal dynamic, if you will, of what is happening with our redemption, Jesus looking to His good mom: “Woman! Behold! I make all things new!”
Finally, this provides me the engine – how to say it? – to draw out a popular version of the thesis. I pray that I’m able to accomplish this. I pray that this works toward what has been called the fifth Marian dogma.
Now it’s more personal than it ever was. It’s like a project with Jesus.
I entirely realize that making it personal makes me look to be the fool. Delusional. An idiot. Fine. Whatever. I know what I know. It’s all come together. Whatever authority by which I write anything has nothing do with me. It’s to be judged on consistency with the Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterial interventions of the Church. It’s to be judged on the reasoning. Yes.
All I can say is that, right now, at the start of Holy Week, I’ve been shaken to the core of my being before God that Mary, our good mom, is necessarily Co-Redemptrix. It has to be that our Redemption in entirely involved with Jesus looking to His good mom. And, yes, she was singled out in Genesis: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and The Woman [in context, the future Mother of the Redeemer].
In saying that, what is left to say? Just this:
Jesus, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son, has done all things well.
You knew, of course, that the grotto was the pig sty of the town, right?
You knew, of course, that in Sacred Scripture, pigs are symbolic of demons, right?
You knew, of course, that the universe was made into a pig sty by Adam’s sin, right?
God: “I shall put enmity between you [Satan] and the Woman [the Mother of the Redeemer], and between your seed [Satan’s followers] and the Seed of the Woman [Jesus and those who belong to Him as members of a body to the head of the body].
Aussie Mum made a good catch about another “Flower for the Immaculate Conception.” (HERE). She said:
“I can imagine Our Lady reciting or singing parts of Azariah’s prayer – the praises for example that he and his companions prayed (Daniel 3:51-56 and 58-90) – but parts of the prayer that he prayed alone, such as “ Sinners we were, that had wronged and forsaken thee, all was amiss with us …” (verses 29-30) seem most unsuitable to be voiced by the Immaculate Conception since she was totally sinless. Maybe I have the wrong prayer or have not properly understood. The praises are certainly beautiful and verse 70 does indeed go well with the photo above [“Snow and ice, bless the Lord!”]. Thank you Father. Your posts get me thinking on things that are good to be thinking about.”
Good catch, Aussie Mum.
It is true, of course, that Mary was never touched by original sin, that she is, therefore, the Immaculate Conception. It is true, of course, that Mary never personally sinned.
But there is something else to consider here so as to give credit to our Lady where credit is due. She also had to be redeemed, which is the way she was able to be saved from original sin at the first instant of her conception so that it never touched her. In other words – time not being a difficulty with God – what her Son did on the Cross was also done for her.
Take note, then, that this provided her with such purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision that the fact of the Redemption to come also being needed for her was obvious, providing her with opportunity to be thankful, and not only for herself, but for all for whom her Divine Son would lay down His life, and for whom she would become a mother with such a spirit of solidarity:
“ Sinners we were, that had wronged and forsaken thee, all was amiss with us …”
She interceded for us in utter solidarity with what her Son on the Cross was doing for us all, but not forgetting for an instant that she had to be thankful as well. She had never been a sinner – true! – but she was aware of that sin more than all of us put together. The “we” and “us” are, for her, truths of solidarity, not of personal fact.
I hope the one-day-to-be-canonized Archbishop Fulton J Sheen once said that only the sinless know sin. Sinners are so immersed in darkness that they cannot see the Standard of Goodness, Jesus, but only their darkness. They cannot see the contrast. They cannot see why sin is called sin and bad and evil. Only the sinless, who have purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision can see Jesus for who He is, also on the Cross, though tortured to death like the worst of criminals. And in seeing that sin, seeing what we need perfectly, she can then, with such a maternal heart, intercede for us perfectly, uniting herself to us, standing in our place with all the “we” and “us”, innocent as she is, you know, just like her Son, who stands in our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
Silly me. When I was living for a little while above the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, I went outside and asked my guardian angel to show me a cloud in the shape of a foot (crushing the serpent, as in Genesis) arising out of the sea from which a rain storm would come (as with Elijah). My guardian angel has fun with me.
Did you know that Mary has two names? Well, three, at least.
“The Woman” as in Genesis 3:15, Gospel of John, etc
Mary – Miryam – Bitter Sea
The one who perfectly continues to stand perfectly transformed in grace from the time when – in context of Luke 1 – she was called to the be Virgin Mother of God, from all eternity, and that coming home at the first moment of her conception.
I realize I haven’t put up any homilies for a while, but I figure that if Pope Francis can give homilies over in Santa Marta the way he does, then I can give homilies over here in the beyonds of the peripheries.
Yesterday, during Communion Calls after the last Sunday Mass, after the very first call nearby, these beauties were to be seen in their thousands. Perfect for the Immaculate Conception. They are in direct line of sight of the statue of Mary on the front steps of the rectory. Today was unseasonably warm after a couple of months of unseasonably cold temps. This is perfect for yesterday, as it was February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
You’ll remember that the parish priest, a bit skeptical of what little Bernadette was telling him, told her to bring some flowers from the grotto, in February, when no flowers bloom there. She came back with a heap of flowers. Hah.
I took this picture at that very grotto after weeks of below freezing temps in Lourdes, really cold, snow but mostly ice everywhere. These tender flowers decided to punch through the ice and snow in honor of Mary. :-)
Aquinas didn’t have a complete understanding of the Immaculate Conception.[!]
I put in a correction to Pope Benedict of his understanding of the Immaculate Conception and otherwise on original sin, and we then agreed together with the long standing Tradition and teaching of the Church. [!]
Happy Feast Day! The angels rejoice! The weight of the glory of God shines upon us: can you feel the weight of the glory of God upon you?
Many posts are planned for the blog today on the Immaculate Conception. But right now, it is off to many Masses and other appointments for the feast. I’m one very happy priest on this feast of feasts. It’s Jesus’ good mom’s feast day!
So, there I was, sitting in a chair, head back, eclipse glasses on, staring at the moon crossing the sun, with Laudie-dog trying to get my attention. So, I took a number of pictures of her, including this one. Mind you, she is not blind, this moment was just a millionth of a nano-second in length in which I somehow managed to take the picture just as she also looked up just before totality. She wasn’t just imitating me; she was trying to tell me that something weird was going on, like, um, me sitting and staring at the sun, because, how dumb is that, right?
During totality, Laudie dog was shaking with fear. But the shaking wasn’t, mind you, in fear of the celestial events. Rather, the town of Andrews was playing super weird spooky music even while others were shooting off fire-works. Laudie dog has no liking for that activity. Anyway, here’s the totality to my naked eye (and naked camera):
I loved going to the planetarium in the Twin Cities as a kid. It’s totally different when you see things happening in front of you. When the moon started blocking the sun, the first thought that came into my mind and heart and soul was: “God exists! God is so very wonderful! God loves us!”
But this wasn’t just an intellectual thing. I suppose people will make fun of me for saying this, but this was a spiritual event for me, very very very peaceful. By that I mean something beyond Saint Paul’s chapter one of his letter to the Romans. All creation speaks of the glory of God, yes! But more… It was as if Jesus was with me watching the eclipse, which, although He is creating that eclipse, although He is creating me, He can come in His wonderfully condescending love (in the absolutely best sense) and be in His own creation (He is incarnate!). And, by the way, He can also give a flower to the Immaculate Conception.
Meanwhile, with the crescent sun a thought came to mind about the crescent moon and Islam.
While I was studying the Syrian language I came across a cultural tid-bit well known to every Muslim in that part of the world but not to someone like me from the North woods of Minnesota: the moon is a man, enlightening in difficult circumstances, helpful and kind, never threatening, even while the sun is a woman, always threatening, burning, hurtful, unrelentingly cruel. During a solar eclipse, the moon beats down the sun. The phases of the moon are actually just the sun trying to escape on the other side of the earth. Once in a while the moon hunts down the sun and shows the sun who is boss. The crescent moon is lifted up above every mosque/cultural center. The meteor rock in mecca is part of the moon come to earth, right? In that part of the world, the received mythology treated various celestial bodies as the gods, that is, the sons and daughters of the original deities which progressively became more material as time went on.
Meanwhile, the woman clothed with the sun in the Apocalypse (and our Lady of Guadalupe) has the crescent moon under her feet. Heh heh heh.