The original sin of Adam and Eve was a calamity for the world. People continue to disobey God and we seem to be victim to their terrible designs. Little did the workers at the twin towers know on the morning of 9/11 what would happen to them because of original and actual sin. Even nature is affected by this disobedience. Nature rebels in floods, earthquakes, fires, and blizzards that injure and kill the innocent and guilty alike. Even our bodies rebel because of original and actual sin. Diabetes, cancer, heart problems, the flu take their toll on all of us in one way or another even to the point of causing death. We might look to the president and the military to save us from terror; we might look to scientists and forecasters to save us from nature and we might look to doctors to save us from sickness and death. But none of these will ultimately save us from final disaster.
Only God can save us from the disaster of sin and death.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception gives us hope in God’s plan to save mankind. On December 8, 1854 Pope Pius IX defined as an article of faith that “the Virgin Mary at the moment of conception was preserved from all defilement of original sin by a unique privilege of grace in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.” Four years after being defined by Pope Pius IX, this truth was confirmed by the Blessed Mother herself at Lourdes, France in an apparition to Bernadette with the words; “I am the Immaculate Conception.” 2008 was the 150th anniversary of this apparition.
This feast of the Immaculate Conception reminds us that there is only one thing that truly lowers mankind—sin. However, many of us and most of the secular world have lost a sense of sin. In fact the world is afraid of everything but sin. It is afraid of pollution, global warming, and obscure maladies of the body, nuclear war and terrorism. But the world is not afraid of the war against God, who is eternal, all powerful, love.
In choosing the Blessed Virgin Mary from all eternity to be the Mother of His Son, God has chosen to save and set us free from sin from all eternity. He wants to predestine us for an eternity in union with Him. But God does not force us to reject sin, or give up our free will. He asks us to freely choose Him. Mary is the example of this and her destiny can be our destiny when we imitate her choice and strive to say yes to God always.
Yet, we know that none of us are as uniquely gifted with the fullness of grace as the Blessed Virgin Mary is. In a sense, our Blessed Mother even during her earthly life was/is a sign of what it means to be completely saved, body and soul. Her existence on earth is what she is like in heaven, incapable of sin or dishonoring God in any way whatsoever. Her destiny is our hope that one day after this our pilgrimage through this valley of tears, we too will by God's merciful judgment enter our heavenly home full of grace where we will no longer be capable of sin and death. We will be forever and completely reconciled with God and everyone God has created. The Blessed Virgin Mary was a sign of this during her brief earthly existence. Because no other human being before or after her has ever had the grace necessary to live a perfect life, we honor her because God so honored her. We see her as our hope in heaven.
It is God’s desire to save the world because the world cannot save itself. As we enter into the one sacrifice of Jesus at Mass today and receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, let us thank God for consecrating our Blessed Mother from the moment of her conception thus enabling her to answer the most awesome call given any human being, to be a sign of heaven’s perfection and to bring mankind her Son, Jesus Christ, who alone saves us from sin and death.