The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

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Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Date: 
Fri, 12/08/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

Jesus Christ, Son of God, was born of a woman:  the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We take this for granted….for we have been taught this from our youth.
This wasn’t always the case.
Within Church history there was a time when there was great disagreement
about how Jesus came to this earth,
about how God could take on human flesh.
It was proposed by some that the spirit of Jesus took possession of a human body
after the body was already formed…that he wasn’t present from the moment of conception.
It was proposed by others that Jesus Christ never really became human…
that he was always divine.  His body looked human but it really wasn’t.
 
What was at stake here was the Redemption of the world.
Jesus made this claim that he brought salvation but how could it be verified?
How could it be explained in a way that made sense according to human reason?
Yes it is a mystery and it is beyond human understanding.
But God has given us as human beings powers of cognition, of thinking about creation.
And according to God’s nature he wouldn’t try to deceive,
he wouldn’t try to fool us into thinking something that really wasn’t truth.
God is ordered and in the end, logic and reason and history and observation
would have to come together without contradiction.
 
The bottom line comes to us as a statement of our faith.
Jesus Christ became incarnate, took on human flesh,
by the Holy Spirit and through the Virgin Mary.
The Catholic Church wants to insure
that the faithful reverence the memory of the Virgin Mary
as the Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Today is one of the days on which we do this.
 
According to Tradition,
according to the revelation we find in the Old Testament and the New Testament Scriptures,
how did God make it possible that his Son could enter into and bring salvation to this world?
Since all flesh comes through motherhood, Jesus’ physical mother is key.
According to God’s time, God gave life to the Blessed Virgin Mary
and insured that she was both physically and spiritually capable of fulfilling the unique task
He had willed for her to complete.
He willed that she be perfect in every necessary way
and that she not be tainted by the sin brought into the world by Adam and Eve.
 
 
 
 
Herein lies todays feast.
Human life begins at the moment of conception.
In order for Mary to be a worthy temple for the Son of God,
she was free of sin from the moment of her own conception.
Her conception was immaculate.  It wasn’t something she chose to do herself.
It was something God did for the benefit of human salvation.
“Immaculate” comes from the Latin word “maculatus” which means “to stain”.
“Immaculate” means “to have no stain or blemish, to be pure”.
In other words, the holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary
that made her the perfect avenue through which God could become flesh,
her holiness existed from the time of her conception.
 
What can we take away from today’s celebration?
1.) The Blessed Virgin Mary is worthy of our honor and devotion.  She holds a unique, important, and non-repeatable place in the coming of salvation.
2.) It is God who makes us holy.  The opposite of holiness is sin.  It is God’s grace that saves us from sin and keeps us from sin.
3.) Mary chose to remain holy.  She chose to allow God’s will to be done in and through her.  She chose to accept God’s plan for her life.  God’s plan, God’s will for us is to become and remain holy.  It is God’s desire that we seek to live holy lives, that we do everything in our power to avoid sin.
4.) Jesus Christ continues to come into this world through the holiness of God’s people.  According to the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are to carry the Lord with us wherever we go, hold him close to our heart, share his presence with those around us.  We can only do this to the degree that we pursue and conform our lives to holiness.  We can only do this to the degree that we turn away from sin and remain free of sin.
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, do not let the mystery of Your action in this world confound us.  The power of your grace is made known to us on this feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Such grace is greater than sin.  Help us to live holy lives that like the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may contribute to the salvation of souls.  Amen!”