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제목 The Perfect Masterpiece of God (2014-12-08)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2014-12-08

 


The Perfect Masterpiece of God - Immaculate Conception(2014-12-08)


Tota Pulchra es, Maria, et macula non est in te!


“Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a stain in thee” (Cant. 4:7). The Church sings these beautiful words of the Canticle of Canticles for the gradual of the feast of the Immaculate Conception: there is not a blemish in thee, not a stain, nothing sinful: thou art all fair, all beautiful! Who is that beloved spouse of the Messiah, to whom He addresses such a compliment?



It is the Church, about which St Paul writes: “Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).



Without blemish, in Latin, “Immaculata – Immaculate.” This is true for the Church in Heaven, but not yet for the Church militant here below, where the is a mixture of good and evil, as Our Lord warned us in the Gospel, that there would be cockle in his field (Mt. 13:30), chaff in this threshing floor (Mt. 3:12), good and bad fish in his net (Mt. 13:48), good and bad guests invited at his marriage feast (Mt. 22:10).



But is there someone to whom these words would apply without restriction, from the very beginning of one’s life? Yes, there is: the Blessed Virgin Mary! “Thou art all beautiful, o Mary, and there is not a stain in Thee,” not even the stain of original sin.

When we look at God’s work in nature, we sometimes are overwhelmed by the beauty of some landscapes: a magnificent sunrise, or sunset, an exquisite snowy landscape in the mountain with trees full of frost shining in the sun, the blooming of the cherry trees in spring, or a splendid rainbow, etc. In front of such marvels that God has done in creation, we are sometimes speechless; we do not find words adequate to describe the beauty of it. We contemplate it and would like to remain there almost for ever.



But natural beauty in material creatures is nothing compared with spiritual beauty in a soul, radiant with sanctifying grace. What then should we feel if we would see the beauty that God has put in this most excellent creature, whom He fashioned with a very special love, with unique care, to make of her His own Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary? He lavished upon her an overabundance of graces and virtues of all kinds, so that she became the object of the admiration not only of the Saints, but even of the Angels in Heaven! “Thou art all beautiful, o Mary!”

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the masterpiece of the Divine Artist. God indeed is Supreme Beauty, and the source of all true beauty. In all His works, there is a marvellous harmony, proportion, fullness and art; He disposed not only the great things, but even all the small things, from the biggest mountain to the smallest crystal in a snowflake, from the biggest galaxy to the smallest particle.


St Jerome says that what God has given in parts to each creature, He has given it all to Mary: in her, He has cumulated not merely some graces, but all graces: “Hail, full of grace!” If she is full of grace, then she is empty of sin, Immaculate!

The source of all light and beauty is the Divine Wisdom, the uncreated Word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is thus “The Light”. St John writes: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. And the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… That was the true Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:4-5, 9-13).


He has given to the faithful, who believe in His name, to become children of God; but how much more grace has He has given to Mary so that she would become the Mother of God! The world received not the light, and thus is in darkness. But those who “received” Christ, become “light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8); but above all others, the Blessed Virgin Mary received perfectly the Light, putting no obstacle.


She is the very first to receive Him in her most pure womb by the operation of the Holy Ghost, and it is through her that God the Father gave His Son to the world: no one would ever have received Christ if she had not first received Him by her Fiat at the Annunciation. And St Leo the Great says that she conceived Him first in her mind before to conceive Him in her womb. Thus she is filled with the Light of Christ, and there is no darkness in her; there is no spot, no stain in her: she is all pure, Immaculate!

This admiration for her, as the masterpiece of Redemption, is very useful for us. When we see more the beauty of the work, we understand that the Worker is so much above His work: the transcendence of God is manifested by the beauty of His work, not only in nature, but so much more the work of grace in the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


This admiration leads to worship, worship of the Most Holy Trinity, whose Divinity is manifested by the marvels the Three Divine Persons have wrought in Mary; we honour the Blessed Virgin by a special honour called “hyperdulia”, the highest honour given to a creature; but we worship the Most Holy Trinity by the supreme honour called “latria”: the honour reserved to the Supreme, to God alone.


Through the contemplation of Our Lady Immaculate as in a mirror, we are led into the contemplation of God, Who is Light: “God is light, and in him there is no darkness” (1 Jn. 1:5). We long for the day when we shall be admitted to that Kingdom of light: “for with thee is the fountain of life; and in thy Light we shall see Light” (Ps. 35:10).

Our Lady did not only receive Christ for herself, but she gave Him to mankind, to each of us: she did not only receive the light, but she is a stainless “mirror” of Christ, reflecting the light to us. The Angel told her: “Thou has found grace with God” (Lk. 1:30), and St Bernard comments: “She found grace not only for her, but for us too.” It is through her that we can find grace with God.

Thus she is the Mediatrix of all graces, but in particular for the grace of purity and innocence. She is all pure and all innocence; she obtains for souls the grace of purity and innocence (though for us it is never perfect: even great Saints have had venial sins). One important truth, very necessary in our modern corrupt world, is this: God loves innocence!


Yes, God is merciful and receives with open arms the repentant sinner, such as St Mary Magdalen: but look at the foot of the Cross, you do find St Mary Magdalen, but also Our Lady; Our Lord loves St Mary Magdalen the penitent, but He loves even more the Immaculate Mary! Innocence is a treasure that must be kept carefully, for the honour of God.

Innocence can be kept by the imitation of Mary, in particular by the imitation of the humility of Mary. Her humility consists in a constant dependence on God: she knows and acknowledges that what is good in her all comes from God: “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.



Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name” (Lk. 1:46-49). The great things in her, she knows that they were done by God; she did cooperate with the grace of God by her Fiat, her yes to God, but she acknowledges that this fiat itself is a gift of God.

Our Lady is Immaculate, absolutely pure, and she has an horror for the opposite, a horror for sin under all its forms, for sins of pride, sins of impurity under all its kinds, sins of avarice, sins of frauds, calumnies, slanders, selfishness, and in general for all sins. One does not truly love truth if one has no horror and detestation of error; one does not truly love virtue is one has no horror for sin.


God loves the sinner, but hates sin; the Saints and above all Our Lady also love sinners but hate sin. The mercy of God for sinners precisely consists in saving them from their sins, that is, in making saints out of sinners! To have lost the hatred for sin, the detestation of error and evil, is a mark of the spirit of the world, of liberalism. May she keep in us a deep horror for error and sin, in order to keep us away from these evils of the soul!

Pope Pius IX explains that Our Lady was made immaculate in order to be a worthy receptacle of the Incarnate Word of God. Indeed the psalmist sang: “the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle” (Ps. 45:5). Like the cloud which filled the tabernacle prepared by Moses, or later the temple built by Solomon, the Holy Ghost – Sanctifyer – has overshadowed Mary (Lk. 1:35), thus preparing the tabernacle in which He would work – with the Father and the Son – the Incarnation of the Son.


Our Lady is Immaculate in order to be a worthy Mother of God, of our Lord Jesus Christ Who is God from the first instant of his virginal conception. But Our Lord came as Redeemer, to save us by the shedding of His most precious Blood, He came as Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29, 36). Now if you search through the Scriptures for the word “immaculate”, you will find that the most common use of this word is as a requirement for the victim of the Sacrifice: the lamb must be immaculate.  


There is nothing as efficacious in order to keep our soul away from sin, than the participation in this Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Mass: so that we too may become victims with Christ the Immaculate Lamb, so that we too may become more and more immaculate – though we will never even come close to the purity of Our Lady. The Immaculate Lamb Whom we receive in Holy Communion will cleanse our soul, “cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).

Let us ask today, through the Immaculate Virgin, who did not even have original sin, the grace of healing for our soul, which was stained and wounded by original sin and by our actual sins. Let us ask the grace to strive to imitate her example of perfect purity, keeping our souls away from the corruption of the world. Let us ask her for the grace of zeal to promote her devotion, and through her help to bring the reign of Christ, the Immaculate Lamb! Amen.


           Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)