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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Mary, Full of Grace

Written by  Dean Barker
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Mary, Full of Grace

As Catholics, we know that the Blessed Virgin Mary is full of grace. We profess this belief every time we say the Hail Mary. In today’s gospel and offertory, we read of St. Gabriel saying unto Mary “Hail, (Mary), full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women,” (Luke 1:28, Douay-Rheims). The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which we celebrate today, says that Mary “not only never lent an ear to the serpent, but by divinely-given power she utterly destroyed the force and dominion of the evil one.” 

 

While we know that Mary was immaculately conceived and is full of grace, we might not understand why. Why was Our Blessed Mother given more grace than any other person? The simple answer is that, given her infinitely important vocation, had she not been full of grace, she would have certainly failed. 

St Anne and Mary

At the age of four, both of Mary’s parents, Sts. Joachim and Anne, passed away, leaving her as an orphan until being betrothed to St. Joseph roughly ten years later. Today, we witness the large-scale destruction of the family. But at least most children today have a roof over their head and two parents during their formative years. Had Mary not been full of grace, how could she have survived this time of great sadness? And to think, her orphanage wasn’t even one of her seven sorrows! 

St. Mary was a consecrated virgin when she was just three years old. Tradition tells us that in her time at the temple, she was exceedingly virtuous. Even when she was with St. Joseph, she kept her vow of chastity, and had no children other than Our Lord. Any consecrated virgin today will say that it takes much grace to do what she does. How much more grace is needed to also be a mother and a spouse?Due to the sin of Adam and Eve, we all inherit original sin from our parents. But if Mary had original sin, and is the Mother of Christ, wouldn’t that mean that Christ inherited original sin? This is impossible; God the Son cannot possibly have any sin, even venial. Therefore, Mary had to be immaculately conceived; that is, conceived without sin. How could this be if she was not full of grace?

Mary in the temple

Earlier, I mentioned Mary’s seven sorrows. Clearly, God allowed our Blessed Mother to undergo this great suffering, far more than any mother has ever suffered. Therefore, He must have given her all the more grace to endure these seven sorrows. Our Lord never gives us a burden without also supplying the strength to overcome it. 

Many hold that at the end of her life, Mary did not die, because death only came about by original sin, which she was free from. She was bodily assumed into Heaven, where she is now queen. Truly, she was saved by the merits of her Son, and not by any work of her own. 

Our Lord filled the Madonna with grace so that, through her fiat, Our Lord might redeem us from our sins and bring us to Heaven. Thanks to her cooperation in the redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ, we can have eternal life; therefore, we who receive this life regard her as our Mother. It is through His grace that Mary fulfilled her vocation, and through His grace that we are saved. On this joyous Feast of the Immaculate Conception, let us invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, full of grace, that she would unite us all the more with Our Divine Lord.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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Last modified on Tuesday, December 7, 2021