The Immaculate Conception - Satan's Mighty Foe - by Piola, Domenico -
This Depiction is filled-with Symbolism. At the Instant of her Conception within the Womb of Saint Anne, at the Instant her Soul was 'Created' by Almighty God, Mary's Soul is shown being Crowned by her Father, and Filled-with Grace by her Spouse, the Holy Spirit. Mary 'Tramples' on the Head of the Evil Beast, 'Assisted' by an Angel, 'Carrying' her Son's Cross of Redemption. Satan sits, very much 'Confused' by the Soul-of-Mary (the New Eve), over which he has no Power, because of the Absence of Original-Sin; and behind Satan is the "Old Eve" 'Receiving' the "Apple-of-Temptation" from the Evil Beast, which has no Power over Mary. Jesus' (the New Adam) Crucifixion, and Mary's Role as 'Auxiliatrix', was a Triumph over Satan, Sin and Death, necessary to 'Correct'/'Repair' the Sin of both Adam and Eve.
Satan's Mighty Foe
Great indeed was the Injury 'Entailed' on Adam and all his Posterity, by his Accursed Sin.
But, from this General Misfortune, God was Pleased to 'Exempt' that Blessed Virgin, whom He had 'Destined'
to be the Mother of the Second Adam Jesus Christ Who was to 'Repair' the Evil, 'Done' by the First.
Great indeed was the Injury 'Entailed' on Adam and All his Posterity, by his Accursed Sin; for at the same time that he thereby, for his own Great Misfortune, 'Lost' Grace, he also 'Forfeited' All the other Precious Gifts with-which he had Originally been Enriched, and 'Drew-down' upon himself, and All his Descendants, the Hatred of God, and an 'Accumulation' of Evils. But, from this General Misfortune, God was Pleased to 'Exempt' that Blessed Virgin, whom He had 'Destined' to be the Mother of the Second Adam Jesus Christ Who was to 'Repair' the Evil 'Done-by' the First. Now, let us see how 'Befitting' it was that God, and All the Three (3) Divine Persons, should thus 'Preserve' her from it; that
How Befitting it was that Each of the Three Divine Persons
"God 'Conferred' Privileges-of-Graces in every Way, Greater-on His Mother,
than on His Servants" - Saint Thomas -
It is a Common Axiom amongst Theologians, that no Gift was ever 'Bestowed' on any Creature, with which the Blessed Virgin was not also 'Enriched'. Saint-Bernard 'Says' on this Subject, "It is certainly not Wrong to Suppose-that, that-which has Evidently been 'Bestowed', even only on a Few, was not 'Denied' to so-Great a Virgin" - ("Quod vel paucis mortalium constat fuisse collatum, fas certe non est suspicari tantae Virgini esse negatum" Epist. 174). Saint-Thomas-of-Villanova 'Says', "Nothing was ever Granted to any Saint, which did not Shine in a much Higher Degree in Mary, from the very First Moment of her Existence" - ("Nihil unquam alicui Sanctorum concessum est, quod non a principio vitae accumulatius perfulgeat in Maria" De Ass. conc. 1). And, as it is True, that: "there is an Infinite Difference between the Mother-of-God, and the Servants-of-God" - ("Matris Dei et servorum Infinitum est discrimen" De Dorm. B. M. or. 1), according-to the Celebrated Saying of Sain-John-Damascene, we must certainly 'Suppose', according-to the Doctrine-of Saint-Thomas, that "God 'Conferred' Privileges-of-Graces in every Way, Greater-on His Mother, than on His Servants" - ("Quod prae omnibus aliis majora privilegia gratiae acceperit" P. 3, q. 27, a. 1). And now, 'Admitting' this, Saint-Anselm, the Great Defender of the Immaculate Mary, Takes-up the Question and 'Says', "Was the Wisdom-of-God, Unable to 'Form' a Pure Dwelling, and to Remove every Stain of Human Nature from it?" - ("Impotensne fuit sapientia Dei mundum sibi habitaculum condere, remota omni labe conditionis humanae?") Perhaps, God could not 'Prepare' a Clean Habitation for His Son, by Preserving it from the Common Contagion? "God", 'Continues' the same Saint, "could 'Preserve' Angels-in-Heaven, Spotless, in the Midst-of the Devastation that 'Surrounded' them; was He, then, Unable to 'Preserve' the Mother of His Son, and the Queen-of-Angels from the Common Fall-of-Men?" - ("Angelis aliis peccantibus, bonos a peccatis servavit; et Matrem ab aliorum peccatis exsortem servare non valuit?" De Conc. B. M.). And I may here 'Add', that as God could 'Grant' Eve, the Grace to 'Come' Immaculate into the World, could He not, then, 'Grant' the same Favor to Mary?
Yes, Indeed! God could 'Do' this, and 'Did' it; for on every Account, "it was Becoming", as the same Saint-Anselm says, "that that Virgin, on whom the Eternal Father Intended to 'Bestow' His Only-Begotten Son, should be 'Adorned' with such Purity, as not only to 'Exceed' that of all Men and Angels, but Exceeding any Purity that can be 'Conceived' after that of God" - ("Decens erat ut ea puritate, qua major sub Deo nequit intelligi, Virgo illa niteret, cui Deus Pater unicum Filium suum dare disponebat" De Conc. Virg. c. 18). And Saint-John-Damascene 'Speaks' in still Clearer Terms; for he 'Says', "that our Lord had 'Preserved' the Soul, together-with the Body, of the Blessed Virgin, in that Purity which 'Became' her, who was to 'Receive' a God into her Womb; for, as He is Holy, He only 'Reposes' in Holy Places" - ("Sic Virginis una cum corpore animam conservasset, ut eam decebat quae Deum in sinu suo exceptura erat; sanctus enim ipse cum sit, in sanctis requiescat" De Fide Orth. L. 4, c. 15). And thus, the Eternal Father could well 'Say' to His Beloved Daughter, "As the Lily among-Thorns, so is My Love among the Daughters" - ("Sicut lilium inter spinas, sic Amica mea inter filias" Canticles 2:2). My Daughter, amongst All My other Daughters, thou art as a Lily in the midst-of Thorns; for they are all 'Stained' with Sin, but thou wast always Immaculate, and always My Beloved.
In the Second (2nd) Place, it was 'Becoming' that the Son should 'Preserve' Mary from Sin, as 'Being' His Mother. No Man can 'Choose' his Mother; but should such a thing ever be 'Granted' to any one, who is there, who-if Able to 'Choose' a Queen, would 'Wish' for a Slave? If able to 'Choose' a Noble Lady, would he 'Wish' for a Servant? Or, if able to 'Choose' a Friend-of God, would he 'Wish' for His Enemy? If, then, the Son-of-God alone, could 'Choose' a Mother according-to His Own Heart, His Liking, we must 'Consider', as a matter-of-course, that He 'Chose' One, 'Becoming' a God. Saint-Bernard 'Says', "that the Creator-of-Men, 'Becoming' Man, must have 'Selected' Himself a Mother, whom He knew 'Became' Him" - (Factor hominum, nasciturus de homine, talem sibi debuit eligere Matrem, qualem se decree sciebat" De Laud. V. M. hom. 2). And as it was 'Becoming', that a Most Pure God should have a Mother 'Pure' from All Sin, He 'Created' her Spotless. Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna, 'Speaking' of the different Degrees-of Sanctification, 'Says', that "the Third is that Obtained by 'Becoming' the Mother-of-God; and that this Sanctification consists-in the entire 'Removal' of Original Sin. This is what Took-place in the Blessed Virgin: Truly, God 'Created' Mary such, both as to the Eminence-of her Nature and the Perfection-of Grace with which He 'Endowed' her, as 'Became' Him, Who was to be 'Born' of her" - ("Tertia fuit sanctification maternalis, et haec removet culpam originalem. Haec fuit in Beata Virgine; sane Deus talem, tam nobilitate naturae, quam perfectione gratiae, condidit matrem, qualem eam decebat habere suam majestatem" Pro Fest. V. M. s. 4, a. 1, c. 1). Here we may 'Apply' the Words of the Apostle-to-the-Hebrews: "For it was Fitting that we should have such a High Priest; Holy, Innocent, Undefiled, Separated from Sinners" - ("Talis enim decebat ut nobis esset Pontifex, sanctus, innocens, impollutus, segregatus a peccatoribus" Hebrews 7:26). A Learned-Author 'Observes' that, according-to Saint-Paul, it was 'Fitting' that Our Blessed Redeemer should not only be 'Separated' from Sin, but also from Sinners; according to the Explanation-of Saint-Thomas, who 'Says', "that it was Necessary that He, Who 'Came' to Take-away Sins, should be Separated-from Sinners, as to the Fault under which Adam Lay" - ("Oportuit eum, qui peccata venerat tollere, esse a peccatoribus segregatum, quantum ad culpam cui Adam subjacuit" P. 3, q. 4, a. 6). But how could Jesus Christ be 'Said' to be 'Separated' from Sinners, if He had a Mother, who was a Sinner?
Saint-Ambrose 'Says', "that Christ 'Chose' this Vessel, into which He was about to 'Descend', not of Earth, but from Heaven; and He 'Consecrated' it, a Temple-of-Purity" - ("Non de terra, sed de coelo. Vas sibi hoc, per quod descenderet, Christus elegit, et sacravit Templum pudoris" Inst. Virg. c. 5). The Saint 'Refers' to the Text-of Saint-Paul: "The First Man was of the Earth, Earthly; the Second Man from Heaven, Heavenly" - ("Primus homo de terra, terrenus; secundus homo de coelo, coelestis" 1Corinthians 15:47). The Saint 'Calls' the Divine Mother "a Heavenly Vessel", not because Mary was not Earthly by Nature, as Heretics have 'Dreamt', but because she was Heavenly, by Grace; she was as Superior-to the Angels-of-Heaven in Sanctity and Purity, as it was 'Becoming' that she should be, in whose Womb a King-of-Glory, was to 'Dwell'. This Agrees with that which Saint-John-the-Baptist 'Revealed' to Saint-Bridget, 'Saying', "It was not 'Becoming' that the King-of-Glory should 'Repose' otherwise, than in a Chosen Vessel, 'Exceeding' all Men and Angels, in Purity" - ("Non decuit Regem gloriae jacere, nisi in Vase purissimo et mundissimo et electissimo prae omnibus Angelis et hominibus" Rev. 1. 1, c. 31). And to this we may 'Add', that which the Eternal Father Himself 'Said' to the same Saint: "Mary was a Clean and an Unclean Vessel; Clean, for she was all-Fair; but Unclean, because she was Born-of Sinners; though she was 'Conceived' without Sin, that My Son might be 'Born' of her, without Sin" - ("Maria fuit Vas mundum, et non mundum; mundum, quia tota pulchra, sed non mundum, quia de peccatoribus nata est, licet sine peccato concepta, ut Filius meus de ea sine peccato nasceretur" Rev. l. 5, 4. 13, exp.). And 'Remark' these Last Words, "Mary was Conceived without Sin, that the Divine Son might be Born of her, without Sin". Not that Jesus Christ could have 'Contracted' Sin; but that He might not be 'Reproached' with even having a Mother 'Infected' with it, who would consequently have been the Slave of the Devil.
The Flesh-of-Jesus is the same as-that-of Mary.
The Holy Ghost says that, "the Glory of a Man, is from the Honor of his Father, and a Father without Honor, is the Disgrace of the Son" - ("Gloria enim hominis, ex honore patris ejus; et dedecus filii, pater sine honore" Ecclesiasticus 3:13). "Therefore it was", says an Ancient Writer, "that Jesus Preserved the Body-of-Mary from 'Corruption', after Death; for it would have 'Redounded' to His Dishonor, had that Virginal Flesh, with which He had 'Clothed' Himself, 'Become' the Food-of-Worms". For he 'Adds', "Corruption is a Disgrace of Human Nature; and as Jesus was not 'Subject' to it, Mary was also 'Exempted'; for the Flesh-of-Jesus, is the Flesh-of-Mary" - ("Putredo namque humanae est opprobrium conditionis a quo cum Jesus sit alienus, natura Mariae excipitur; caro enim Jesu, caro Mariae est"). But, since the 'Corruption' of her Body would have been a Disgrace for Jesus Christ, because He was 'Born' of her, how much Greater would the Disgrace have been, had He been 'Born' of a mother whose Soul was Once 'Infected' with the Corruption-of-Sin? For not only is it True, that the Flesh of Jesus is the same as that of Mary, "but", 'Adds' the same Author, "the Flesh of our Savior, even after His Resurrection, Remained the same that He had 'Taken' from His Mother". "The Flesh-of-Christ is the Flesh-of-Mary; and though it was Glorified by the Glory of His Resurrection, yet it remains the same that was 'Taken' from Mary" - ("Caro Jesu, caro est Mariae; et quamvis Gloria resurrectionis fuerit magnificata, eadem tamen mansit, quae suscepta est de Maria" Lib. de Ass. c. 5). Hence the Abbot-Arnold-of-Chartres 'Says', "The Flesh-of-Mary, and that of Christ are One (1); and therefore I 'Consider' the Glory of the Son as being not so much Common-to, as One (1)-with, that of His Mother" - ("Una est Mariae et Christi caro; Filii gloriam cum Matre non tam communem judico, quam eandem" De Laud. B. M. V.). And now, if this is True, 'Supposing' that the Blessed Virgin was 'Conceived' in Sin, though the Son could not have 'Contracted' its Stain, nevertheless, His having United Flesh to Himself, which was Once 'Infected' with Sin, a Vessel of Uncleanness, and 'Subject' to Lucifer, would always have been a Blot.
The Ghent Altarpiece: Mary of the Annunciation -
by EYCK, Jan van - from Cathedral of St Bavo, Ghent
Instantly, with Mary's Fiat, and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ became 'Present' in the Most Pure Womb of the Blessed Mary. By God's Grace, Mary, the Little Jewish Girl, is Now the:
Daughter of God-the-Father,
is from God (Person of the Holy Spirit), and Works-in the Depth-of
the Soul, whose Powers it Employs. It is a Light which Issues-forth to do Service,
under the Guidance-of the Holy Spirit. The Divine Light Permeates the Soul, and
Lifts it above the Turmoil-of Temporal Things, to Rest-in God. Without Mary's
Fiat, the Gates-of-Heaven would be Closed to Man, Forever.
Mary was not only the Mother, but the 'Worthy' Mother of Our Savior. She is Called-so by All the Holy-Fathers. Saint-Bernard 'Says', "Thou Alone wast Found 'Worthy' to be Chosen as the One, in whose Virginal Womb, the King-of-kings should have His First Abode" - ("Tu sola inventa es digna, ut in tua virginali aula Rex regum primam sibi mansionem elegeret" Depr. Ad gl. V.). Saint-Thomas-of-Villanova 'Says', "Before she 'Conceived', she was already 'Fit' to be the Mother-of-God" - ("Antequam conciperet, jam idonea erat, ut esset Mater Dei" De Nat. V. M. conc. 3). The Holy Church herself, 'Attests' that Mary 'Merited' to be the Mother-of Jesus Christ, 'Saying', "the Blessed Virgin, who 'Merited' to 'Bear' in her Womb, Christ Our Lord" - ("Beata Virgo, cujus sicera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum" In Nat. D. respt. 4); and Saint-Thomas-Aquinas, 'Explaining' these Words, 'Says', that "the Blessed Virgin is said to have 'Merited' to 'Bear' the Lord-of-All; not that she 'Merited' His Incarnation, but that she 'Merited', by the Graces she had 'Received', such a Degree-of Purity and Sanctity, that she could 'Becomingly' be, the Mother-of-God" - ("Beata Virgo dicitur meruisse portare Dominum omnium, non quia meruit ipsum incarnari, sed quia meruit, ex gratia sibi data, illum peritatis et sanctitatis gradum, ut congrue posset esse Mater Dei" P. 3, q. 2, a. 11); that is to say, Mary could not 'Merit' the Incarnation-of-the-Eternal-Word, but by Divine Grace she Merited such a Degree-of-Perfection, as to 'Render' her Worthy to be the Mother-of-God; according to what Saint-Augustine also 'Writes': "Her Singular Sanctity, the Effect-of-Grace, 'Merited' that she alone, should be 'Judged Worthy' to 'Receive' a God" - ("Promeruit hoc singularis sanctitas ejus et singularis gratia, qua susceptione Dei singulariter aestimata est digna" Lib. de Ass. c. 4).
And now, 'Supposing' that Mary was 'Worthy' to be the Mother-of-God, "what Excellency and what Perfection was there, that did not 'Become' her?" - ("Quae autem excellentia, quae perfectio, decuit eam, ut esset idonea Mater Dei?" De Nat. V. M. conc. 3) 'Asks' Saint-Thomas-of-Villanova. The Angelic-Doctor 'Says', "that when God 'Chooses' any One for a Particular Dignity, He 'Renders' him Fit for it"; whence he 'Adds', "that God, having 'Chosen' Mary for His Mother, He also, by His Grace, 'Rendered' her Worthy of this Highest, of All Dignities". "The Blessed Virgin was Divinely 'Chosen' to be the Mother-of-God, and therefore, we cannot 'Doubt' that God had 'Fitted' her by His Grace, for this Dignity; and we are 'Assured' of it by the Angel: 'For thou hast found Grace with God; behold thou shalt 'Conceive'" - ("Beata autem Virgo fuit electa divinitus, ut esset Mater Dei; et ideo non est dubitandum quin Deus, per suam gratiam, eam ad hoc idoneam reddiderit, juxta illud: 'Invenisti gratiam apud Deum: ecce, concipies in utero et paries Filium'" Luke 1:30). And thence the Saint 'Argues' that "the Blessed Virgin never Committed any Actual Sin, not even a Venial One. Otherwise", he 'Says', "she would not have been a Mother, Worthy of Jesus Christ; for the Ignominy of the Mother, would also have been that of the Son, for He would have had a Sinner, for His Mother" - ("Non fuisset idonea Mater Dei, si peccasset aliquando, quia ignominia Matris ad Filium redundasset" P. 3, q. 27, a. 4). And now if Mary, on-account-of a Single (1) Venial Sin, which does not 'Deprive' a Soul of Divine Grace, would not have been a Mother 'Worthy' of God, how much more Unworthy would she have 'Been', had she 'Contracted' the Guilt of Original Sin, which would have 'Made' her an Enemy of God, and a Slave of the Devil? And this Reflection it was, that 'Made' Saint-Augustine 'Utter' those Memorable Words, that, "when Speaking of Mary for the Honor of our Lord, Whom she Merited to have for her Son, He would not 'Entertain' even the Question-of-Sin in her; for we Know", he 'Says', "that through Him, Who it is evident was without Sin, and Whom she Merited to 'Conceive' and 'Bring-forth', she 'Received' Grace to 'Conquer' all Sin" - ("Excepta itaque Sancta Virgine Maria, de qua, propter honorem Domini, nullam prorsus, cum de peccatis agitur, haberi volo quaestionem; unde enim scimus, quod ei plus gratiae collatum fuerit ad vincendum ex omni parte peccatum, quae concipere ac parere meruit, quem constat nullum habuisse peccatum" De Nat. et Gratia, c. 36).
Therefore, as Saint-Peter-Damian 'Observes', we must 'Consider' it as certain "that the Incarnate Word 'Chose' Himself a 'Becoming' Mother, and One of whom He would not have to be Ashamed" - ("Talem creavit eam, ut ipse digne nasci potuisset ex ea" De Nat. D. s. 3). Saint-Proclus also 'Says', "that He Dwelt in a Womb, which He had 'Created', Free-from all that might be to His Dishonor" - ("Intra viscera, quae citra ullam sui dedecoris notam creaverat habitavit" Laudat. In S. M. or. 1). It was no Shame to Jesus Christ, when He 'Heard' Himself Contemptuously 'Called' by the Jews, the Son-of-Mary, Meaning that He was the Son of a Poor Woman: "Is not His Mother called Mary?" - ("Nonne mater ejus dicitur Maria?" Matthew 13:55) for He 'Came' into this World to Give us an Example-of Humility and Patience. But, on-the-other-hand, it would Undoubtedly have been a Disgrace, could He have 'Heard' the Devil 'Say', "Was not His Mother, a Sinner?" - ("Nonne mater ejus exstitit peccatrix?") was He not 'Born' of a Wicked Mother, who was Once Our Slave It would even have been 'Unbecoming', had Jesus Christ been 'Born'-of-a-Woman whose Body was 'Deformed', or 'Crippled', or 'Possessed' by Devils: but how much more would it have been so, had He been 'Born'-of-a-Woman whose Soul had been Once 'Deformed' by Sin, and in the Possession-of Lucifer?
"Wisdom hath Built Herself a House" - Proverbs 9:1 ―
Ah! indeed, God, Who is Wisdom Itself, well-Knew how to 'Prepare' Himself a 'Becoming' Dwelling, in-which-to 'Reside' on Earth: "Wisdom hath Built Herself a House" - ("Sapientia aedificavit sibi domum" Proverbs 9:1). "The Most High hath Sanctified His Own Tabernacle. . . . God will Help it in the Morning, Early" - (Sanctificavit tabernaculum suum Altissimus . . . Adjuvabit eam Deus mane diluculo" Psalm 45:5,6). David 'Says' that Our Lord 'Sanctified' this, His Dwelling, in the Morning, Early; that is to Say, from the Beginning-of her Life, to 'Render' her Worthy of Himself; for it was not 'Becoming', that a Holy God should 'Choose' Himself a Dwelling, that was not Holy: "Holiness 'Becometh' Thy House" - ("Domum tuam decet sanctitudo" Psalm 92:5). And if God 'Declares' that He will never 'Enter' a Malicious Soul, or 'Dwell' in a Body, 'Subject-to' Sin, "for Wisdom will not enter into a Malicious Soul, nor dwell in a Body, Subject-to Sin" - ("In malevolam animam non introibit Sapientia nec habitabit in corpore subdito peccatis" Wisdom 1:4), how can we ever Think, that the Son-of-God 'Chose' to 'Dwell' in the Soul and Body of Mary, without having Previously 'Sanctified' and 'Preserved' it from every Stain-of-Sin? for, according to the Doctrine-of Saint-Thomas, "the Eternal Word 'Dwelt' not only in the Soul-of-Mary, but even in her Womb" - ("Dei Filius in ipsa habitavit, non solum in anima, sed etiam in utero" P. 3, q. 27, a. 4). The Holy Church 'Sings', "Thou, O Lord, hast not Disdained to Dwell in the Virgin's Womb" - ("Non horruisti Virginis uterum" Hymn. Te Deum). Yes, for He would have 'Disdained' to have 'Taken' Flesh in the Womb of an Agnes, a Gertrude, a Teresa, because these Virgins, though Holy, were nevertheless for a Time, 'Stained' with Original Sin; but He did not 'Disdain' to 'Become' Man in the Womb-of-Mary, because this Beloved Virgin was Always Pure and Free from the Least Shadow-of-Sin, and was Never 'Possessed' by the Infernal Serpent. And therefore, Saint Augustine 'Says', "that the Son-of-God never 'Made' Himself a more Worthy Dwelling than Mary, who was never 'Possessed' by the Enemy, or 'Despoiled' of her Ornaments" - ("Nullam digniorem domum sibi Filius Dei aedificavit quam Mariam, quae nunquam fuit ab hostibus capta, neque suis ornamentis spoliata"). On-the-other-hand, Saint-Cyril-of-Alexandria 'Asks', "Who ever heard of an Architect, who built himself a Temple, and Yielded-up the First Possession of it, to his Great Enemy?" - ("Quis unquam audivit architectum, qui sibi domum aedificavit, in ea habitare prohibitum fuisse?" In Conc. Eph. hom. 6)
God's Fourth Commandment - Honor thy Father and thy Mother
God never Instituted a Law on His Created Universe,
CCC-2197 The Fourth Commandment opens the Second Table of the Decalogue. It shows us the Order-of-Charity. God has Willed that, after Him, we should Honor our Parents, to whom we Owe Life and who have handed-on to us, the Knowledge-of-God. We are Obliged to Honor and Respect all those whom God, for our Good, has Vested with His Authority.
CCC-2198 This Commandment is Expressed in Positive Terms of Duties to be Fulfilled. It Introduces the Subsequent Commandments which are Concerned-with particular Respect-for Life, Marriage, Earthly Goods, and Speech. It Constitutes one of the Foundations of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
CCC-2199 The Fourth Commandment is Addressed Expressly to Children, in their Relationship to their Father and Mother, because this Relationship is the most Universal. It likewise Concerns the Ties-of-Kinship between Members of the Extended Family. It requires Honor, Affection, and Gratitude toward Elders and Ancestors. Finally, it Extends-to the Duties-of Pupils-to-Teachers, Employees-to-Employers, Subordinates-to-Leaders, Citizens-to their Country, and to Those who Administer or Govern it.
This Commandment Includes and Presupposes the Duties-of Parents, Instructors, Teachers, Leaders, Magistrates, those who Govern, all who Exercise Authority over Others, or over a Community-of Persons.
CCC-2200 Observing the Fourth Commandment, Brings its Reward: "Honor your Father and your Mother, that your Days may be Long in the Land which the LORD your God Gives you." Respecting this Commandment Provides, along with Spiritual Fruits, Temporal Fruits of Peace and Prosperity. Conversely, Failure to Observe it, Brings Great Harm to Communities and to Individuals.
Yes, 'Says' Saint-Methodius, 'Speaking' on the same Subject, that Lord, Who 'Commanded' us to Honor our Parents, would not do Otherwise, when He 'Became' Man, than 'Observe' it, by 'Gving' His Mother every Grace and Honor: "He Who said, 'Honor thy Father and thy Mother', that He might Observe His Own Decree, gave All Grace and Honor to His Mother" - ("Qui dixit: 'Honora patrem tuum et matrem,' ut decretum a se promulgatum servaret, omnem Matri gratiam et honorem impendit" De Sim. et Anna). Therefore, the Author of the Book already 'Quoted' from the Works-of-Saint-Augustine, 'Says', "that we must certainly Believe that Jesus Christ, 'Preserved' the Body-of-Mary from Corruption-after-Death, for if He had not Done so, He would not have 'Observed' the Law, which, at the same Time that it 'Commands' us to Honor our Mother, 'Forbids' us to Show her Disrespect" - ("Sicut honorem matris praecipit, ita inhonorationem damnat" Lib. de Ass. c. 5). But how Little would Jesus have 'Guarded' His Mother's Honor, had He not 'Preserved' her from Adam's Sin! "Certainly that son would sin", 'Says' the Augustinian-Father-Thomas-of-Strasburg, "who, having it in his Power to 'Preserve' his Mother from Original Sin, did not do so; but that which would be a Sin in us", 'Continues' the same Author, "must certainly be considered Unbecoming in the Son-of-God, Who, whilst He could 'Make' His Mother Immaculate, did it not". "Ah, no", 'Exclaims' Gerson, "since Thou, the Supreme Prince, 'Choosest' to have a Mother, certainly Thou 'Owest' her Honor. But now, if Thou didst Permit her, who was to be the Dwelling-of-All-Purity, to be in the Abomination-of-Original-Sin, certainly it would Appear that that Law, was not well-Fulfilled" - ("Cum tu, summus Princeps, vis habere Matrem, illi debebis honorem; nunc autem appareret illam legem non bene adimpleri, si in hujusmodi abominatione peccati aliquot tempore permitteres illam, quae esse debet habitaculum totius puritatis" De Conc. B. V. s. 1).
To its Everlasting Glory, it was in Catholic England, that the Doctrine was 'Vindicated' and the Fallacious Argument against the Immaculate Conception, 'Dissolved'. Men like Eadmer-of-Canterbury, Anselm-of-Bury, Saint-Edmunds and Osbert-of-Westminster, Strenuously 'Defended' the Doctrine. It was the Great Franciscan, Duns-Scotus, who in his Lectures at Oxford, 'Showed' that the Fact that All are-dependent-upon the Redemption-of-Christ, in no way 'Contradicted' the Fact of the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady was 'Preserved'-from Original Sin, by the Merits of her Son, as we are 'Released'-from it, by the same Merits. He is her Redeemer, as-well-as ours: in fact, more-Perfectly hers, than ours, for she is 'Redeemed' more-Perfectly who is 'Shielded' by Him from ever 'Incurring' Evil, than we, who are 'Released'-by Him from the Evil, He has 'Permitted' us to 'Incur'.
"Moreover, we Know", 'Says' Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna, "that the Divine Son 'Came' into the World, more to 'Redeem' Mary, than all other Creatures" - ("Christus plus pro ipsa redimenda venit, quam pro omni alia creatura" Pro Fest. V. M. s. 4, a. 3, c. 3). There are Two (2) Means by-which a Person may be 'Redeemed', as Saint-Augustine 'Teaches' us: "the One by Raising him up after having Fallen, and the Other, by Preventing him from Falling" - ("Duplex est redimendi modus; unus, erigendo lapsum; alter, praeveniendo jamjam lapsurum, ne cadat" De Inc. p. 2, d. 3, s. 5); and this Last Means is Doubtless, the Most Honorable. "He is more Honorably Redeemed", says the Learned Suarez, "who is 'Prevented' from Falling, than he who after Falling, is Raised up" - ("Nobilius redimitur, cui providetur ne cadat, quam ut lapsus erigatur" P. 1, t. 8, c. 2); for thus, the Injury or Stain is 'Avoided', which the Soul always 'Contracts' by Falling. This being the Case, we ought certainly to 'Believe' that Mary was 'Redeemed' in the more-Honorable Way, and the One which 'Became' the Mother-of-God, as Saint-Bonaventure 'Remarks'; "for it is to be 'Believed', that the Holy Ghost, as a very Special Favor, 'Redeemed' and 'Preserved' her from Original Sin, by a new-kind of Sanctification, and this, in the Very Moment of her Conception; not that Sin was in her, but that it otherwise would have been" - ("Credendum est enim quod novo sanctificationis genere, in ejus conceptionis primordio, Spiritus Sanctus eam a peccato originali, non quod infuit, sed quod infuisset redemit, atque singulari gratia praeser vavit" De B. V. s. 2). The Sermon from which this Passage is 'Taken', is 'Proved' by Frassen (Scotus-Academicus, de Inc. d. 3, a. 3, s. 3, q. 1, #5) to be really the Work of the Holy Doctor, above 'Named'. On the same Subject, Cardinal-Cusano Beautifully 'Remarks', that "others had Jesus as a Liberator, but to the most Blessed Virgin, He was a pre-Liberator" - ("Praeliberatorem enim Virgo Sancta habuit, caeteri Postliberatorem" Excit. l. 8, Sicut lil.); 'Meaning', that all-others had a Redeemer, Who 'Delivered' them from Sin, with-which they were already 'Defiled', but that the Most Blessed Virgin, had a Redeemer, Who, because He was her Son, 'Preserved' her from ever 'Being' 'Defiled' by it.
In Fine, to 'Conclude' this Point, in the Words of Hugo-of-Saint-Victor, the Tree is known-by its Fruits. If the Lamb was always Immaculate, the Mother must also have been always Immaculate: "Such the Lamb, such the Mother of the Lamb; for the Tree is known by its Fruit" - ("Talis Agnus, quails Mater Agni; quoniam omnis arbor ex fructu suo cognoscitur" De Verbo inc. c. 3). Hence this same Doctor 'Salutes' Mary, 'Saying': "O Worthy Mother, of a Worthy Son"; meaning, that no-other-than Mary was Worthy to be the Mother of such a Son, and no-other-than Jesus was a Worthy Son of such a Mother: and then he 'Adds' these Words, "O Fair Mother-of-Beauty itself, O High Mother of the Most High, O Mother-of-God!" - ("O Digna Digni! Formosa Pulchri, Excelsa Altissimi, Mater Dei!" De Assumpt. c. 3) Let us then 'Address' this Most Blessed Mother, in the Words of Saint-Illdephonsus, "Suckle, O Mary, thy Creator, give Milk to Him Who made thee, and Who made thee such, that He could be Made-of thee" - ("Lacta, maria. Creatorem tuum; lacta eum qui fecit te, qui talem fecit te, ut ipse fieret ex te" De Nat. B. V. s. 1).
Since, then, it was 'Becoming' that the Father should 'Preserve' Mary from Sin, as His Daughter, and the Son, as His Mother, it was also 'Becoming' that the Holy Ghost should Preserve her, as His Spouse.
Saint-Augustine 'Says' that "Mary was that Only One, who 'Merited' to be 'Called' the Mother and Spouse of God" - ("Haec est quae sola meruit Mater et Sponsa vocari" Serm. 208, E. B. app.). For Saint-Anselm 'Asserts' that "the Divine Spirit, the Love Itself of the Father and the Son, 'Came' Corporally into Mary, and 'Enriching' her with Graces, above all Creatures, 'Reposed' in her and Made her His Spouse, the Queen-of-Heaven-and-Earth" - ("Ipse Spiritus Dei, ipse Amor Patris et Filii, corporaliter venit in eam, singularique gratia prae omnibus requievit in ea, et Reginam coeli et terrae fecit eam" De Excell. Virg. c. 4). He 'Says' that He 'Came' into her Corporally, that is, as to the Effect; for He 'Came' to 'Form' of her Immaculate Body, the Immaculate Body of Jesus Christ, as the Archangel had already 'Predicted' to her: "The Holy Ghost shall Come upon thee" - ("Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te" Luke 1:35). And therefore it is, says Saint-Thomas, "that Mary is Called the Temple-of-the-Lord, and the Sacred-Resting-Place of the Holy Ghost: for by the Operation-of the Holy Ghost, she 'Became' the Mother-of the Incarnate Word" - ("Unde dicitur Templum Domini, Sacrarium Spiritus Sancti, quia concepit ex Spiritu Sancto" Exp. In Sal. Ang.).
And now, had an Excellent-Artist, the Power to 'Make' his Bride such-as he could 'Represent' her, what Pains would he not take to 'Render' her as-Beautiful as-Possible! Who, then, can say that the Holy Ghost did otherwise with Mary, when He could 'Make' her, who was to be His Spouse, as-Beautiful-as it 'Became' Him, that she should be? Ah no! He 'Acted' as it 'Became' Him to 'Act'; for this same Lord Himself 'Declares': "Thou Art All Fair, O My Love, and there is not a Spot in thee" - ("Tota pulchra es, Amica mea, et macula non est in te" Canticles 4:7). These Words, 'Say' Saint-Ildephonsus and Saint-Thomas, are Properly to be Understood-of Mary, as Cornelius-à-Lapide 'Remarks'; and Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna (Pro Fest. V. M. s. 4, a. 2, c. 2), and Saint-Laurence-Justinian (In Net. B. V.), 'Assert' that they are to be 'Understood' Precisely as 'Applying'-to her Immaculate Conception; whence Blessed-Raymond-Jordano 'Addresses' her, 'Saying', "Thou art All Fair, O Most Glorious Virgin, not in-Part, but Wholly; and no Stain-of Mortal, Venial, or Original Sin, is in thee" - ("Tota pulchra es, Virgo gloriosissima! non in parte, sed in toto; et macula peccati, sive mortalis, sive venialis, sive originalis, non est in te" Cont. de V. M. c. 2).
The Holy Ghost 'Signified' the same thing, when He 'Called' this, His Spouse, an "Enclosed Garden" and a "Sealed Fountain": My Sister, My Spouse, is a Garden-Enclosed, a Fountain Sealed-up" - ("Hortus conclusus, soror mea, Sponsa, Hortus conclusus, Fons signatus" Canticles 4:12). "Mary", 'Says' Saint-Sophronius, "was this Enclosed-Garden and Sealed-Fountain, into which no-Guile could 'Enter', against which no-Fraud of the Enemy could 'Prevail', and who always was Holy in Mind and Body" - (Haec est Hortus conclusus, Fons signatus, ad quam nulli potuerunt doli irrumpere; nec praevaluit fraus inimici, sed permansit sancta mente et corpore" De Assumpt.). Saint-Bernard likewise 'Says', Addressing the Blessed Virgin, "Thou art an Enclosed Garden, into which the Sinner's Hand has never Entered, to Pluck its Flowers" - ("Hortus conclusus tu es, ad quem deflorandum manus peccatorum nunquam introivit" Depr. ad. gl. V.).
We know that this Divine Spouse, 'Loved' Mary more than all the Other Saints and Angels put-together, as Father-Suarez (De Inc. p. 2, d. 18, s. 4), with Saint-Laurence-Justinian, and others, 'Assert'. He 'Loved' her from the very Beginning, and 'Exalted' her in Sanctity above All Others, as it is 'Expressed' by David, in the Psalms: "The Foundations thereof are in the Holy Mountains; the Lord Loveth the Gates-of-Sion above all the Tabernacles-of-Jacob . . . a Man is Born in her, and the Highest Himself hath 'Founded' her" - ("Fundamenta ejus in moontibus sanctis; diligit Dominus portus Sion super omnia tabernacula Jacob . . . Homo natus est in ea; et ipse fundavit eam Altissimus" Psalm 86:1-5). Words, which all 'Signify' that Mary was Holy from her Conception. The same thing is 'Signified' by other Passages, 'Addressed' to her by the Holy Ghost. In Proverbs, we 'Read': "Many Daughters have Gathered-together Riches: thou hast Surpassed them All" - ("Multae filiae congregaverunt divitias: tu supergressa es universas" Proverbs 31:29). If Mary has 'Surpassed' all-others in the Riches-of-Grace, she must have had Original Justice, as Adam and the Angels had it. In the Canticles we 'Read', "There are . . . Young Maidens without Number. One is My Dove, My Perfect One (in the Hebrew it is My Entire, My Immaculate One) is but One, she is the only One of her Mother" - (Adolescentularum non est numerus; una est columba mea, perfecta mea, una est matris suae" Canticles 6:7,8). All Just Souls are Daughters-of-Divine-Grace; but amongst these, Mary was the Dove without the Gall-of-Sin, the Perfect One without Spot in her Origin, the One Conceived-in-Grace.
Hence it is that the Angel, before she 'Became' the Mother-of-God, already 'Found' her Full-of-Grace, and thus 'Saluted' her, Hail, Full of Grace; on which Words Saint-Sophronius 'Writes', that "Grace is Given Partially to other Saints, but to the Blessed Virgin, All was Given" - ("Bene 'Plena,' quia caeteris per partes praestatur, Mariae vero simul se tota infudit plenitude gratiae" De Assumpt.). So-much-so, 'Says' Saint-Thomas, that "Grace not only Rendered the Soul, but even the Flesh-of-Mary, Holy, so that this Blessed Virgin might be able to 'Clothe' the Eternal Word with it" - ("Anima Beatae Virginis ita fuit plena, quod ex ea refudit gratia in carnem, ut de ipsa conciperet Deum" Exp. In Sal. Ang.). Now all this Leads us to the Conclusion that Mary, from the Moment of her Conception, was Enriched and Filled-with Divine Grace by the Holy Ghost, as Peter-of-Celles 'Remarks', "the Plenitude-of-Grace was in her; for from the very Moment of her Conception, the Whole Grace of the Divinity, 'Overflowed' upon her, by the Outpouring of the Holy Ghost" - ("Simul in ea collecta est gratiae plenitude, quia ab exordio suae conceptionis, aspersione Spiritus Sancti, tota Deitatis gratia est superfusa" De Pan. c. 12). Hence Saint-Peter-Damian 'Says', "that the Holy Spirit was about to 'Bear' her off Entirely-to Himself, who was Chosen and Pre-elected by God" - ("A Deo electam et praeelectam, totam eam rapturus erat sibi Spiritus Sanctus" - De Annunt.). The Saint 'Says' "to Bear her off", to 'Denote' the Holy Velocity of the Divine Spirit in-being Beforehand, in-making this Spouse, His Own, before Lucifer should 'Take' Possession-of her.
I wish to 'Conclude' this Discourse, which I have 'Prolonged' beyond the Limits of the Others, because our Congregation has this Blessed Virgin Mary, Precisely under the Title of her Immaculate Conception, for his Principal Patroness. I say that I wish to Conclude, by 'Giving', in as Few Words as Possible, the Reasons which make me feel Certain, and which, in my Opinion, ought to 'Convince' every One, of the Truth of so Pious-a-Belief, and which is so Glorious for the Divine Mother, that is, that she was Free from Original Sin.
There are many Doctors who 'Maintain' that Mary was 'Exempted' from 'Contracting' even the Debt-of-Sin; for Instance, Cardinal-Galatino (De Arc. l. 7, passim.), Cardinal-Cusano (Excit. l. 8, Sicut lil.), De-Ponte (In Cant. l. 2, exh. 19), Salazar (Pro Imm. Conc. c. 7), Catharinus (De Pecc. Orig. c. ult.), Novarino (Umbra Virg. exc. 18), Viva (P. 8, d. 1, q. 2, a. 2), De Lugo (De Inc. d. 7, s. 3, 4), Egidio (De Imm. Conc. l. 2, q. 4, a. 5), Denis-the-Carthusian (De Dign. M. l. 1, a. 13), and others. And this Opinion, is also Probable; for if it is True that the Wills of all Men were Included in that of Adam, as being the Head of All, and this Opinion is 'Maintained' as-Probable by Gonet (Clyp. p. 2, tr. 5, d. 7, a. 2), Habert (Tr. De Vit. Et Pecc. c. 7, #1), and others, 'Founded' on the Doctrine-of-Saint-Paul, contained in the Fifth Chapter to the Romans (Romans 5:12). If this Opinion, I say, is Probable, it is also Probable that Mary did not 'Contract' the Debt-of-Sin; for whilst God 'Distinguished' her from the Common-of-Men, by so many Graces, it ought to be Piously Believed that He did not 'Include' her Will, in that of Adam.
This Opinion is only Probable, and I 'Adhere' to it as being more Glorious for my Sovereign Lady. But I consider the Opinion that Mary did not Contract the Sin-of-Adam, as Certain: and it is Considered so, and even as Proximately Definable as an Article-of-Faith (as they Express it), by Cardinal-Everard, Duval (De Pecc. q. ult. a. 7), Raynauld (Piet. Lugd. erga V. Imm. n. 20), Lossada (Disc. Thomist. De Imm. Conc.), Viva (P. 8, d. 1, q. 2, a. 2), and many others. I 'Omit', however, the Revelations which 'Confirm' this Belief, particularly those of Saint-Bridget, which were 'Approved'-of by Cardinal-Turrecremata, and by Four Sovereign-Pontiffs, and which are 'Found' in various Parts of the Sixth Book of her "Revelations" (Rev. l. 6, c. 12, 49, 55).
But on-no-account, can I 'Omit the Opinions of the Holy Fathers on this Subject, whereby to 'Show' their Unanimity in 'Conceding' this Privilege to the Divine Mother.
Saint-Ambrose 'Says', "Receive Me not from Sarah, but from Mary; that it may be an Uncorrupted Virgin, a Virgin Free-by-Grace, from every Stain-of Sin" - ("Suscipe Me non ex Sara, sed ex Maria, ut incorrupta sit Virgo, sed Virgo per gratiam ab omni integra labe peccati" In Ps. cxviii. s. 22).
Origen, 'Speaking' of Mary, 'Asserts' that "she was not Infected by the Venomous Breath of the Serpent" - ("Nec serpentis venenosis afflatibus infecta est" In Div. hom. 1).
Saint-Ephrem, that "she was Immaculate, and Remote from all Stain-of-Sin" - ("Immaculata et ab omni peccati labe alienissima" Orat. Ad Deip.).
An Ancient Writer, in a Sermon 'Found' amongst the Words-of Saint-Augustine, on the Words "Hail, Full-of-Grace", 'Says', "By these Words, the Angel shows that she was altogether (Remark the Word 'altogether') 'Excluded' from the Wrath-of the First Sentence, and Restored to the Full Grace-of-Blessing" - ("Ave 'gratia plena!' Quibus verbis ostendit ex integro iram exclusam primae sententiae, et plenam benedictionis gratiam restitutam" Serm. 123, E. B. app.).
The Author of an Old Work, called the Breviary-of-Saint-Jerome, 'Affirms' that "that Cloud was never in Darkness, but always in Light" - ("Nubes illa non fuit in tenebris, sed simper in luce" Brev. In Ps. 77).
Saint-Cyprian, or whoever may be the Author of the Work-on-the-77th_Psalm, 'Says', "Nor did Justice 'Endure', that that Vessel-of-Election should be Open-to common-injuries; for being Far Exalted 'Above' others, she Partook of their Nature, not of their Sin" - ("Nec sustinebat justitia ut illud Vas electionis communibus lassaretur injuriis; quoniam, plurimum a caeteris differens, natura communicabat, non culpa" De Chr. Op. De Nat.).
Saint-Amphilochius, that "He who 'Formed' the First Virgin without Deformity, also 'Made' the Second-One without Spot or Sin" - ("Qui antiquam illam virginem sine probro condidit, ipse et secundam sine nota et crimine fabricatus est" In S. Deip. et Sim.).
Saint-Sophronius, that "the Virgin is therefore 'Called' Immaculate, for in-Nothing was she Corrupt" - ("Virginem ideo dici immaculatam, quia in nullo corrupta est" In Conc. Oecum. 6, act. 11).
Saint-Ildephonsus 'Argues', that "it is evident that she was Free from Original Sin" - ("Constat eam ab omni originali peccato fuisse immunem" Cont. Disp. De Virginit. M.).
Saint-John-Damascene says, that "the Serpent never had any Access to this Paradise" - ("Ad hunc paradisum serpens adytum non habuit" In Dorm. Deip. or. 2).
Saint-Peter-Damian, that "the Flesh of the Virgin, taken from Adam, did not Admit-of the Stain-of-Adam" - ("Caro Virginis, ex Adam assumpta, maculas Adae non admisit" In Assumpt.).
Saint-Bruno 'Affirms', "that Mary is that Uncorrupted Earth which God Blessed, and was therefore Freefrom all Contagion-of-Sin" - ("Haec est incorrupta terra illa cui benedixit Dominus, ab omni propterea peccati contagione libera" In Ps. ci).
Saint-Bonaventure, "that our Sovereign Lady was Full-of Preventing Grace, for her Sanctification; that is, Preservative Grace against the Corruption-of Original Sin" - ("Domina nostra fuit plena gratia praeveniente in sua sanctificatione, gratis scilicet praeservativa contra foeditatem originalis culpae" De B. V. s. 2).
Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna 'Argues', that "it is not to be Believed that He, the Son-of-God, would be Born-of a Virgin, and Take her Flesh, were she in the slightest-degree 'Stained' with Original Sin" - ("Non est credendum, quod ipse Filius Dei voluerit nasci ex virgine, et sumere ejus carnem, quae esset maculate ex aliquot peccato originali" Quadr. s. 49, p. 1).
Saint-Laurence-Justinian 'Affirms', "that she was 'Prevented' in Blessings, from her very Conception" - ("Ab ipsa sui conceptione, in benedictionibus est praeventa" In Annunt.).
The Blessed-Raymond-Jordano, on the Words, Thou hast Found Grace, 'Says', "thou hast Found a Singular Grace, O Most Sweet Virgin, that of Preservation-from Original Sin" - ("'Invenisti gratiam;' invenisti, O dulcissima Virgo! gratiam coelestem; quia fuit in te ab originis labe praeservatio" Cont. de V. M. c. 6). And many other Doctors 'Speak' in the same Sense.
But, finally, there are Two (2) Arguments that conclusively 'Prove' the Truth of this Pious Belief.
The First (1st) of these is the Universal Concurrence of the Faithful. Father-Egidius, of the Presentation (De Imm. Conc. l. 3, q. 6, a. 3), 'Assures' us that All the Religious Orders follow this Opinion; and a Modern Author 'Tells' us that though there are Ninety-two Writers of the Order-of-Saint-Dominic, Against it, nevertheless, there are a Hundred and Thirty-Six in Favor-of it, even in that Religious Body. But that, which above-All should 'Persuade' us that our Pious Belief is in-accordance-with the General-Sentiment-of-Catholics, is that we are 'Assured' of it in the 'Celebrated' Bull-of-Alexander-VII, Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum, Published in 1661, in which he 'Says', "This Devotion and Homage towards the Mother-of-God, was again Increased and Propagated, . . . so that the Universities having Adopted this Ppinion" (that is, the Pious One) "already Nearly All Catholics have 'Embraced' it" - ("Aucta rursus et propagate fuit pietas haec et cultus erga Deiparam . . . . ita ut, accedentibus plerisque celebriorbus academiis ad hanc sententiam, jam fere omnes Catholici eam amplectantur"). And in fact, this Opinion is 'Defended' in the Universities of the Sorbonne, Alcala, Salamanca, Coimbra, Cologne, Mentz, Naples, and many Others, in which All who take their Degrees, are Obliged to Swear that they will Defend the Doctrine of Mary's Immaculate Conception. The Learned Petavius mainly 'Rests' his Proofs of the Truth of this Doctrine, on the Argument Taken-from the General Sentiment-of the Faithful (De Inc. l. 14, c. 2). An Argument, 'Writes' the most-Learned Bishop-Julius-Torni, which cannot do otherwise than 'Convince'; for, in fact, if nothing else does, the General Consent of the Faithful, 'Makes' us Certain-of the Sanctification of Mary in her Mother's Womb, and of her Assumption, in Body and Soul, into Heaven. Why, then, should not the same General Feeling and Belief, on the Part-of the Faithful, also 'Make' us certain-of her Immaculate Conception?
The Second (2nd) Reason, and which is Stronger than the First, that 'Convinces' us that Mary was Exempt-from Original Sin, is the Celebration of her Immaculate Conception, 'Commanded' by the Universal Church. And on this Subject, I see on the one hand, that the Church 'Celebrates' the First Moment, in which her Soul was Created and Infused-into her Body: for this was 'Declared-by' Alexander-VII, in the above-named Bull, in which he 'Says' that the Church 'Gives' the same Worship to Mary in her Conception, which is 'Given' to her by those who 'Hold' the Pious Belief,that she was 'Conceived' without Original Sin. On-the-other-hand, I 'Hold' it as Certain, that the Church cannot 'Celebrate' anything, which is not Holy, according-to the Doctrine-of the Holy-Pope-Saint-Leo (Ep. Decret. 4, c. 2), and that of the Sovereign-Pontiff-Saint-Eusebius: "In the Apostolic See, the Catholic Religion was always 'Preserved' Spotless" - ("In Sede Apostolica, extra maculam semper et Catholica servata religio" Decr. Causa 24, q. 1, c. 1, c. In sede). All Theologians, with Saint-Augustine (S. 310, 314, Ed. B), Saint-Bernard (Epist. 174), and Saint-Thomas, 'Agree' on this Point; and the latter, to Prove that Mary was Sanctified before her Birth, makes use of this very Argument: "The Church Celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin; but a Feast is Celebrated only for a Saint: therefore the Blessed Virgin was Sanctified in her Mother's Womb" - ("Ecclesia celebrat Nativitatem Beatae Virginis; non autem celebratur festum in Ecclesia, nisi pro aliquot Sancto: ergo Beata Virgo fuit in utero sanctificara" P. 3, q. 27, a. 1). But if it is certain, as the Angelic-Doctor 'Says', that Mary was Sanctified in her Mother's Womb, because it is only on that Supposition, that the Church can 'Celebrate' her Nativity, why are we not to Consider it as Equally Certain that Mary was 'Preserved' from Original Sin from the First (1st) Moment of her Conception, Knowing as we do, that it is in this Sense that the Church Herself, 'Celebrates' the Feast?
Finally, in Confirmation-of this Great Privilege of Mary, we may be 'Allowed' to Add the well-known Innumerable and Prodigious Graces, that Our Lord is Daily Pleased-to 'Dispense' throughout the Kingdom-of-Naples, by-means-of the Pictures of her Immaculate Conception.
(EDITOR- These Effects of the Divine Mercy have Shone-forth in a no less Wonderful-manner in France and Elsewhere, especially in 1832 and during the following Years, by-means-of the Miraculous Medal, of which every one has heard. Since the Time when Saint Alphonsus 'Wrote' this Discourse and the Dissertations that One may 'Read' on the same Subject in his other Works (Theol. Mor. L. 7, c. 2 Opera dogm. sess. 5), the Devotion to "Mary Conceived without Sin" Continued to Grow throughout the Catholic World, being 'Sustained' and 'Favored' more-and-more by the Holy See, and by the Signal Marks of her Heavenly Protection. Finally, 'Yielding' to
I am the Immaculate Conception
Mary's 'Affirmation' to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858,
of the above 1854 Article-of-Faith by Pope Pius IX.
I could Refer to many which 'Passed', so-to-say, through the Hands-of Fathers of our own Congregation; but I will 'Content' myself with Two (2), which are Truly Admirable.
A Woman came to a House of our Little Congregation in this Kingdom, to let One of the Fathers know that her Husband had not been to Confession, for many Years, and the Poor Creature could no-longer tell by-what-Means, to Bring him to his Duty; for if she 'Named' Confession to him, he 'Beat' her. The Father told her to Give him a Picture-of Mary Immaculate. In the Evening, the Woman once more 'Begged' her Husband to go to Confession; but he as-usual, 'Turned' a Deaf Ear to her Entreaties. She 'Gave' him the Picture. Behold! he had scarcely 'Received' it, when he said, "Well, when will you take me to Confession, for I am Willing to go?" The Wife, on 'Seeing' this Instantaneous Change, began to Weep-for-Joy. In the Morning, he Really 'Came' to our Church, and when the Father asked him how long it was since he had been to Confession, he 'Answered', "Twenty-eight Years". The Father again Asked him what had 'Induced' him to come that Morning. "Father", he said, "I was Obstinate; but Last Night my Wife 'Gave' me a Picture of our Blessed Lady, and in the same Moment, I felt my Heart 'Changed', so-much-so, that during the Whole Night every Moment seemed a Thousand Years, so Great was my Desire to-go-to Confession". He then Confessed his Sins with Great Contrition, 'Changed' his Life, and continued for a long-time to go Frequently to Confession, to the same Father.
In another place, in the Diocese-of-Salerno, in which we were giving a Mission, there was a Man who Bore a Great Hatred to another, who had 'Offended' him. One of our Fathers 'Spoke' to him, that he might be 'Reconciled'; but he 'Answered': "Father, did you ever see me at the Sermon? No, and for this very Reason, I do not go. I know that I am Damned; but nothing else will Satisfy me, I must have Revenge". The Father did all that he could to 'Convert' him; but Seeing that he Lost his Time, he said, "Here, take this Picture of our Blessed Lady". The Man at-first 'Replied', "But what is the use of this Picture?" But no sooner had he 'Taken' it, than, as if he had never 'Refused' to be 'Reconciled', he said to the Missionary, "Father, is anything else Required besides Reconciliation? I am Willing". The following Morning was 'Fixed' for it. When, however, the Time came, he had again 'Changed', and would do Nothing. The Father 'Offered' him another Picture, but he 'Refused' it; but at-Length, with Great Reluctance, 'Took' it, when, Behold! he Scarcely had Possession of it, than he Immediately said. "Now let us be Quick; where is Mastrodati?" and he was Instantly Reconciled with him, and then 'Went' to Confession.
Ah, my Immaculate Lady! I 'Rejoice' with thee on seeing thee, Enriched-with so Great Purity. I Thank, and, Resolve always to Thank, our Common Creator, for having Preserved thee from every Stain-of-Sin; and I Firmly 'Believe' this Doctrine, and am 'Prepared' and 'Swear', even to Lay-down my-Life, should this be Necessary, in Defense-of this, thy so Great and Singular Privilege of being 'Conceived' Immaculate. I would that the Whole World 'Knew' thee and 'Acknowledged' thee as being that Beautiful "Dawn", which was always Illumined with Divine Light; as that 'Chosen' Ark-of-Salvation, Free from the Common Shipwreck-of-Sin; that Perfect and Immaculate "Dove", which thy Divine Spouse 'Declared' thee to be; that "Enclosed Garden" which was the Delight-of-God; that "Sealed Fountain" whose Waters were never Troubled by an Enemy; and finally, as that "White Lily", which thou art, and who, though Born in the midst-of the Thorns of the Children-of-Adam, All of whom are Conceived in Sin, and the Enemies-of-God, wast alone 'Conceived' Pure and Spotless, and in all things the Beloved of thy Creator. Permit me, then, to Praise thee also as thy God Himself has Praised thee: "Thou art All Fair, and there is not a Spot in thee" - ("Tota pulchra es, Amica mea, et macula non est in te Canticles 4:7). "O Most Pure Dove, All Fair, All Beautiful, always the Friend-of-God. O how Beautiful art thou, my Beloved! How Beautiful art thou!" - ("Quam pulchra es, amica mea, quam pulchra es!"Ibid 1). Ah, most Sweet, most Amiable, Immaculate Mary, thou who art so Beautiful in the Eyes of thy Lord, ah, Disdain-not to Cast thy Compassionate Eyes on the Wounds of my Soul, Loathsome as they are. Behold me, Pity me, Heal me. O Beautiful-Loadstone-of-Hearts, 'Draw' also my Miserable-Heart to thyself. O thou, who from the First Moment of thy Life, didst 'Appear' Pure and Beautiful before God, Pity me, who not only was Born-in-Sin, but have again, since Baptism, Stained my Soul with Crimes. What Grace will God ever Refuse thee, Who 'Chose' thee for His Daughter, His Mother, and Spouse, and therefore 'Preserved' thee from every Stain, and in His Love 'Preferred' thee to all other Creatures? I will say, in the Words-of Saint-Philip-Neri, "Immaculate Virgin, thou hast to Save me". Grant that I may always Remember thee; and thou, do thou never Forget me. The Happy Day, when I shall go to Behold thy Beauty in-Paradise, seems a Thousand Years off; so much do I long to Praise and Love thee more than I can now do, my Mother, my Queen, my Beloved, most Beautiful, most Sweet, most Pure, Immaculate Mary.