08 December 2009

Happy Feast Day, America

On the Immaculate Conception:

The two dogmatic propositions entailed by the quality of Mary’s Yes, namely her virginity and her freedom from the original sin common to all men, are wholly a function of Christology. The latter affirmation, namely, that she “was conceived immaculate”, says nothing but what is indispensable for the boundlessness of her Yes. For anyone affected in some way by original sin would be incapable of such a guileless openness to every disposition of God. Her virginity, on the other hand, guarantees a christological fact: Jesus acknowledges only one Father, the one in heaven, as his own. This becomes evident in the response he gives as a twelve-year-old child in the Temple. No man can have two fathers, as Tertullian pithily and accurately says; therefore, the mother has to be a virgin. The point of this christologically motivated virginity lies, not in an antisexual, merely bodily integrity, as if it were an end in itself, but in Mary’s motherhood; in order to be the messianic Son of God, who can have no other Father than God, she must be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and she must say to that overshadowing a Yes that includes her whole person, both body and soul.

Hans Urs von Balthasar
Mary: The Church at the Source

(Image copyright Matthew Alderman, 2008)

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