In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
Word was God
He existed “in the beginning,” a reference to
“The Word” was with God.
“The Word” was God
'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory.”
(see Luke 9:28-36).
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did
not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
The image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created…
In [Christ] all the fullness of deity dwells bodily.
[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and
the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe
by the word of his power
It is important to emphasize that from a Catholic perspective,
The Immaculate Conception is not simply about Mary.
This doctrine, which has its roots in early Christianity,
ultimately is about
The mystery of Jesus Christ.
God became man in Mary’s womb
Since Jesus truly is the all-holy God, the Second Person of the Trinity,
Catholics believe he is worthy
to dwell in a pure vessel, a holy temple.
Thus, it is fitting that God would
as an immaculate dwelling place,
full of grace
and not stained by sin, for the God-man.
The annunciation scene in Luke’s Gospel may at least point in this direction. The angel Gabriel greets Mary, “Hail, full of grace.” The Greek word in Luke’s Gospel for “full of grace” (Luke 1:28) is in a perfect passive
participle form, which would indicate that
Mary already has been filled with God’s saving grace,
even before Jesus was conceived in her womb.
As we will see, the Immaculate Conception
will serve as a basis for understanding
Even more, since the Bible presents Mary as the first Christian disciple, it is fitting that she would be the first to receive the blessings of following Christ. In the New Testament, Mary is presented as the first to hear God’s word and accept it at the annunciation (see Luke 1:38, 45).
She responds to God’s word promptly by going in haste to help Elizabeth.
She also describes herself as a servant of the Lord
(see Luke 1:38, 48).
Mary remains faithful to her son, following him
even to the cross
(see John 19:25–27),
where she experiences the fulfillment
of Simeon’s prophecy at the Presentation:
“A sword will pierce
through your own soul also”
She perseveres in faith throughout her life.
She gathers with the apostles for prayer even after her son’s ascension (see Acts 1:14). Thus, the New Testament presents a clear portrait of Mary as the first and preeminent disciple of Christ,
who hears the word of God and keeps it in her heart.
Since one of the blessings promised to all faithful disciples is victory over death, it is fitting that Mary, who is the first and model disciple of Christ, would be the first to receive this blessing. Catholics thus believe that the privilege of resurrection promised to all faithful Christians was given first to Mary and in a totally unique way.
While the rest of us hope to have our bodies raised to glory at the end of time, Mary experienced the resurrection and glorification of her body at the moment her earthly life ended. Thus, her assumption—which flows from her unique participation in Christ’s victory as the mother of the Savior and as the first and most faithful of Christ’s followers—anticipates to some degree our own share in the fullness of that victory if we persevere as followers of Christ.
the Assumption truly was an event of love,
in which Mary’s ardent longing to
be with her son was finally fulfilled.
In fact, many paintings of the Assumption portray
Mary rising in splendor on a cloud to heaven,
received by the angels with trumpets and celebration,
and reunited joyfully with her beloved son.
While artistic depictions of this triumphant event in Mary’s life are often celebrated, not as well-known are the many
pieces of art that portray her last moments on earth,
just before her assumption.
Yet such a depiction of the end of Mary’s life—her moment
between heaven and earth—can be found on one of the
main doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
There Mary is surprisingly portrayed as
as if she were definitively letting go of all the
trials and sufferings
of this life and allowing herself to fall asleep.
Indeed, she is letting go of life itself as she passes from this world to the next.
It is just at this moment of abandoning herself into the Father’s hands that the angels rush down to catch her and bring her up to heaven.
This depiction captures an aspect of Mary’s assumption
that offers us hope in the midst of our trials in this “valley of tears.”
This is the hope that God will carry us through our distress
and lift up our heavy hearts.
So take a moment right now and ask yourself, what burdens, troubles, and worries are weighing you down?
How can you entrust yourself more to God’s loving care?
With whatever we’re facing in life, may we,
fall into the Father’s arms, so that we may have a
more profound experience of his supporting us in
our present sufferings and raising us to himself.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, clearly states that
"God sent his Son, born of a woman”
And in his letter to the Romans, he says,
“his Son, born of David’s seed according to the flesh,
constituted Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness
that raised him from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord”
Had it been otherwise, his descent into Mary would have been superfluous. For why would he have descended within her, if he did not need to take something from her? Furthermore, if he had not taken anything from Mary, he would not have been accustomed to eating earthly food . . .
nor, after fasting forty days, like Moses and Elijah,
would he have felt hunger pangs
(cf. Mt 4:2),
and if his body had not felt the need
neither would his disciple John have
written of him:
“Jesus, tired from the journey, sat down”
Nor would David have foretold of him:
“They have added to the sorrow of my wounds”
Nor would (Jesus) have wept over Lazarus
(cf. Jn 11:35)
or sweated drops of blood
(cf. Lk 22:44) or said,
“My soul is exceedingly sad”
nor would blood and water have flowed from his pierced side (cf. Jn 19:34).
These are all signs that he took flesh from the earth,
recapitulating this flesh in himself to
save his own creation.
For this reason, Luke presents a genealogy that runs from
The Lord’s birth back to Adam, comprising seventy-two generations
(cf. Lk 3:23-38).
Thus he joins the end to the beginning
and shows (Jesus)
is the One who recapitulated in himself
all the scattered peoples since the time of Adam
and all the languages and human generations,
including Adam himself.
Hence, Paul called this same Adam
“the type of the one who was to come” (Rom 5:14),
because The Word, the Craftsman of all things,
had already formed, in Adam, the economy concerning The humanity
in which The Son of God would clothe himself.
At first, God made man (= physical),
so that he could be saved by the spiritual Man (cf. 1 Cor 15:46).
Since the Savior was preexistent, (his creature)
who needed salvation had to come into existence also,
so that The Savior would not Exist to no purpose.
In accordance with this design,
the Virgin Mary was found obedient when she said,
"Behold your handmaid, O Lord;
let it be done to me according to your word”
But Eve disobeyed, and she did so while still a virgin.
Even though Eve had Adam for a husband, she was still a virgin.
For “they were both naked” in paradise “and were unashamed” (Gen 2:25),
since they had been created a short time previously and had no idea about the generation of children; indeed, they first had to become adults,
and only then did they begin to multiply.
By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself
and for the whole human race.
In the same way Mary, though she also had a husband,
was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became
the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.
For this reason, the law calls a woman engaged to a man his wife,
even though she is still a virgin; this indicates
The parallel (recirculatio) between Mary and Eve.
Just as, once something has been bound,
it cannot be loosed except by undoing the knot in reverse order,
even so the first knots were untied by the (undoing of the)
second ones, and, inversely, these last free the first.
It works out that the first knot is untied by the second,
and the second causes the loosing of the first.
This is the reason why the Lord declared that
The first would be last and the last would be first (cf. Mt 19:30).
And the prophet affirms the same thing when he says,
“Sons shall be born to you in place of your fathers” (Ps 45:16).
The Lord, having become “the firstborn of the dead”
(cf. Col 1:18) and having received the ancient fathers in his bosom,
regenerated them into the life of God,
becoming himself the first of the living (cf. Col 1:18),
as Adam had become the first of the dying.
That is why Luke began his genealogy from the Lord
and then worked back to Adam:
to show that it was not the fathers who regenerated the Son,
the Son who regenerated them into the gospel of life.
And so the knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied
by Mary’s obedience.
What Eve bound through her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith.
Genesis 2 describes the creation of Adam and then indicates
that Eve was created sometime later.
Surely, God had a reason for not creating them at the same time.
Some have suggested that there is no clear rationale for God’s delay in creating Eve, but the text does imply a reason. Genesis 2:20 states,
"The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds
of the heavens and to every beast of the field.
But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.”
Each animal lived in community with other animals. In contrast,
Adam was alone. It seems that God wanted Adam to recognize that aloneness before God created a wife for him.
It was necessary for Adam to feel his need in order for
the fulfillment to be truly satisfying.
The answer to Adam’s aloneness was Eve.
She was called a “helper,” one who both supported and complemented
Adam and a person he could support as well.
God’s use of Adam’s rib to form Eve provided a unique connection point to highlight their dependence upon one another and
the fact that they were “one flesh”
If Adam and Eve had been created at the same time, this aspect of human community or companionship would not have been as conspicuous. The fact that God separated the times of Adam’s and Eve’s creation draws attention to their need for companionship. The man’s solitary existence was the only thing called “not good” in all of creation—a telling description by God Himself to accentuate our need for community
Interestingly, the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve does not show Adam as better than Eve or Eve as better than Adam. Instead, they are shown as interdependent, one with the other, as part of God’s “good” creation. Genesis 2 concludes with God’s plan for marriage: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman is a unity that reflects God’s original pattern in creation.
Rome declares that God’s Church is “built on Peter,” and that
“Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church.”
The context reveals that Peter acknowledged who
Jesus Himself was – the Christ (vs. 16).
Then Jesus said,
"And I also say to you that you are Peter,
and on this rock will I build My church”
Rome says Jesus meant that Peter was the Rock, yet
Christ did not say this.
He didn’t say, “You are Peter, and on you I will build my church.”
He said, “You are Peter, and on this rock …” Protestants believe
“this rock” is Jesus Christ Himself, not Peter.
The Bible says, “…that Rock was Christ.” 1 Cor. 10:4.
David said, “The Lord is my Rock.” Psalm 18:2.
"For no other foundation can anyone
lay than that which is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.
If anyone builds on this foundation …” 1 Cor. 3:11,12.
Thus the Word says we should build on Christ, not Peter.
Rome says Peter was the first Pope – that is, Number 1 among the apostles.
Yet Peter himself said he was only “a fellow elder.” 1 Peter 5:1.
The Bible indicates that Mary was the first apostle.
Peter would not let anyone bow down at his feet in reverence
Paul rebuked Peter (Gal. 2:11). James led the Jerusalem council, not Peter
If Peter was the first Pope, and God intended His church to believe this,
then why didn’t Paul mention Peter even one time in his
letter to the Church of Rome? Paul’s epistle to the Romans
never mentions his name.
This is highly significant. If we stick to the Word,
we do not find the supremacy of Peter.
Mary was the chosen vessel through
whom Christ was born.
The angel Gabriel said she was “highly favored,”
and “blessed among women.”
When Jesus grew up, He did honor his mother in the Gospels,
but He did not exalt Mary above other women.
In fact, Jesus even said,
“For whoever does the will of My Father
in heaven is
My brother and sister and mother.”
Thus anyone who does God’s will is
just like His mother.
Outside the Gospels, we discover that the name of Mary is hardly mentioned in the rest of the New Testament! Peter, who was supposedly the first Pope, didn’t say a word about Mary in his letters. And Paul, in his letter to the Romans, mentions the name of Mary only once (Romans 16:6), yet he was probably not speaking about the mother of Jesus.
There is absolutely no reference to Mary in any of his other epistles, which were practical letters written to the early churches. No Christian was taught in the New Testament to say a prayer to Mary.
Rome says that Mary now has a “saving office” that can bring
us “the gifts of eternal salvation,” and that she carries “the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 252. Yet not only are these titles not applied to Mary in the Bible, they are also contrary to the Word, which says, “There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim. 2:5.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed.” James 5:16
we should confess our faults to each other, and pray for each other.
David wrote, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Ps. 32:5
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Thus we should confess our sins to God who alone can forgive.
Eph. 5:12. If we sin against someone, we should make it right with them, but otherwise, we should not confess our sins to another sinner. If we do, we are planting the seeds of evil in another mind. Paul wrote, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Eph. 4:29
We should confess our sins to Jesus Christ! He can handle it,
and He will forgive us.
“the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
“But this Man, after he had offered
one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God”
“For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (vs. 14)
Christians can put their total faith in what Jesus has
already done two thousand years ago.