Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Week II: St. Maximilian Kolbe: Reflection #2…

To grow in holiness - that is to grow in the purity of the soul and the body - we NEED Mary's intercession.

To grow in holiness – that is to grow in the purity of the soul and the body – we NEED Mary’s intercession.

Daily Prayer for Week II: Under Your Patronage (250 A.D.)

We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from danger, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

~~.~~

All his life, Fr Maximilian Kolbe pondered what it meant for Mary to be the Immaculate Conception as she revealed herself to St. Bernadette only a century earlier.  Again and again he prayed for some clarity on this.  It wasn’t until God’s timing came to fruition that Fr. Kolbe received his answer … just 4 hours before the Gestapo came and arrested him, taking him to where he would eventually return to God’s Glory in Auschwitz.

So here’s the skinny, it’s mighty profound, so no worries if you have to really ponder on this one…I certainly did; and still am I might add…

MorningGlory

The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception defines Mary’s conception and her being without the stain of original sin from the first moment in her mother’s womb.  But first let’s lay out some terms because – Word’s Matter:

What is your definition of : Immaculate
Now how about a definition of : Conception

So when something is Immaculate it’s “pure, clean, and undefiled”.  And when there is Conception there is “new life, a new existence, a new being”.  Which then means quite simply that:

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”  The Angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace.” In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace. ~CCC§490 (emphasis added)

She is not divine, she is merely IMMACULATE and was so from the very moment of her CONCEPTION and remains so for all eternity.  When the Dogma was defined, Pope Pius IX declared:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. (emphasis added)

Which is why the Church continues with:

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love.” ~CCC§492(emphasis added)

"God showed His LOVE for us in that why we were still sinners, Christ died for us." ~Romans 5:8

“God showed His LOVE for us in that why we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8

As we know, Jesus redeemed us ALL by the shedding of His blood on the Cross, and since God is not restrained by time, then none more so than His own mother, Mary. It was by Christ’s merits on the Cross that this privilege came to Mary as God formed her in her mother’s womb. Now, here comes the the “pondering truth”. 

Mary was “full of grace”, specifically God’s GRACE, and that is of course confirmed in Sacred Scripture (Lk 1:28).  But the question is, “How does one become full of GRACE from the first moment of their conception”?  To get THAT answer, we need to look at another Immaculate Conception.

Now, remember the terms: Immaculate = pure and undefiled; Conception = new life, new being. Who else was CONCEIVED and IMMACULATE from that first moment of their conception? … That’s right, Jesus – God-Man! And how did His coming into the Virgin’s womb occur? …

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the Power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God. ~Lk 1:35

The Holy Spirit was the major player in Jesus’ coming into His mother’s womb… do you suppose the same might be said about Mary’s conception?  After all, how can GRACE reside in a creature if He doesn’t take up residence from the very beginning?  So is it more than likely that Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit from the first moment of her being, and thus preserving her from the stain of original sin because in God – the Holy Spirit – there is no sin?

Come Holy Spirit...

Come Holy Spirit…

Which poses another question: Where did the Holy Spirit come from? Well, we profess in the Nicene Creed every Sunday at Mass:

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified…

The Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son“, and we know from last week that God IS LOVE (1Jn4:8b), AGAPE, and that AGAPE is life giving and cannot be contained. So AGAPE creates between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit becomes One and the Triune God IS.  The first immaculate conception???

Words Matter: Immaculate = pure, undefiled; Conception = new life, new being

But God is “begotten and not made”.  Correct! But as was revealed to Fr. Kolbe just hours before his arrest:

The Holy Spirit is the uncreated immaculate conception while Mary is the created immaculate conception. Both are a result of AGAPE, one divine (Holy Spirit) and one a creature (Mary).

Now, when I began to mull this over in my finite mind – this infinite truth – a line from a movie came forward which has helped me to put this into a workable understanding.  A pre-teen girl asked her step mom where her baby came from and after some persistence she received the following answer:

“When a man and a woman fall in-love and then marry, their love spills over and makes a baby.”

Pretty simple. Love “spills over” because it cannot be contained and it makes new life. (1) God’s LOVE (AGAPE) is so great between the Father and the Son that it spills-over and the Holy Spirit IS.  (2) The AGAPE for humanity is so great it spills-over to create a creature, someone pure and holy, without the stain of original sin, Mary, so that God could – in time – reside with us (Gen 3:15; Jn 1:11, 14).

Thus, (3) the AGAPE between God and His creature, Mary, was so great that it “spilled over” and we have the INCARNATION, the Word became flesh (Jn 1:14; Lk 1:35).  A perfect example of marital love, especially when one considers that it is God who established marriage in the first place (Gen 2:24). Another profound thought, notice it’s all in 3’s, perfect Trinity!

Let your heart ponder on this for as Fr. Gaitley rightfully states:

While Kolbe gives us the key to the mystery, he doesn’t fully unlock it. Rather, he invites us to ponder ever more deeply the relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit, a relationship that goes even deeper than that of marriage. ~Book 33 Days, p110, DAY 30

Reflection Question:

This is a great mystery that might not be fully understood but one that we can certainly ponder as we prepare for a closer union with our Creator. Mary was such a creature who pondered her Creator and prepared to receive Him most intimately in her womb. How might she help you prepare for a closer union and deepen your relationship through this consecration?

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