IT WAS BECOMING THAT THE ETERNAL FATHER SHOULD PRESERVE MARY FROM ORIGINAL SIN.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters (Cant. ii. 2).
Great indeed was the injury entailed on Adam and on all his posterity by his accursed sin. But from this general misfortune God was pleased to exempt the Blessed Virgin, as the predestined Mother of His only begotten Son and the first-born of Grace. She was to crush the serpent’s head and to be the sinless Mediatress of peace between men and God. Hence the Eternal Father could well say of His beloved Daughter: As the lily among thorns, so is my beloved among the daughters, always immaculate and always beloved.
It was most becoming that God should preserve Mary from original sin for He destined her to crush the head of the infernal spirit which, by seducing our First Parents, brought death upon all men. This the Lord foretold: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head (Gen. iii. 15). But if Mary was that Valiant Woman brought into the world to conquer Lucifer, certainly it was not becoming that he should first conquer her and make her his slave. Reason would indeed demand that she should be preserved from all stain and even momentary subjection to her opponent. How then could God permit that she should first be the slave of the infernal serpent? Praised and ever blessed be God, Who, in His infinite goodness, pre-endowed Mary with such great grace that, remaining always free from guilt of sin, she was ever able to beat down and confound the serpent’s pride.
Besides this it was wholly becoming that the Eternal Father should create Mary, “the one and only daughter of life,” free from the stain of original sin and always possessed by His grace, destined as she was to be the repairer of a lost world, Mediatress of peace between men and God. “O Blessed Virgin,” says St. John Damascene, “thou wast born that thou mightest minister to the salvation of the whole world.” “Hail, reconciler of the whole world!” cries out St. Ephrem. “Hail, thou, who art appointed umpire between God and man!” cries St. Basil of Silucia.
Now it certainly would not be becoming to choose an enemy to treat of peace with the offended person, and still less an accomplice in the crime itself. St. Gregory says that, “an enemy cannot undertake to appease his judge who is at the same time the injured party; for if he did, instead of appeasing him, he would provoke him to greater wrath.” And, therefore, as Mary was to be the Mediatress of peace between men and God, it was of the utmost importance that she should not herself appear as a sinner and an enemy of God, but that she should appear in all things as a friend, and free from every stain. Hence it was becoming that God should preserve her from sin, that she might not appear guilty of the same fault as the men for whom she was to intercede.
Ah, my Immaculate Lady, I rejoice with thee on seeing thee enriched with so great purity. I thank our common Creator for having preserved thee from every stain of sin. Thou art all fair and there is not a spot in thee! (Cant. iv. 7). O most pure dove, all fair, all beautiful, always the friend of God! Ah, most sweet, most amiable, immaculate Mary, disdain not to cast thy compassionate eyes upon the wounds of my soul. Behold me, pity me, heal 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 now do, my Mother, my Queen, my beloved, most sweet, most pure, immaculate Mary! Amen.
But above all it was becoming that the Eternal Father should preserve this His daughter unspotted from Adam’s sin, because He predestined her to be the Mother of His only-begotten Son. As Jesus was the first-born of God, the first-born of every creature (Col. i. 15), so was Mary, the destined Mother of God, always considered by Him as His first-born by adoption, and therefore He always possessed her by His grace. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways (Prov. viii. 22). For the honour, therefore, of His Son, it was becoming that the Father should preserve the Mother from every stain of sin. When David was planning the Temple of Jerusalem, on a scale of magnificence worthy of God, he said: For a house is being prepared not for man but for God (1 Par. xxix. 1). How much more reasonable, then, is it not, to suppose that the Sovereign Architect, Who destined Mary to be the Mother of His own Son, adorned her soul with all the most precious gifts that she might be a dwelling worthy of a God!
We know that a man’s highest honour is to be born of noble parents. And the glory of children are their fathers (Prov. xvii. 6). How, then, can we suppose that God Who could cause His Son to be born of a noble Mother by preserving her from sin, would, on the contrary, permit Him to be born of one infected by it, and thus leave it always in Lucifer’s power to reproach Him with the shame of having a mother who had once been his slave and the enemy of God. No, certainly, the Eternal Father did not permit this; but He well provided for the honour of His Son by preserving His Mother always immaculate, that she might be a Mother worthy of such a Son. And the Holy Church herself assures us of this: “O Almighty and Eternal God Who by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin Mother Mary, that she might become a worthy habitation for Thy Son.”
Ah, my most beautiful Lady, I rejoice in seeing thee, by thy purity and thy beauty, so dear to God. I thank God for having preserved thee from every stain. 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? Immaculate Virgin, thou hast to save me. Amen