The Importance Of Mary

Immaculate Conception - Advent

Had there been no Mary, there would have been no Jesus. In God’s economy of salvation she was so important to Him and us. Our first parents sinned and had closed the gates of Heaven from us. The whole human race was banished from Paradise.

But God in His infinite love and mercy would not let this continue for ever. In the presence of our first parents and Satan, He pronounced these words which remain a marvellous ray of hope for each one of us, “I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman (Mary), between your seed and her seed and it will crush your head and you will lie in wait for its heal.”

And so it was just over 2000 years ago a Jewish couple called Joachim and Anne conceived a little girl whom they called Mary. She was conceived immaculate. From the very first moment of her existence she was sinless. It would not be fitting if Satan, even for the briefest moment, were to have had dominion over her for she was destined, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to conceive God’s Son whom she and her husband Joseph were to call Jesus, and who was to save us from our sins.

This is the solemnity we keep today, the Immaculate Conception. It is the tradition of the Church that Jesus became man to save us from our sins. But there is another school of thought, propounded by a much loved Franciscan, Blessed John Duns Scotus, which maintains that even if humanity had never sinned God’s Son would still have become man because it was always the will of God that He should be loved perfectly by one of His creatures. This came about when His Son offered to become Man so that He could be the Perfect Creature to love Him.

So according to the traditional approach, Christ is God’s response to the problem of sin. Some theologians concluded that had Adam and Ever not sinned, Jesus would not have come into this world, since A Redeemer would not have been necessary. This conclusion makes God's action a consequence of sin. Duns Scotus could not accept such reasoning. His theology insists on the total freedom of the Divine Will and love and, therefore, the Incarnation must be a completely free and intentional act of God’s love. He writes that Christ, the ‘highest good’ in Creation, could not exist on account of a ‘lesser good’, that is, sin.

Scotus explains that when God willed creation the primary goal He had in mind was the perfect union of God’s being with a created being, which was to be achieved in Jesus Christ who, therefore, has Primacy in the mind of the Creator. In fact, He is the reason for Creation. This means that Christ is not an afterthought of God, conceived to deal with sin, but the idea on which Creation itself depends.

In order for His Son to become the perfect Man, God needed a perfect human being as mother and that was Mary. He gave her the unique privilege of being conceived without the stain of original sin. This is the solemnity we keep today.