December 8, 2020

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The man called his wife Eve because she became the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:20)

Today we celebrate a crucial event in God’s plan to redeem his fallen creation: the conception of the woman who will bear the Messiah. This renders the eternal design of the Creator very real and immediate. Grace fills the life of Mary from the first moment of her existence; her Son’s paschal mystery will destroy sin and death and bestow eternal life on all who believe in him.

The story of Mary’s conception is set against the backdrop of another woman, Adam’s wife and companion, Eve, who is complicit with him in an act of prideful disobedience against the God who fashioned them in the divine image and gave them a beautiful garden in which to dwell. The name Eve is derived from the Latin Eva, in turn from the Hebrew Chava, “to breathe,” “to live,” or “to give life.” Genesis states that Eve “became the mother of all the living.”

The sin of Adam and Eve altered the life and fate of humanity through the ages; that is, until the coming of Christ. By his suffering, death, and resurrection, the Lord reverses the effects of original sin, restoring humanity to its primordial innocence.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception affirms a profound truth about Mary. Inasmuch as Eve was the “mother of all the living” in their fallen state, is not the Mother of the Lord the “mother of all the living” in their redeemed state, washed by the blood of the Lamb and anointed with the Spirit?

Mary is the “New Eve” proclaimed by the Church since ancient times. The second-century bishop Irenaeus of Lyons summarizes it in these words: “What Eve bound with unbelief the virgin Mary set free with faith.”

Let us pray:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Anthony Schueller, SSS

Father Anthony Schueller was the Provincial Superior of the Province of Saint Ann of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the editor of Emmanuel.