The Immaculate Conception: How I learned that Mary is NOT a Catholic Idol
I did not want to be a Catholic. I mean I REALLY did not want to be a Catholic. Catholic’s don’t know their bible. They are not friendly. They don’t really know Jesus. They say they don’t worship Mary but I know they do those idolaters.
So why did I stay? Obedience. My call is to preach the gospel to His Church as so many no longer know him.
Why did I fall in love? Humility. Instead of sticking to my preconceived notions (written above), I sought to understand. I sought out church teaching and repeatedly found myself to be wrong. I surrendered my pride and accepted a faith far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
After my decision, I became a youth minister in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was responsible for teaching middle schoolers and high schoolers about Jesus, the sacraments, the Church, etc… Until the time of this story, it had been easy for me. I was excited about the teachings. I knew scripture and could give great talks on chastity, freedom and virtuous living.
This day, however, was different. My curriculum was requiring me to teach a lesson on the Immaculate Conception.
Ok. First, boring. Second, what is it really anyway? Third, Mary and I weren’t all that tight. We had honestly moved from frenemies due to lack of understanding to acquaintances. I honestly did not mix Mary with my Catholicism and it seemed to be working just fine. I thought that to love Mary would be to take away from Jesus and people who REALLY loved her… well, they creeped me out just a little bit.
I knew I needed to do a good lesson on the Immaculate Conception so I repeated the same mistake that made me love my faith in the first place. I sought to understand. I did a little bit of research in hopes to find ANYTHING that would make this lesson interesting.
What I found blew my mind.
Mallory = lose. Catholic Church = win every time. The Immaculate Conception is Awesome and so is Mary and so is Jesus.
This is what my research taught me.
The Immaculate Conception is the Catholic Doctrine that Mary was conceived without sin. That is Mary, not Jesus. Most of us don’t know that. On the surface, that seems to support the idea that we make way too big a deal about Mary, but if we dig a little bit deeper we will realize that this isn’t true. My research told me that although we believe Mary was conceived without original sin, it is not because Mary is perfect. It is because Jesus is God. His very presence in her womb purified her outside of time. The example is that that we all fell into the pit of original sin and Jesus by his sacrifice pulled us out. Because of their bond, Jesus by His sacrifice, never allowed His mother to fall in in the first place.
Lesson: Jesus is subject and Mary is the object. This day is about Jesus’ perfect grace bestowed upon His chosen mother. He loves her, so we should too. She is blessed, but only to bring us to the awesomeness of her son.
Jesus is so dang holy that His presence within Mary is a cause for celebration even thousands of years later. Our God is so cool!
Tomorrow is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and I invite you to truly celebrate it. Go to mass. Get a latte. The Church does not set feast days so that ultra-Catholic nerds can remind you to go to mass if it is a holy day of obligation. Feast days exist because life, love, and mystery deserve to be celebrated in a world that is too busy to celebrate much of anything.
I for one am in awe of the beauty, the vastness of our faith. I know only a little, but I want to know more. I hope you do too.
Happy Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception