A Day In The Life. Mother Mary comes to me

mary's heart coMANILA - Today, 08 December 2011, is Immaculate Conception Day; this is the day we Roman Catholics celebrate what we believe to be the day Mary the mother of Jesus was conceived without sin. Doesn’t that explain why Jesus was born without sin?

Why do Catholics adore Mary so much you could say they pay her more attention than Jesus the Christ?

Because Mary is the most ideal of mothers. "Mexican women and all the poor can claim Mary as symbol of motherhood because they have the existential human faith experience that 'mother is and always will be there'" (Carol Frances Jegen, books.google.com). Didn't you know that the Philippines is a matriarchal society?

I have read somewhere that Mary is the Bride of Christ. I am not comfortable with that; there's a mixed metaphor somewhere if only you can find it. I haven't heard of any Filipino talk about Mary like that, and I myself prefer to call Mary simply the mother of Jesus. But in fact, motherhood is not simple. Especially this one where the son is going to be crucified.

Immaculate means free from stain or blemish; pure (American Heritage Dictionary); If Mary were not conceived immaculately, free from original sin, then Jesus her son would not have been free from original sin and could not have redeemed us from sin because he was with sin.

This is all Catholic dogma, of course; you believe or you don't believe. The Catholic Encyclopedia says there is "no direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma that can be brought forward from Scripture" (newadvent.org). I'm okay with that. That's why it's a matter of faith.

One way of looking at it is this: "Hail Mary full of grace." I do not need proof that she was. I take that to mean the angel knew of her Immaculate Conception even if Mary herself didn't. She gave birth to Jesus and laid her in swaddling clothes in a manger; you need grace to be able to do that. To flee from the king's assassins, you need grace to be able to escape. She was witness to the crucifixion and her son died in her arms; you need grace to be able to survive that.

The first mother, Eve, had it - by the grace of God she was created; she was feminine all right but fell into temptation and out of grace. Being simply a wife and not yet a mother has its own temptations.

In 1646, King John IV of Portugal proclaimed Mary (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) as the country's patron saint, and so 08 December is a very special day among the Portuguese (Wikipedia).

Even so, wouldn't it be simpler if Mother Mary is simply considered the greatest and holiest of the saints - but not sinless? In truth, American Catholic says (americancatholic.org):

While many Fathers and Doctors of the Church considered Mary the greatest and holiest of the saints, they often had difficulty in seeing Mary as sinless - either at her conception or throughout her life. This is one of the Church teachings that arose more from the piety of the faithful than from the insights of brilliant theologians. Even such champions of Mary as Bernard and Thomas Aquinas could not see theological justification for this teaching.

The problem with exalting Mary so much as to be without sin right from the beginning is that she didn't need grace to lay her son in a manger; she already was full of grace. She didn't need grace to flee from the would-assassins of her son; she already was full of grace. She didn't need grace to grieve the death of her son; she already was full of grace. She could not have suffered so much because she already was full of grace. Therefore, Mary without sin as the Mother of Jesus cannot be made the symbol of motherhood - her life was nowhere near what our mothers have in any Christian country in the world.

With that view, I can look at the story of the temptation of Eve as the temptation of every wife, where even in a God-overfull place, one can be tempted. Then I can look at Mother Mary again as the symbol of motherhood, femininity, family and loyalty - no matter what happens. That would be what I would expect of every mother.

In this Age of Information Technology, what is the role of the mother? To be a mother, like Mary as much as possible. Technology doesn't change anything, except your perspective.

Pray, what would be the role of the father? I'm almost beyond redemption at 71, now a grandfather of 11, but it's never too late to start something good.

Me, I celebrate Immaculate Conception Day with my purchase of a brand new Lenovo G470 IdeaPad with an Intel Pentium B940 Dual Core processor running on 2 GB RAM, hard drive 500 GB SATA running at 5400 RPM, keyboard full size, Read-Write DVD drive. I have Windows 7 Professional installed, and Microsoft Office 2010 legit, so everything considered, it's fast, very fast. Not satisfied with the speed, I have reset the Total Paging File Size in MB to 4,567 Initial Size and 12,345 MB Maximum Size, so now I can see that my Lenovo G470 is at least 4 times faster than factory set. It pays to know about how you can manage Virtual Memory.

Did I buy my new Lenovo laptop to celebrate Mother Mary's special day? No, but since I noticed that the 2 events happened on this same day, I had the idea that I would dedicate the rest of my life to the cause that she symbolized: family. Family, especially now that my extended family is bothered by misunderstandings and misgivings.

Paul McCartney sings:

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

You gotta have heart! Corazon. Mary was all heart. If there is a heart to a society, it's the family. If you talk of core values, the final measure must be the family. You can disembowel the family, or you can try to keep it whole. You need grace. You need God as much as you need community. And what is community? It's a family!

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