It is definately Mother’s week this week. Yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, then today we celebrate the feast of St Juan Diego of Guadalupe and then on the 12th – Friday- it’s the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have a special love for her, patron of unborn children and pregnant mums. I have her picture up my kitchen.
I told the children the story of her appearance to Juan Diego and how he wore the cape of cactus fibre. I told them of the roses on the hill and taking them to the bishop and how there were no roses when he got there but the beautiful image of Our Lady was on the cloak-and remains there to this day.
The Immaculate Conception.
This is one of those Church teachings that even in my dodgy days I never had a problem with. I struggled with the idea of Mary being Ever Virgin, but it stood to reason that if God had created His own Mother, she would have been free of Original Sin.
I know a lot of people-even Catholics-get muddled over the Immaculate Conception and think it was when Mary conceived Jesus. It is in fact when Mary herself was conceived and was protected by God-she later calls Him God my Saviour- from the loss of grace that is Original Sin.
Through God’s saving grace she remained sinless and was referred to as ‘Full of Grace’ by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation.
There are theological arguments out there as to whether Mary HAD to be free of sin to be able to conceive the Son of God or whether it was merely fitting that she was.
There are those who say Jesus lived and worked among sinners all His life and therefore God could have chosen a woman with sin as His mother. However others say there is only perfection in heaven and so Christ HAD to be conceived in a sin free woman.
The Ark of the Covenant was lined with purest gold before the Law (Word of God) and manna(Bread of Life) were allowed inside it.
The expensive items-the purity of the Ark materials would indicate that God expected that of the place He would dwell within.
The History of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is pretty straight forward. I’ve explained it to the children in the light of God wanting the very best for His mother; that He set up the typology with the Ark and that Our Blessed Mother has a specific role in salvation history. Her assumption body and soul into heaven is a direct result of her having no sin. Adam and Eve were never meant to die and lie in the ground.
Then St John tells us what the Ark of the Covenant looks like in heaven (Rev 12) and he describes the Woman Clothed with the Sun. It has been noted that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is of a pregnant woman clothed with the sun.