Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
In the recent debates on the RH Bill, Congressman Edcel Lagman refused to look into the beginnings of life: “This House has no competence to tell when life begins,” he said. While scientists still debate on the question, the Church has a very simple answer: at conception. Life begins at conception. The mystery which we celebrate today tells us so: the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We believe that God infused an immaculate human soul into the fertilized ovum in the womb of St. Anne. (On account of the fact that the human soul is infused into the fertilized ovum, it is already a human person.) Mary has never been touched by sin in any way nor in any point in time. She has always been ‘full of grace’. The Lord has always been with her. The Holy Spirit has been dwelling in her soul since the first instance of her conception. (the mere fact that we speak of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Mary at the first instance of her conception already tells us of the existence of the human soul at the early point of her existence. For if it were not so, where would the Holy Spirit dwell in her?) The greatness of Mary has been hers even from the beginning of her life.
The book of Genesis speaks of a perpetual enmity between the serpent and the Woman, between his seed and her seed. The spiritual battle wages on until today and all of us are in it. We have to take sides, there is no neutral ground. Either you are on the side of the Woman or on the side of the serpent. Either you are her seed or the serpent’s own. In this battle between good and evil, God has entrusted his cause to the Woman who was conceived without sin. It is to her that God has given to crush the serpent under her feet. But why? Why did the Lord entrust this spiritual battle to the Woman? Why to a creature so small and humble? Why to someone who seems utterly powerless before the rebellious serpent? Why to the Immaculate Conception? Imagine, the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary at the most vulnerable and most defenseless point in her life. (The human being is most vulnerable and most defenseless at the moment of conception. Why is it so? Well, a morning after pill is enough to expel a fertilized ovum from the womb ) Why did God make this Immaculate Fertilized Ovum the general of His army? The answer is found in the epistle of St. Paul: “And he said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Our Lady’s humility is so much the reverse of the pride of the serpent. While he declared “I will not serve,” Our Lady said, “Be it done unto me according to your word.” While the serpent, in his arrogance, deemed himself equal to God, our Lady called herself “the handmaid of the Lord.” In the Immaculate Conception, the Lord reveals to us the sufficiency of his grace.
And so, while the enemies of God bask in their self-proclaimed glory, while the enemies of the Church gloat over their money (63 million dollars) and political power, we kneel before the Immaculate Conception and entrust to her our humble cause. All seems lost in our struggle against the culture of death but we continue to have confidence in the Immaculata. To her hands God entrusted the spiritual battle. To her feet God gave the power to crush the serpent’s head. “Who is she that comes forth like the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?” (Song 6:10)
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!