Our Lady Of The Conception
Country : Belgium (Flanders)
Year : 1553
No more beautiful words can be applied to the Immaculate Conception of Mary than those of the Canticle of Canticles, used by the Holy Spirit: “Thou art all fair, O my Love and there is no spot in thee.” Thus Holy Mother Church reveals the unique privilege of her Queen. From the very beginning of revelation, belief is found in this mystery. The figure of one conceived without sin was placed by God Himself upon the first pages of the Bible. In God’s curse upon the human race for Adam’s sin, He tempered His words with the promise of a Redeemer, saying, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel”. From that moment on, God patiently awaited the birth, the coming of her who was to be His first-born, so to say.
As the “fullness of time” drew near, God created the immaculate soul of Mary. Many centuries before He had created the world with all its wonders, the myriads of stars, the souls of saints like Abraham and Moses, but never before had He created anything so beautiful as Mary. This creature was the masterpiece of His handiwork. Out of nothingness He drew the beautiful essence of Mary’s immaculate soul, which glowed with the white fire of God’s grace, against the dark background of the sin-stained world. The stream of original sin halted in its course; never before did any purely human being escape contamination; Mary is the sole exception – “our tainted nature’s solitary boast”. The all-loving God preserved her from every stain of sin; she was rendered immune from original sin.
Why did God grant such a wondrous grace to Mary? — “The Most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle…” Almighty God prepared the Blessed Virgin as a worthy habitation for the Word made Flesh. The divine Motherhood is the source, reason demanded a fitting abode. The sublime holiness of the Godhead demanded a special privilege of grace in the vessel chosen to bear the Son.
Christ chose this vessel into which He was to descend, and He consecrated it a vessel of purity.