08 December 2021

Our Yes gives birth to Christ


Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP

St. Dominic Priory, NOLA

To be holy is to be in the world but not of it. To live and thrive among the worldly people, places, things, and ideas but to never be possessed by them. The BVM's IC is our model for holiness. Necessary Fitting for the Incarnation of the Word, Christ Jesus, the IC teaches us to better understand how a human person can be both merely human and fully human. What distinguishes the two is the capacity to sin. Without the capacity to sin, we can become fully human in the world, holy like the BVM. There is a temptation to think that this inability to sin is achieved by hard charitable work, perseverance in prayer, and moral purity. It is not. It's a gift. Freely given and freely received. As a developing zygote/fetus in Ann's womb, Mary did nothing to earn her own sinlessness. After her birth, the BVM remained sinless by grace. Here's where we merely humans differ from the fully human Mary: by baptism we are freed from the need to sin. We are freed in our own immaculate reconception. Once freed, once reconceived, we can begin our progress in holiness through hard charitable work, perseverance in prayer, and the pursuit of moral purity. All this work is necessary b/c we remain tempted to give ourselves to the world as a possession. As preachers of the Word, we rely entirely on His grace to live, to move, and to be in the world. We also depend entirely on Him to remain entirely His and His alone. Like the BVM, our Yes gives birth to Christ.

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