Immaculate Conception


Now Gabriel means “strength of God.” Rightly he shone forth with such a name, since by his testimony he bore witness to the coming birth of God in the flesh. The prophet said this in the psalm, “The Lord strong and powerful, the Lord powerful in battle”—that battle, undoubtedly, in which he [Christ] came to fight “the powers of the air” and to snatch the world from their tyranny.1

Truly full of grace was she to whom it was granted to give birth to Jesus Christ, the very one through whom grace and truth came. And so the Lord was truly with her whom he first raised up from earthly to heavenly desires, in an unheard of love of chastity, and afterwards sanctified, by means of his human nature, with all the fullness of his divinity. Truly blessed among women was she who without precedent in the womanly state rejoiced in having the honor of parenthood along with the beauty of virginity, inasmuch as it was fitting that a virgin mother bring forth God the Son.2


We have learned the lineage of the Truth. We have learned its counsel. Let us learn its mystery. Fittingly is she espoused, but virgin, because she prefigures the church which is undefiled yet wed. A virgin conceived us of the Spirit, a Virgin brings us forth without travail.3


The angel greeted Mary with a new address, which I could not find anywhere else in Scripture. I ought to explain this expression briefly. The angel says, “Hail, full of grace.” … I do not remember having read this word elsewhere in Scripture. An expression of this kind, “Hail, full of grace,” is not addressed to a male. This greeting was reserved for Mary alone.4


Through the curse she incurred, Eve brought pains upon the wombs of women in childbirth. Now, in this very matter of motherhood, Mary, through the blessing she received, rejoices, is honored, is exalted. Now too womankind has become truly the mother of those who live through grace, just as previously by nature are subject to death.…
She soon realized that she was receiving within herself the heavenly judge, there in that same place where with lingering gaze she had just seen the harbinger from heaven. It was by a soothing motion and holy affection that God transformed the virgin into a mother for himself and made his handmaid into a parent. Nevertheless her bosom was disturbed, her mind recoiled, and her whole state became one of trembling when God, whom the whole of creation does not contain, placed his whole Self inside her bosom and made himself a man.5


The first cause of human perdition occurred when a serpent was sent by the devil to a woman who was to be deceived by the spirit of pride. Moreover, the devil himself came in the serpent, who, once he had deceived our first parents, stripped humankind of the glory of immortality. Because death made its entrance through a woman, it was fitting that life return through a woman. The one, seduced by the devil through the serpent, brought a man the taste of death. The other, instructed by God through the angel, produced for the world the Author of salvation.6


Nevertheless she did not deny the faith, she did not refuse the duty, but she conformed her will, she promised obedience. For truly when she said, “How shall this be?” she did not doubt concerning the outcome but sought the nature of this same outcome.7


  1. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 1.3.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 13). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 1.3.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 13). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 2.6-7.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 6.7.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. SERMON 140.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (pp. 14–15). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 1.3.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 15). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 2.14.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (pp. 17–18). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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