~Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI
December 8, 2008
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This contradiction between God's "is" and man's "is not" is lacking in the case of Mary, and consequently God's judgment about her is pure "Yes", just as she herself stands before him as a pure "Yes". This correspondence of God's "Yes" with Mary's being as "Yes" is the freedom from original sin. Preservation from original sin, therefore, signifies no exceptional proficiency, no exceptional achievement; on the contrary, it signifies that Mary reserves no area of being, life, or will for herself as a private possession: instead, precisely in the total dispossession of self, in giving herself to God, she comes to the true possession of self. Grace as dispossession becomes response as appropriation. Thus from another viewpoint the mystery of barren fruitfulness, the paradox of the barren mother, the mystery of virginity, becomes intelligible once more: dispossession as belonging, as the locus of new life. Thus the doctrine of the reflects ultimately faith's certitude that there really is a holy Church - as a person and in a person. In this sense it expresses the Church's certitude of salvation. Included therein is the knowledge that God's covenant in Israel did not fail but produced a shoot out of which emerged the blossom, the Savior. The doctrine of the Immaculata testifies accordingly that God's grace was powerful enough to awaken a response, that grace and feedom, grace and being oneslf, renunciation and fulfillment are only apparent contradictories; in reality one conditions the other and grants it its very existence.