Today being the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I have to wonder what some think about the date of the feast. Many people including some reviewers of The Nativity Story mistake the Immaculate Conception as referring to Jesus’ conception and not Mary’s. So by their confusion they must think that either we believe that Mary experienced either the shortest pregnancy (17 days) or the longest (a year and 17 days.) The first is too reminiscent of some alien implanted baby movie and the second idea would probably bring chills to any women who had a child. Fortunately the gestation period for God-men is the same as for regular men.
Jeff, I was thinking of that misunderstanding of the feastday this morning at Mass. Even few Catholics get it. But then, I guess none of us has any idea of the full implications of this dogma. I mean, if I understand it correctly, besides refering to the way in which Our Lady was conceived, it also has something to do with what God will eventually do with each person who stays close to Him…which is way beyond me but I know that Gabriel’s last line is still true: Nothing’s impossible for God.
If you closely follow the Church calendar and/or read the Liturgy of the Hours, you will come upon important feast days on, repsectively, March 25 (Annunciation of the LORD) and September 8 (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary). So if you are good at math you can figure out what the Immaculate Conception is referring to a bit more clearly.
In all seriousness, even as a cradle Catholic who went to Catholic school growing up, it was a while before I knew that this feast day referred to the immaculate conception of Mary.
It’s just a matter of attention to detail. See St. Luke 1:39: after the Annunciation Mary set out “with haste” to see Elizabeth, who proceeds to call her “the mother of my Lord” (1:43). Then in 1:56, Mary stayed THREE MONTHS with Elizabeth.
It seems likely that Mary was there for the birth of John, and that’s how we got to know the canticle of Zachary, and all the other details.
After all, as one translation has it, she “kept all these things in memory” rather than on her hard drive, so that she would have faster access to the data.
Wow, time to upgrade the litany: Mary, Queen of all technology, pray for us!
While I was away from the church, Im ended up going to a “bible” church with my wife. Nice people, great donuts and well done music.
I heard the preacher speak on Christ’s Immaculate Conception and came back to the Catholic Church the next week.
I’m not saying that this was the sole (soul?) reason, but it did serve as a trigger.
The misunderstanding probably has to do with the Gospel of the day, which is the Annunciation. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that it’s the “full of grace” part that’s important.
The interesting thing about “Christ’s Immaculate Conception” is that if He is God Made Man, then His sinlessness is rather minor news. I mean, that is a rather small point compared to the gargantuan miracle/generosity of God “leaping from the comfort of Heaven” (thank you, dear B16) to come down to us.
On the other hand, since the effects of Original Sin has affected every single one of us (save Adam and Eve, who were created without sin) throughout all of history, that a creature like us should be conceived without sin is a very big deal.