Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
Catholic Exchange ^ | January 2, 2009 | Cheryl Dickow

Posted on 01/02/2009 8:02:09 AM PST by NYer

From the time of Abraham’s response to God’s call to leave the country of his kinsmen, God began the process of preparing the way for the Messiah.  Abraham, after all, introduced to his pagan neighbors the objective truth of the one God; Creator of all that is, was and ever shall be.  He was being set aside for this intention.  Along with his wife, Sarah, Abraham is credited throughout Jewish teaching for converting pagan neighbors to the monotheistic faith of Judaism.  Abraham, being set aside for that purpose, was able to remain a vessel for God’s plan. 

Not only was Abraham a vessel for God; but Abraham acted as an intercessor as well.  Consider his dialogue with God, in which God is prepared to pour out His wrath and punishment upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham beseeches God to withhold punishment if Abraham is able to find but a small handful of citizens who have not succumbed to the moral decay of their neighbors.  God enters into this dialogue because of Abraham’s faithfulness and the faith in which Abraham has lived his own life, following God. 

The evolution of God’s plan, which began in earnest with Abraham’s visible commitment to monotheism, continued throughout salvation history.  People, and even items, were often set aside, to be used in this plan for man’s deliverance.  Qadosh is the Hebrew word that means set aside, or separated, for a purpose.  Throughout the Old Testament, people and things had often been set aside for specific purposes. When God called upon Israel to be a people like no other and to be a kingdom of priests, those priests were “set aside” for specific duties.  Utensils, vessels, and garb that were meant for service at the altar of the temple were “set apart” and would not to be implemented elsewhere, lest they would be defiled.  So this “setting aside” was a common understanding of the Jewish people. Abraham was “set aside” when he was asked to leave his homeland and the evolution of being set aside was underway.

When Mary is called the “Immaculate Conception” she is simply reflecting two thousand years of Jewish practice in which something meant for God’s use, for His salvific plan, is set aside.  It is not a new teaching but, rather, rests upon Jewish laws that are thousands of years old.  Objects used in worship were set aside from ordinary use.  Persons were set aside from their ordinary occupations to be devoted to the Lord’s service.  And finally Mary was set aside from the ordinary effects of original sin in order for her human body to be the vessel for Christ: thus the “Immaculate Conception.”  Additionally, just as these things — whether people or items — acted as intercessors between God and His people, so, too does Mary act as intercessor as well.  This is the culmination of thousands of years of preparation for the Messiah that began with Abraham’s being called from his homeland. 

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Judaism
KEYWORDS: catholic; jewish

1 posted on 01/02/2009 8:02:09 AM PST by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. ... Luke 1:28
2 posted on 01/02/2009 8:04:29 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

bookmark for later

3 posted on 01/02/2009 8:07:36 AM PST by incredulous joe ("No road is long with good company. " - Turkish Proverb)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus...

4 posted on 01/02/2009 8:08:04 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand
My soul doth magnify the LORD,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
Lo, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me,
And holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
He hath put down the mighty from their seat
And hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his great mercy hath holpen his servant Israel,
As he promised to our forefathers:
Abraham and his seed, forever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
And to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end, AMEN.

Orlando Gibbons, Magnificat

5 posted on 01/02/2009 1:46:35 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: AnAmericanMother


6 posted on 01/02/2009 1:47:29 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand
This was next on the playlist on YouTube, one of the most haunting Christmas carols I have heard:

Bethlehem Down, Peter Warlock (pseud. Philip Heseltine)

"When he is King we will give him the Kings’ gifts,
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown,
Beautiful robes,” said the young girl to Joseph,
Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down.

Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight —
Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold,
Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

When he is King they will clothe him in grave-sheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.

Here he has peace and a short while for dreaming,
Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold,
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold

7 posted on 01/02/2009 1:55:32 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]

I know this is an ecumenical thread but allow me one hearty "LOL." Thank you.

8 posted on 01/02/2009 3:04:28 PM PST by Invincibly Ignorant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Invincibly Ignorant

While you are laughing — weren’t Mary and Joseph of Jewish descent?

Prophecies from the Old Testament talk about Christ coming from the line of David.

9 posted on 01/02/2009 5:35:14 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: NYer; Judith Anne; rkjohn; PadreL; Morpheus2009; saveliberty; fabrizio; Civitas2010; ...

The feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation, will be observed Wednesday, Dec. 8.

It is one of the oldest Marian feasts, dating back to the seventh century. In 1846, Mary was proclaimed patroness of the United States under this title. By her faith, obedience and holiness, she teaches what it means to be a bearer of Christ to the world.

10 posted on 12/05/2010 5:10:10 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Our pastor, in today's homily, mentioned the traditional teaching that St. John the Baptist was born (but not conceived) without sin. I had never heard of this, and as he explained, he had not either until just recently. But the concept is clearly developed in the old Catholic Encyclopedia entry regarding John the Baptist:

The birth of the Precursor was announced in a most striking manner. Zachary and Elizabeth, as we learn from St. Luke, "were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame; and they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren" (1:6-7). Long they had prayed that their union might be blessed with offspring; but, now that "they were both advanced in years", the reproach of barrenness bore heavily upon them. "And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, according to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and they wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: and thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people" (1:8-17). As Zachary was slow in believing this startling prediction, the angel, making himself known to him, announced that, in punishment of his incredulity, he should be stricken with dumbness until the promise was fulfilled. "And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months" (1:23-24).

Now during the sixth month, the Annunciation had taken place, and, as Mary had heard from the angel the fact of her cousin's conceiving, she went "with haste" to congratulate her. "And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant" — filled, like the mother, with the Holy Ghost — "leaped for joy in her womb", as if to acknowledge the presence of his Lord. Then was accomplished the prophetic utterance of the angel that the child should "be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb". Now as the presence of any sin whatever is incompatible with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul, it follows that at this moment John was cleansed from the stain of original sin. When "Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come. . .she brought forth a son" (1:57); and "on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father's name Zachary. And his mother answering, said: Not so, but he shall be called John. And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made sign to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered" (1:59-63). They were not aware that no better name could be applied (John, Hebrew; Jehohanan, i.e. "Jahweh hath mercy") to him who, as his father prophesied, was to "go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto remission of their sins: through the bowels of the mercy of our God" (1:76-78). Moreover, all these events, to wit, a child born to an aged couple, Zachary's sudden dumbness, his equally sudden recovery of speech, his astounding utterance, might justly strike with wonderment the assembled neighbours; these could hardly help asking: "What an one, think ye, shall this child be?" (1:66).

11 posted on 12/05/2010 5:33:31 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM (Liberalism is infecund.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Fascinating, thank you!

12 posted on 12/05/2010 5:40:42 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: narses
The Gospel reading at the TLM today, Matthew 11: 2-10, prompted our pastor's remarks.


John the Baptist . . . Born Without Original Sin?

A reader writes:

Hello Jimmy

I heard this for the first time last night and do not know the answer.

I was told that the Catholic Church teaches that John the Baptist was Born without original sin, is this the teaching of the church if so can you please explain why.

This is not something that the Catholic Church teaches, but it is what may be called a pious and probable belief among Catholics.

The reason is that in Luke 1:13-15, when an angel prophecies the birth of John the Baptist, he says:

Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth;
for he will be great before the Lord,and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.

It is commonly understood that the Holy Spirit does not fill those who are still in a state of original sin. As Catholics use the term, "original sin" refers to the privation of the sanctifying grace which unites us with God. A soul filled with the Holy Spirit seems unquestionably to be united with God and thus not deprived of sanctifying grace. Hence, it has not original sin as the term is commonly used among Catholics, just as every person who has been baptized or otherwise justified has not original sin as Catholics use the term.

(N.B., Protestants have a different and more expansive definition of the term "original sin," which includes the corrupt nature we inherit from Adam and which remains with us after we are justified. Consequently, it would sound very improbable to them that any person in this life does not have original sin, but this is because of the way the term is used in their circles, not because of a substantive theological difference.)

(N.B.B., If it is granted that John the Baptist was freed from original sin before birth, it does not follow that he was immaculate, as was the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is firstly because he may have been freed of original sin after his conception and before birth, whereas Mary was preserved from her conception from contracting original sin. And it secondly is because Mary was not only free of original sin, as is posited in the case of John the Baptist, but also utterly free of the stain of original sin, which includes more than just the deprivation of sanctifying grace. It also includes, for example, the later tendency to sin--concupiscience--to which we are subject in this life.)

13 posted on 12/05/2010 5:49:59 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM (Liberalism is infecund.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Brian Kopp; narses
I have never heard of this either. The Maronite liturgical calendar for Advent is different from that of the Latin Church. We are in the Season of Announcements which began 4 weeks ago with the "Announcement to Zechariah" from St. Luke's account. Each Sunday follows this sequence of events leading up to the birth of our Lord, with the "Announcement to Mary" followed by the "Visitation to Elizabeth". Yesterday, in the Maronite Church, we celebrated the "Birth of John the Baptizer". When I see the priest tomorrow night, I will ask him about the traditional teaching that John was born without sin.
14 posted on 12/06/2010 3:28:30 AM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]


15 posted on 06/23/2011 8:06:31 PM PDT by Coleus (Adult Stem Cells Work, there is NO Need to Harvest Babies for Their Body Parts!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson