Since we are in the month of December, the month we joyfully celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, and since I have not touched upon the Immaculate Conception so far this year in this series, I thought today was a good day to again explain the 12 Marvelous Privileges of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These twelve privileges come from the writings of St. John Eudes in his book titled, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God.
Because the Immaculate Conception was such an amazing favor bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin by God, there followed a plethora of magnificent privileges, here St. John Eudes focuses on twelve specifically –
1. The Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in a miraculous way through the virtue of a supernatural force. Many of the Doctors of the Church were of the same opinion. For the twenty years before the Immaculate Conception, St. Ann, who was married to St. Joachim, was believed to be barren.
2. Just as the ‘Adorable Body of Jesus’ was formed and organized perfectly with his soul, so too was the body of the Virgin formed and organized perfectly with her soul. Her soul, on the day she was immaculately conceived in the womb of St. Ann, was infused and sanctified by divine grace, which in turn animated her most holy body.
3. Not only was the Blessed Virgin conceived without sin, but she was also adorned with original justice and confirmed with divine grace from the very first moment of her life, in her mother’s womb, so in order to conceive and bear the Messiah. Such a privilege was never given before to any other creature – angelic or human.
4. According to St. Bernardine of Siena and Doctors of the Catholic Church, Mary was given the ability to reason from the moment of her conception. If St. John the Baptist was given reason when he leapt at the sound of Mary’s voice in St. Elizabeth’s womb (thoughts of St. Ambrose), it would also make sense that Mary received this same privilege. Her senses and bodily organs were fortified with this reason.
5. Not only was she gifted with natural reason, but she also was given the light of faith and an illumination to know the supernatural. She was united with the Creator perfectly as well as His creatures. She knew the good which should be done and the evil which should be avoided. The holy doctors believe that the illumination she possessed was the light of the Beatific Vision.
6. The Beatific Vision was given to her at the moment of her Immaculate Conception. Since it is the opinion of the holy doctors that Moses and St. Paul both received this illumination, it makes sense that Mary, in her Immaculate Conception, would also receive it. Furthermore, since Mary was full of grace, her love and holiness was deeper than Moses and St. Paul. It is the opinion of great theologians that God favored Mary more at her Conception than these men were favored at the last point of their lives.
7. Knowing that Mary would be the Mother of the Savior from this moment of her Immaculate Conception, God the Father flooded her soul with a spring of graces that was equal to her infinite dignity. Divine grace like this was never given to the highest angel or saint.
8. In the heart of Mary is found every human virtue, the theological virtues of God, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the eight beatitudes of the Gospel. Her heart completely encompassed these, which worked together with the Divine grace she received at her conception.
9. By giving of herself completely to God, through consecration, she was infused with His light and grace. Her mind, heart, will, and powers of the soul acted in one accord with another.
10. From the very moment of her miraculous conception, Mary adored, praised, glorified, and loved God with every fiber in her soul and body, through the grace bestowed upon her. She did all of this more perfectly than any other angel or saint for she was full of grace. Mary is loved by God and has been given favors no other creature had been nor ever will receive.
11. Because she was given incomparable favors no saint or angel had ever received, through the love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the grace that Mary’s soul and body was infused never swayed nor showed sovereignty to anyone but God himself.
12. The final privilege is expressed through the words of Mary herself given to St. Bridget – “Well may it be said that the hour of my Conception is the hour golden and precious because it is the commencement of the world’s salvation.” These words could be not be more truer, for it is Mary that gives us Jesus, for it is Mary that desires to bring us closer to Jesus and closer to our salvation. St. Bernard of Clairvaux says that Mary is “the storehouse of grace, the mediator of salvation, and the restorer of the ages.”
As we begin this week, let us give praise and thanksgiving to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for these magnificent favors bestowed on the most perfect creature of God – Our Most Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is by her Immaculate Conception that we receive Jesus. May all the Angels, Saints, and Church on Earth give praise to God eternal for giving us the Virgin of Virgins – Mary, Most Holy!
St. John Eudes. The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, Chapter 9. Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. 2000.