DAY 11

The Immaculata Always Does
God's Will, Perfectly

Yesterday, we learned about the intimate union between the Holy Spirit and Mary, the uncreated and created Immaculate Conceptions. Now we may be thinking, "That's nice, but what follows from it?" Here's what follows: Mary does the will of God perfectly - and this is a big deal. Let's take a step back and put this into context by looking at the big picture of reality.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, all of creation makes one big, circular movement from God and back to God, referred to by theologians as "The Great Circle of Being". Aquinas writes:

Issuing from the Primary Principle, creatures accomplish a sort of circuit, a gyratory movement, such that all things when they tend to their proper end are returning to the Principle whence they came forth.... We were created by the Son and by the Holy Spirit; and hence it is by them that we are brought back to our end.37

Now, St. Maximilian Kolbe, being the good theologian that he was, describes this big picture structure of reality in a similar way. He begins by pointing to our own experience of the world:

Everywhere in this world we notice action ... departure and return; going away and coming back; separation and reunion. The separation always looks forward to union, which is creative. All this is simply an image of the Blessed Trinity in the activity of creatures.38

What Kolbe describes here really is true. It's the structure of the cosmos. Everything has come forth from God and is going back to God, more or less perfectly. This movement is sometimes called the great "Exit and Return". Although Kolbe uses the term "separation" instead of "exit," he's got the same idea:

First, God creates the universe; that is something like a separation. Creatures, by following the natural law implanted in them by God, reach their perfection, become like him, and go back to him. Intelligent creatures [human beings] love him in a conscious manner; through this love they unite themselves more and more closely with him, and so find their way back to him.39

Among all creatures in the universe, Kolbe believes that the Immaculata deserves special mention:

The creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God himself, was the Immaculata, who never contracted the slightest stain of sin, who never departed in the least from God's will. United to the Holy Spirit as her spouse, she is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature.40

Let's reflect for a moment on this vision of reality: First, everything is going forth from God. Think of all creation. God speaks, and it goes forth from him. Then, plants and animals return to God by fulfilling their natures, by being what they were created to be. They do this without thinking or deliberating and with a sort of ease. It happens by a kind of instinctual autopilot. Human beings, on the other hand, are different. While there are times when we act by instinct, we also act in a way different from the animals. We act by reason and will, and we're conscious as we do so, present to ourselves as we act. This is what it means to be made in the image of God: We can know God and love him. And whereas the animals do God's will by instinct, we can do his will freely and consciously.

The problem is, we abuse the freedom God gave us. We don't always choose his will, and so we don't return to him as we should. We sin. And if we sin gravely and don't fully repent, then we don't make it back to God. This is a great tragedy of human life. But thanks be to God! For he sent his only Son and the power of his Spirit to save us, to bring us back home to our Father in heaven. And thank God that after the fall of the human race, he made a creature who was conceived without sin and who is freely and perfectly conformed to his will, for she is perfectly united with the Holy Spirit. She helps us poor sinners along the way. She helps us to overcome the tragedy of sin. She leads us to do God's will, return to God, and become saints. We'll hear more about this tomorrow.

Today's Prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Renew the face of the earth, so that all creation may return to God.

33 DAYS TO MORNING GLORY: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration. Copyright © 2019 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. All rights reserved. In particular, no reproduction for profit is allowed.
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