ADVENT: SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

The woman who would hold God in her womb was conceived without sin

 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’”

Luke 1:35

On this day of Advent we honor the woman chosen by God to carry His Son, Jesus – Mary, daughter of Joachim and Anna. We do so upon the special point that she was conceived free from original sin by the virtue of Christ for the purpose of Christ being born into the world.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee

All of his life, Chesterton was devoted to Mary for this reason – that she became, in the place of Eve, the mother of all who would be given ever lasting life through Christ. Chesterton’s devotion to Mary did not spring from either sentimentalism or piety but rather his admiration of her as one who lived fully human under God’s grace as the Theotokos, the Mother of God and of the Church. He intimates as much in the opening stanza of his poem The Nativity as he alludes to gold and straw and torn hair combining to produce glory:

The thatch on the roof was as golden,
Though dusty the straw was and old,
The wind had a peal as of trumpets,
Though blowing and barren and cold,
The mother’s hair was a glory
Though loosened and torn,
For under the eaves in the gloaming
A child was born.

from The Nativity by G.K. Chesterton

Chesterton was awed that God could put us all in touch with the possibility that fully human with grace and fully divine could meet through Mary.

“One would think that this [act] was even more corrupted with Mariolatry, unless the mother was counted less dangerous when deprived of a sort of weapon. But the practical difficulty is also a parable. You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a newborn child. You cannot suspend the new-born child in mid-air; indeed you cannot really have a statue of a newborn child at all. Similarly, you cannot suspend the idea of a newborn child in the void or think of him without thinking of his mother. You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother, you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all … we must admit, if only as we admit it in an old picture, that those holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross.” – G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, 1925

The halos do mingle and cross in the most miraculous of events happening apart from time – that of Mary being made ready from her conception to bear the Son of God.

And the mother still joys for the whispered
First stir of unspeakable things,
Still feels that high moment unfurling
Red glory of Gabriel’s wings.
Still the babe of an hour is a master
Whom angels adorn,
Emmanuel, prophet, anointed,
A child is born.

from The Nativity by G. K. Chesterton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.