Because Mary never sinned, and because she was preserved from the first moment of her conception from the sin of Adam and Eve (in the Immaculate Conception), it is fitting that Mary would not have experienced death. St Alphonsus Ligouri says that, because death is the “punishment for sin,” it would seem that Mary was thus exempt from dying. “But,” he writes, “God was pleased that Mary should in all things resemble Jesus; and as the Son died, it was becoming that the Mother should also die.” (Glories of Mary, Discourse VII). However, the sinless Virgin Mary was preserved from the decay of death. She was taken into heaven in the Mystery of the Assumption.
In the celebrations following Christmas the Church continues to contemplate the mysteries of the Incarnate Christ. In a beautiful and profound way these include the extraordinary work of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It may be asked whether Mary’s role was necessary for our salvation. In the absolute, the answer is no. God could have accomplished our redemption in countless ways.
When we were kids, and we were going out to friends or dinner, my Mother would say, “Be good!” When we were older and going out on our own, she would say, “Remember who you are,” we knew that that meant we should be “good,” respectful , and not bring embarrassment on the family name.
Any Lenten resolution should include a determination to deepen our love for the Sacrament of Penance, Confession, or Reconciliation. This is a Sacrament, instituted by Jesus Christ, to be used frequently in our life. It is the normal means for the forgiveness of our sins. The Church requires that we come to confess our mortal sins – according to the kind or species of sin and the number of the times we have fallen. Frequent reception of Confession is also an important means for growing in holiness. It imparts a sacramental grace that can assist us to grow in the virtues.
Many years ago as a student I had occasion to travel in Europe during the summer.
Without much money, I rented a room from a family in a poor part of town. It was terribly hot. With no air conditioning or fan, I opened the window and hoped I would fall asleep.
Maybe 1:00 a.m., dozing in the still and humid night, I became aware of a noise out my window and would discover that it was coming from an adjoining alley behind the house. A scratching noise; long silence – perhaps a full two or three minutes; scratching again.