Thursday, November 05, 2009

Immaculate Conception: Western Witnesses

Still to come: explanation of seemingly Maculist passages.

2nd Century

3rd Century

4th Century
Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) [On Psalm 118 in PL 15:1521B]: St. Mary is "a virgin freed by grace from every stain of sin." Latin: "Virgo per gratiam ab omni integra labe peccati."

Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Strido (Doctor) (Lambruschini 71-72) [Commentary on Psalm 77 in PL 26:1049BC]:
"Behold the Lord cometh into Egypt in a light cloud." The light cloud we must understand, either as properly signifying the body of the Savior, as being light and burdened with no sin: or we may certainly take the light cloud as signifying Holy Mary … Behold the Lord cometh into the Egypt of this world on a light cloud, which is the Virgin. "And He conducted them with a cloud by day." He said beautifully "by day," for that cloud was never in darkness, but always in light.
"Ecce Dominus venit Ægyptum in nebulâ levi." Nubem levem, aut propriè Salvatoris corpus debemus accipere, quia leve fuit, et nullo peccato prægravatm: aut certè nubem levem debemus sanctam Mariam accipere, nullo semine humano prægravatam. Ecce Dominus venit in Ægyptum sæculi istius super nubem levem, Virginem. "Et deduxit eos in nube diei." Pulchrè dixit diei; nubes eniem illa non fuit in tenebris, sed semper in luce.
Editor: Since Mary is the light cloud that was always in light and never in darkness, she did not contract original sin.

5th Century
Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor of Grace) [Against Julian in PL 45:1418]: "We do not transfer Mary to the devil by the condition of her birth, for this reason, that that condition is dissolved by the grace of her new birth." Latin: "Non transcribimus diabolo Mariam conditione nascendi; sed ideo, quia ipsa conditio solvitur gratia renascendi."

Archbishop St. Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna (Doctor) in 449 [Sermon 140 in PL 52:576A]: "The angel took not the Virgin from Joseph, but gave her to Christ, to Whom she was pledged from Joseph, but gave her to Christ, to Whom she was pledged in the womb, when she was made."
Editor: Mary could not be pledged to Christ at the instant she was made if at that instant she was infected with original sin.

Bishop St. Maximus of Turin (Lambruschini 78) [Homily 5 Before the Nativity of the Lord in PL 57:235D]: "Mary was a fit dwelling for Christ, not because of the disposition of her body, but on account of original grace." Latin: "Idoneum plane Maria Christo habitaculum non pro habitu corporis, sed pro gratiâ originali."
Editor: Mary was originally in a state of grace, and so she did not contract original sin.

6th Century
Bishop St. Fulgentius of Ruspe (Lambruschini 161-162) [Sermon 36 De laudibus Mariae ex partu Salvatoris in PL 65:899C]: "By these words [Hail, full of grace], the angel shows that she [Mary] was altogether excluded from the wrath of the first sentence, and restored to the full grace of blessing." Latin: "Cum dixit, gratia plena, ostendit ex integro, iram exclusam primæ sententiæ, et plenam benedictionis gratiam restitutam."

7th Century

8th Century

9th Century

10th Century

11th Century
St. Bruno the Confessor of Cologne (Founder of the Carthusians) (Lambruschini 163) [Homily on Psalm 101 in PL 152:1167D]: "that Mary is that uncorrupted earth which God blessed, and was therefore free from all contagion of sin." Latin: "Hæc est … incorrupta terra illa, cui benedixit Dominus, ab omni propterea peccati contagione libera, per quam vitæ viam agnovimus, et promissam vertatem accepimus."
Editor: Mary was free of sin, not in the sense that she contracted sin that God wiped away, but that God made sure she was never corrupted by original sin.

Bishop St. Peter Damian of Ostia (Doctor) (Lambruschini 80) [Sermon 40 On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PL 144:721C]: "The flesh of the Virgin, received from Adam, admitted none of Adam's guilt." Latin: "Caro Virginis, ex Adam sumpta, maculas Adam non admisit."
Editor: The Virgin received her nature from Adam, but God graced her by preventing her from inheriting the concupiscence that everyone else contracts from Adam.

Archbishop St. Anselm of Canterbury (Magnificent Doctor) (Lambruschini 80) [Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12]: "All have been dead in sin, whether original, or willfully incurred; no one has ever been excepted, save only the Mother of God." Latin: "Omnes mortui sunt in peccatis sive originalibus, sive voluntate additis, nemine prorsus excepto, demptâ Matre Dei."

12th Century

13th Century
St. Albert the Great (Universal Doctor) (Lambruschini 103) [Book on Mary, On the Gospel of St. Luke]: "The guilt of sin is threefold, to wit, original, mortal, and venial. Now, the most Blessed Virgin Mary was exempt from this triple woe." Latin: "Væ culpæ est triplex, scilicet originalis, mortalis et venialis: porro sine isto triplice væ fuit Beatissima Virgo Maria."
St. Bonaventure (Seraphic Doctor) (Lambruschini 81) in 1275 [Sermon 2 on the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary in Peltier 14:111]: "Our Lady was full of grace in her sanctification, a grace truly preservative against the defilement of original guilt." Latin: "Domina nostra fuit plena gratiâ in suâ sanctificatione, gratiâ, scilicet præservativâ contra fœditatem originalis culpæ."
Editor: The grace of Mary prevented her from being defiled by original sin.

The same radiant Doctor (Lambruschini 154) says in the same paragraph: "For it is to be believed that the Holy Ghost, as a very special favor, redeemed and preserved her from original sin by a new kind of sanctification, and this in the very moment of her conception; not that sin was in her, but that it otherwise would have been." Latin: "Credendum est enim, quod novo sanctificationis genere, in ejus conceptionis primordio, Spiritus sanctus eam a peccato originali (non quod infuit, sed quod infuisset) redemit, atque singulari gratia præservavit."

14th Century
St. Bernardine of Siena (Apostle of Italy) (Lambruschini 110) before 1380 [Sermon 49]: "It is wholly incredible that the Son of God would Himself vouchsafe to be born and assume flesh of a virgin who had once been tainted with original sin." Latin: "Non enim credendum est quod ipse Filius Dei voluerit nasci ex virgine, et sumere ejus carnem, quæ esset maculata aliquo originali peccato."

15th Century
St. Vincent Ferrer the Confessor of Valencia (Lambruschini 101-102) in 1417 [Sermon 2 On The Nativity]: "Think not that it was as with us, who are conceived in sin; for, as soon as her soul was created, it was sanctified, and immediately the angels in Heaven celebrated the Feast of the Conception." Latin: "Non credatis quia fuerit sicut in nobis, qui in peccatis concipimur; sed statim ac anima fuit creata, fuit sanctificata, et statim angeli in cœlo celebrarunt festum Conceptionis."

St. Lawrence Justinian (Lambruschini 163) before 1456 [Sermon on the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary]: "she was prevented in blessings, from her very conception." Latin: "Ab ipsa namque sui conceptione, in benedictionibus est præventa."
Editor: God blessed the conception of Mary by preventing her soul from contracting original sin.

16th Century
Archbishop St. Thomas of Valencia (Lambruschini 110) in 1530 [Sermon 3 on the Nativity of the Virgin Mary]: "It became the Mother of God to be most pure, sinless, and unspotted. Wherefore, she was not only sanctified when she became a maid, but in the womb, and in her very conception, she was most holy." Latin: "Decuit matrem Dei esse purissimam, sine labe, sine peccato. Unde non solum quando puella sanctissima, et in utero sanctissima, et in conceptione sanctissima." He adds (Lambruschini 111) that "the soul, when it was infused, had no stain of sin from the flesh, neither did it contract any." Latin: "anima cùm infusa est nullam habuit ex carne, neque contraxit labem peccati."

Works Cited

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