This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mary and Advent (Jesus is Coming)

Last week was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, where Catholics celebrate the fact that Mary was conceived without original sin. This is different than the Feast of the Annunciation, which was nine months ago and celebrates the fact that Jesus was conceived without Mary having "known man." This Sunday, the Gospel of the Annunciation is used for a third time this year to signify that Jesus is coming.

Mary is central to the message of the incarnation, as is her conception without sin. By Jesus birth to Mary, He is one of us - fully human. By his birth to someone conceived without sin, he himself is spared the inheritance of original sin. Indeed, her sinlessness combined with her fertility may have been all that was necessary for the incarnation - although she was given a choice to say yes, just as God freely created her without sin. This is in contrast to the choice of Adam and Eve to sin (although this choice is mythical) and is a foreshowing of the choice of Jesus to follow the Father's will and be crucified for our salvation.

Of course, this brings up the topic of what sin is anyway. Many Church doctors, starting with St. Augustine, believe that original sin arises from the experience of sexual pleasure in conception. This is, of course, poppycock. The Bible is quite clear what the original sin is - blame. This is evident by what happened in the Genesis story when God came back to the Garden. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the Serpent (who had blamed God for depriving Eve of the knowledge of Good and Evil). Jesus breaks that cycle by forgiving and by mandating forgiveness as a necessary condition for being forgiven. Mary was blameless in God's sight, not because of any lack of sexual pleasure on the part of her parents (which would be quite mutually ungenerous of them in a loving relationship), but because she did not blame. She was meek and humble, although the Magnificant showed she thirsted for righteousness - which is about justice, not purity.

In this Advent season, she must be our example. She thirsted for the Kingdom of God. Indeed, according to scripture, she named her sons for the Maccabees (Jesus, Judas - aka Thomas the twin because he looked like his elder brother, and Simon - the zealot).

If we follow her example, we will not only do small acts of charity, but will take on the big ones as well - like calling our Senators and demanding that health care be passed.


Anonymous amy said...

i love this idea of sin being a reference to blame. brilliant. as a born-and-raised-and-no longer catholic, but one who is deeply spiritual and deeply interested in understanding the faith of my ancestors better, i truly appreciate this perspective.
(as well as the one above about pagan christmas!)
i have a long-standing frustration with the fixation on "sin" and the sinfulness of man, etc. so this post is a breath of fresh air.


3:02 PM


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