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Musings 2009/245

begin to understand that the woman must be someone who stands out in the entire salvation history of humankind.
And so the question may be asked:-
How would such a woman, 'the woman' of Scripture, stand out?
Obviously, one must consider the answer to be totally spiritual, that is to say, a woman who is outstanding in her spiritual dimensions. Eventually, there is only one conclusion to make, and that is, that the woman must be the one person who has never offended God and was filled with God's Grace from conception.
Yes, there are others who have not offended God, so the particular virtue of the
woman must be deeper and we arrive at the only conclusion:- her Immaculate Conception, her sinlessness from conception and thereafter, forever--something no other person was given except her Son.
P The key to understanding all these graces is Mary's role as the New Eve, which the Fathers proclaimed so forcefully. Because she is the New Eve,

she, like the New Adam,
was born immaculate,
just as the First Adam and Eve
were created immaculate.

Because she is the New Eve,
she is mother of the
New Humanity (Christians),
just as the first Eve was
the mother of humanity.

And, because she is the New Eve,
she shares the fate of the New Adam.
Whereas the First Adam and Eve
died and went to dust,
the New Adam and Eve
were lifted up physically into heaven. P

As we conclude, Mary stands out amidst human kind, and this can only mean to have been preserved from all evil.
It is true that John the Baptist was born without sin--refer Luke --
P 49   1  15  For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. P
And we note of course, that it was at Mary's greeting to Elizabeth that John leapt in his mother's womb, filled with The Spirit.
P 49   1  41  And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 49   1  42  And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 49   1  43  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?P
Mary's greatness before The Almighty can be measured by this--that, at her greeting, both Elizabeth and John the Baptist, were filled with the Holy Spirit.
And of course, this was because Jesus was already conceived within Mary's womb and it was through Jesus' Infinite Merits that Mary received her greatness--that all mankind received its new dignity.

It was for Him only,
that we were created;
that all creation was brought into existence.

Full of Grace
P 49   1  28  And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.   49   1  29  Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.  49   1  30  And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. P
Anti-Catholics do not like the translation
Full of Grace, and are happier with Highly favoured, as inserted by many translations, even some Catholic ones. There are some who do accept the translation as Full of Grace, but are quick to assert that this does not have the meaning The Universal Church ascribes to it; they maintain that Mary remains a mere vessel of God, nothing more.
P The "Hail Mary" is the prayer that most typifies Catholic devotion to Mary. People often ask where we find this in the bible. The first sentence "Hail Mary full of grace." is a literal translation from St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate bible.
He wrote "Ave gratia plena. "Ave" is translated as the old English "hail", a term still used for greeting in some parts of our culture today -- boating for example. "Gratia plena" means
full of grace. St. Jerome's translation was done in the late 4th century before a common bible was agreed upon by Christians. St Jerome translated from earlier Greek and Latin texts.
The Greek phrase used is kecaritwmevnh translated as full of grace. The significance of being full of grace to a Catholic is to be without sin. (ref Acts 15:11 & Eph 2:5) St. Jerome's translation is well supported by most Greek bible dictionaries or interlinear bibles. P
However, the translation
full of grace  has even greater significance
P The particular word Luke used to describe Mary as

"full of grace" (?e?a??t???)
means that Mary was full of grace
all her life.

(This is signified by ?e?a??t??? being a perfect passive particle).
It means that Mary is full of grace not just at the moment the angel comes to her

but that she is full of grace

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