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Immaculate Conception

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Grail Lord
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« on: December 05, 2007, 10:37:50 pm »

In his Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus (8 December 1854), which officially defined the Immaculate Conception as dogma for the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Pius IX primarily appealed to the text of Genesis 3:15, where the serpent was told by God, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed." According to the Roman Catholic understanding, this was a prophecy that foretold of a "woman" who would always be at enmity with the serpent — that is, a woman who would never be under the power of sin, nor in bondage to the serpent.

Some Roman Catholic theologians have also found Scriptural evidence for the Immaculate Conception in the angel Gabriel's greeting to Mary at the Annunciation, (Luke 1:28). The English translation, "Hail, Full of Grace," or "Hail, Favored One," is based on the Greek of Luke 1:28, "Χαίρε, Κεχαριτωμένη", Chaire kecharitomene, a phrase which can most literally be translated: "Rejoice, you who have been graced". The latter word, kecharitomene, is the Passive voice, Present Perfect participle of the verb "to grace" in the feminine gender, vocative case; therefore the Greek syntax indicates that the action of the verb has been fully completed in the past, with results continuing into the future. Put another way, it means that the subject (Mary) was graced fully and completely at some time in the past, and continued in that fully graced state. The angel's salutation does not refer to the Incarnation of Christ in Mary's womb, as he proceeds to say: "thou shalt conceive in thy womb…" (Luke 1:31).

The Church Fathers, almost from the beginning of Church History, found further Scriptural evidence by comparing the figure of Eve to the figure of Mary. St. Justin Martyr said that Mary was a kind of New Eve, "in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin." (Dialogue with Trypho, 100) Tertullian argued in the same manner, saying, "As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other by believing effaced." (On the Flesh of Christ, 17) St. Irenaeus declared that Mary became "the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race," because "what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith." (Against Heresies, Book III, cap. 22, 4) St. Jerome coined the phrase, "Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary," (Letter XXII, To Eustochium, 21). In addition "Blessed shall be the fruit of thy womb" is a reward for obedience to God by keeping the commandments
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