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Chapter 10: The Blessed Virgin Mary
   The Blessed Virgin Mary
      428. Preparation for Immaculate Conception

{428.1} Q. Did God just prepare Mary's parents for the Immaculate Conception, or did it come all the way down the line?

{428.2} A. The parents of the Blessed Virgin had nothing to do with God's having preserved the Virgin, from the first moment of her conception, from all stain of original sin. There was, therefore, no "preparation" in Mary's parents for this miraculous intervention by God.

{428.3} God chose to redeem the world through the life, death and resurrection of his incarnate Son. In his book Miracles, C.S. Lewis gives a helpful rationale for the Virgin Birth. He explains why God dispensed with a human father in the conception of his Son. The Incarnation was to be the beginning of a new creation, free of the stain of original sin. So, says Lewis, since the father is a carrier of original sin, he dispensed with human fatherhood and created in a virgin a Man who was to be God himself.

{428.4} If there were to be true Incarnation, God could not dispense with a human mother. But an ordinary human mother is also a bearer of original sin. How was God's Son to be preserved from original sin when he took a body from his human mother? God could have intervened at the moment of his Son's conception to shield him from original sin. Yet in that case, Jesus would not have been "a man like us in all things but sin," as our liturgy and the whole of the Catholic tradition testify. His conception would have been entirely different from ours.

{428.5} The only other possibility for a true Incarnation was for God to preserve the mother of his divine Son from the stain of original sin. Then and only then could his Son take flesh in the same way you and I do -- that is, from a human parent -- after we have been conceived. So, you see, that new beginning to which Lewis points (and with which I think Protestants in general would agree) necessarily presupposes the Immaculate Conception. We do not know whether Lewis accepted this teaching.

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