When Bernadette, prompted by her parish priest, asked Our Lady to reveal her name, She said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Poor Bernadette found this difficult to remember – since she didn’t understand its meaning – and for fear of forgetting she repeated it to herself over and over again. Our Lady didn’t say: “I am the Immaculate Virgin,” or “I am She Who was Conceived Without Original Sin.” She defined herself with an abstract concept when she said she was the “Immaculate Conception,” instead of, for example, “She who was conceived immaculate.”
It is through Grace that Our Lady was conceived without original sin, and through her merit she adhered better than any other creature to the Thought of God. In her, God has never been offended; God has always been pleased, and has always found complete joy in contemplating His work. She responds perfectly to His creative intent. She has never been a reason for delusion. St. Gabriel the Archangel tells us this himself when he calls Mary the “Full of Grace,” and also St. Elizabeth is witness to this truth: “Blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.”
Mary, is therefore “Full of Grace” not only because she was preserved from sin by God, but also because, as St. Gabriel puts it: “Thou hast found grace with God.” This means that Mary was conceived pure, perfect as Adam was perfect, and moreover, she remained pure in Grace through her own merit, differently to Adam who sinned. St. Elizabeth proclaims her, “Blessed art thou that hast believed.”
To believe is an act of faith that presupposes an act of the will; and this is where the merit lies, even though every act of the will is wrought with the help of Grace. Mary, thus, is glorified for her work and for the Grace present in her, both by the Angels (St. Gabriel) and by man (St. Elizabeth).
Jesus said that his Mother was insignificant in the eyes of man. I imagine there were those who might have looked with disdain, even commiseration, upon that ‘quiet, withdrawn woman’. However, Jesus has also said that, instead, Heaven was enraptured at the sight of Mary. It went into ecstasy when it contemplated Mary’s Heart, because that heart was the purest dwelling place that God could ever find amongst His creatures.
If Jesus is the Word, the manifestation, and the expression of God, then Mary is His Project. And She silently adhered to His Thought. It was entirely unacceptable for Lucifer to agree that she should be the Queen of Angels, because as a woman she was inferior to him. Yet, the young girl Mary became the Queen of Heaven and of Earth; that is, Queen of the Angels and of the saints; Queen of creation, through her own merit, and through Grace. Mary, the young girl, Queen, and Lady, perfect Creature, perfect mirror of her Creator: scandal for Satan, and Glory for God. Saintly Madness of God, Infinite Wisdom of God, who entrusted His Son and then the nascent Church to Mary, and all this through her own collaboration: She, Co-redemptrix.