The debate in favor of the sinlessness of Mary has ranged in degrees from befitting the Mother of the Lord to a necessity for our redemption. In meditating on this truth this morning, I tend toward the latter end of the spectrum, but either way the truth of this mystery follows logically from what is revealed of God. The key to the mystery is the free exercise of Mary’s will.
In order for the Incarnation to occur, Mary had to be completely free to give her assent. God is a respecter of our persons, and is clear through His word that He seeks love from his creation out of freedom. He created the angels, and gave them a choice. He created man, and gives each of us a choice. No one is bound to love Him, but all are invited to return the love showered on us out of our own free will.
To the extent that we can love freely, we can achieve greater intimacy with Him. As if we are climbing stairs towards heaven, each level is preceded by an increasing ability to throw off the weight of the world, and the next level can be achieved. Love purifies what little we have to give, increasing our desire for further detachment, and the receding wall of concupiscence frees more room for love to work within us.
What God invited for Mary required an extra-ordinary gift of self from her free will. No human person was ever more intimately loved by God. His love and union with her was so great, so vast, so voluminous that it resulted in the spontaneous creation/incarnation of God Himself.
In order for this to be a true union of love, Mary must be equally free to will it. Anything less, and she becomes an object of use, not a person with dignity in the image and likeness of God!
How could God unite, but with that which was already pure? Even moreso, how could one bound to sin, in any degree or amount, be free to accept this ultimate invitation from God? All sin, no matter how small, stains the soul, distances us from God, and binds our free will. Every sin creates a bond to something which is not God, attachment which left unchecked becomes habit.
“Full of Grace,” the Angel declared. Was it only in that instance? Or was she uniquely created and protected from attachment to sin, so that she could freely cooperate for our redemption? Which does the Love of God dictate?