Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Catholics we know that, as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve, we are all born with original sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us in paragraph 402:
All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.”
But the dogma of the Immaculate Conception declares the truth that Mary was conceived without this original sin. But if Mary was born without original sin, did she know that? Was she aware of her own sinlessness? That’s what one listener asked on an episode of Father Simon Says™. Fr. Simon responded:
“Let’s look at Adam and Eve. I always say our Blessed Mother was the third person immaculately conceived. Adam and Eve were conceived without the effects of original sin – though of course in the mind of God, not human conception.
So, did Adam and Eve sit around thinking, ‘Gosh, I don’t have any sin.’ No, they sat around thinking, ‘Boy, is God good.’ They had a complete awareness of the goodness of God, but they did not know sin. They ate at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they didn’t know evil.
And I don’t think our Blessed Mother sat around thinking, ‘Gee, it really is nice to be free of the effects of original sin.’ No, she was aware of the beauty and the goodness of God all around her.
So I would say, in a sense, if there’s nothing but light around you, you don’t see darkness. So I would say that she never saw darkness. She was aware of what evil was, because she stood at the foot of the Cross, but I don’t think she would have concentrated on her sinlessness.
I would say no, she was not aware. She did not know evil except as it affected her and her divine Son. … Her awareness of grace was not an awareness of her situation, it would have almost been the opposite. I would think that a result of the Immaculate Conception would be a total self-emptying.
In other words, one’s self-awareness would be a complete reflection of the beauty of God, that wherever she looked she saw God. … God was pretty much all she saw – when she looked at the beauty of nature, even when she looked at the sin around her, she must have longed that they would be able to see the beauty of God.
What is darkness? Darkness is not something, it’s the lack of something. In that way, she never experienced that lack of the vision of God.”
Listen to the full conversation below: