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Immaculate Intellect of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Started by Geremia, April 10, 2021, 03:45:21 PM

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My exegete Catholic friend who has spent a few years in the Holy Land studying Hebrew wrote, concerning the Annunciation:
QuoteReturning first, if you allow me, to what I emphasized last week in regard to Our Lady's intellect, etc. It is really critical and generally overlooked. Our Lady did know and understand [what St. Gabriel told her]—which is what we first need to contemplate and be clear about from the start. Her intellect plays as pivotal a role as her will, being utterly pure of the darkening effect of Original Sin inherited by Adam and his unfortunate posterity (which of course includes us). Wholly graced (i.e. thoroughly full of divine grace), she therefore lacks nothing, even if she remains a creature. The opinion that she somehow was lacking understanding makes her clueless about God and her own unique sanctity. Born a Saint, there is therefore no "evolution" in Our Blessed Lady! While she did learn in the course of her sinless earthly pilgrimage (to sanctify the process or learning itself and restore it far beyond Adam's preternatural ability in informing his priestly intellect as he walked in his state of original grace to immaculately grasp reality as intended by the Logos), she did so in all grace and openness to the sublime truths the Blessed Trinity infused in her intellect from the first instant of her existence in the womb. Immaculate she is in body, mind, and soul, the powers and faculties of which (preeminently her intellect and will) surpass in purity and sheer sublimity all the Saints and angels together. If God gives everyone the graces one needs for one's mission or state in life, and if Our Blessed Lady had the greatest mission from God, how could there be ignorance in her as to the unique reality and grace of her perpetual virginity? No, the "ignorance" clueless modern readers mistakenly imply from (misreading) Scripture in relation to Our Lady betrays their own lack of understanding, the all too familiar manifestation in us of the darkening of our impaired intellects.

So why did Our Lady ask the question about her virginity? Positively not because she was "testing the spirit" (as I took pain to explain in the last email)! From the start, she does know who St. Gabriel is, and that he "was sent by God" (Luke 1:26). Likewise the holy Archangel, from the witness of his staggering greeting formula (cf. last email), immediately recognizes her as deserving of his unambiguous reverence, addressing her as his superior in every respect, and accordingly bowing before her (his very Queen). Thus, they recognize each other. Yet both are surprised (which is no indication of ignorance), interacting from the specific vantage point of their respective intellectual natures (human and angelic) differently ordained to each other by virtue of divine creation and Providence. Angelic intellects are carefully ordered in nine choirs. The brightest choir comprises the Archangels, who are directly appointed to the intellectual dispensation of divine revelation to humanity (recall here what St. Paul says about the Torah/the Law to the Galatians, 3:19: "[...] it [the Torah] was ordained [διαταγεὶς] through/by way of [δι'] angels [ἀγγέλων]").

Thus while Our Lady surpasses St. Gabriel and all the choirs of pure created intellects, not only in sanctity, but, in and through her incomparably immaculate sanctity, also in intellect (to which the whole created order is ultimately subjected, as she is the Mother of the Creative Intellect, Who is God Himself the Eternal Word), her intellect still remains human in nature, thus ordained to being disposed for and opened to the archangelic dispensation of God's salvific revelation.
Our Lady could have known everything without archangelic mediation on the basis of her exceeding superiority over all things made, visible and invisible, by virtue of the unparalleled gifts conferred upon her from the moment of her conception. But, equally being the Mother of Humility, she ratifies the immanent disposition/economy of creation according to which the human intellect is, in the order of transmission, subjected to the intellectual bestowal of revealed information especially carried out by the Archangels. Thus despite her supremacy in every respect, including in intellectual terms, it would have been contrary to her humility and ultimately offensive to God's ordinance and economy, had Our Lady prevented St. Gabriel to fulfill his own archangelic office, being sent by God to deliver and bestow on her—the wholly graced (κεχαριτωμένη)—the incomparably awesome Message of the Incarnation of the only-begotten Son.

Furthermore, the fullness of supernatural grace in Our Lady does not destroy nature (as the former builds upon the latter and elevates it). From the intact stance of her human nature, Mary undergoes a reaction of surprise as she directly interacts with one of the brightest members of the heavenly host. Both in her humble respect of the economy of God's order (dispensing His revelation to man by way of the ministry of His heavenly messengers) and in her unimpaired receptiveness of God's communication, it is indeed fitting that she should let herself be the receptacle of the Message St. Gabriel is bestowing upon her from God—the Message itself being believed, understood (intelligi) and accordingly conceived in Our Lady's pure capax Dei intellect before she "let it be done" in her according to the same Message, the Word thereby becoming flesh...
It is therefore profoundly correct for us to address Our Lady, for instance when praying her Litany, as Vas spirituale (Spiritual vessel)! She is the pure and ultimate spiritual repository of God's every grace, of God Himself taking His human flesh in her virginal womb (in Latin, the beautiful word conceptaculum comes to mind and would, to my estimate, even more happily apply to the wholly virginal one than the more common word vas, as conceptaculum conveys even more clearly that the concept-ion of the divine Word began in her sublimely intact and graced intellect).

To end with, let me assure you that the prophecy in the Old Testament you allude to, from St. Isaiah (see in Isaiah 7:14), does in fact speak of a virgin. The word, עַלְמָה  (ALeMaH, which was left untranslated in Latin, Alma), literally means "young woman" (i.e. of marriageable age, thus implying pre-marital virginity); but also specifies, from its primary root and passive uses (נעלמה), the associated notions of being hidden or withdrawn from (עלם)—which prophetically points, using linguistic root-play from old Hebrew, toward a perpetual state of being, not so much a "young woman", but indeed a virgin (i.e. the Virgin). However, the understanding of the primal Hebrew was eventually twisted (by Talmudists and Protestants following suit) and has accordingly deteriorated. The deterioration has been passed down to and through modern scholarship, with its invention of several "Isaiahs" and other lies for the "learned", finally spreading through popularizing books and misguided churches downplaying whatever may remind them, in Sacred Scripture, of the Virgin of virgins.

Furthermore, you need to carefully read the prophecy of Isaiah 7 in the light of the preceding as well as following chapters, to properly grasp the specific nature of this striking announcement from Isaiah. For, read in strict historical terms limited to the scope of Isaiah's own "setting in life" (under king Aḥaz and his wife), the prophecy never was fulfilled. Therefore the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 as well as its fulfillment together go far beyond Isaiah and king Aḥaz (whom Isaiah directly addresses in this prophecy). It is a key thing to study. However, I cannot possibly begin (at this point) to further expound on this.

I like where he writes:
Quoteshe did learn in the course of her sinless earthly pilgrimage (to sanctify the process of learning itself and restore it far beyond Adam's preternatural ability in informing his priestly intellect as he walked in his state of original grace to immaculately grasp reality as intended by the Logos)
It reminds me of Summa III q. 12, "Of the Acquired or Empiric Knowledge of Christ's Soul".
I'd never heard of conceptaculum before. It sounds like receptaculum (like the receptaculum fidei = deposit of faith).
It reminds me of what St. Augustine says (De Sancta Virgin. iii):
QuoteMary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ, than in conceiving the flesh of Christ
QuoteHer nearness as a Mother would have been of no profit to Mary, had she not borne Christ in her heart after a more blessed manner than in her flesh.
To "bear Christ in her heart" is another way of saying that she had the fullness of the virtue of Faith—which is the assent of the intellect both to the authority/credibility of the Reavealer and to what He reveals—in her intellectual soul.

She is the true receptaculum fidei. Amazing.

In these times of "diabolical disorientation," as Fatima seer Sr. Lucia called them—where the indications of the crisis in the Church due to the heresy of Modernism have "been not of a crisis of faith, but of a very grave malady of the intellect," as Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange wrote—we must foster a true devotion to the Immaculate Intellect of Our Blessed Virgin Mother.