Photo: Felix Carroll

A statue of the Virgin Mary outside the convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, in Lagiewniki, Poland, where St. Faustina received many revelations.

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By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC (Dec 5, 2008)
The following is a meditation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dec. 8, 2008.

The Divine Mercy devotion is one of the fastest growing "spiritualities" among Catholics today. With the canonization of St. Faustina and the establishment of the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church officially recognized the urgent need in the world to practice the core elements of the devotion: imploring mercy, trusting Jesus, and being merciful through the practice of both the corporal and the spiritual works of mercy. This is undeniably a great gift for our times!

Jesus Christ is The Divine Mercy; the Immaculate Conception is the created masterpiece of The Divine Mercy. Outside of the gift of the Savior Himself, both in the Incarnation and in the Eucharist, the greatest manifestation of Divine Mercy that God has given to the world is the Immaculate Conception. How can this be? This is so due to the fact that the privilege of the Immaculate Conception is a pure gift flowing from God's goodness.

For example, in all the other aspects of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Divine Motherhood, Perpetual Virginity, Queenship, etc.) she fully participated in the acquisition of the graces required for that particular role. From her virginal motherhood to her assumption into heaven, she fully participated with God's saving plan. However, the Immaculate Conception is the sole gift that she neither merited nor acquired by participation. Thus, this gift is solely dependent upon Divine Mercy.

The Immaculate Conception is the prevenient grace — that is to say, divine grace that exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done — and that explains why we call Mary the "cause of our salvation." The causal dimension of the Immaculate Conception can be seen when we consider that this unique act of mercy given to Mary both prepares the way for, and will make her able to cooperate with, Jesus, The Divine Mercy Incarnate, who has come to save mankind.

In a similar way, the Immaculate Conception can also be understood as the "cause of creation." God initiated creation, allowing for its fall, because He planned to spiritually renew and elevate all creation according to the pattern of the Immaculate Conception; thus, the Immaculate Conception is not an afterthought but, rather, the instrument through which God sees the world. It is as though the Immaculate Conception were a set of bifocals given to us by Divine Mercy so that we can come to see both creation and salvation as God sees them.

Saints such as Maximilian Kolbe have pondered the intimate relationship between The Divine Mercy and the Immaculate Conception and concluded that the relationship is so mysterious that its brightness overwhelms the intellect. These two mysteries are so intimately connected that it will take a whole host of saintly theologians, mystics, and scholars to unveil the wonder. Just as the mystery of the Trinity is that which sheds light on all things, so the mystery of the Immaculate Conception is that which sheds light on the mystery of both creation and redemption.

Author, speaker, and director of vocations for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, has published a new book, Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina (Marian Press).

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Mary - Dec 15, 2008

I am grateful for those believers who will by faith receive their healings quickly and testify to the awesome power of the Almighty through the loving Savior Jesus who has done all for sinners everywhere who will believe and receive.

Joyful Jeffrey - Dec 11, 2008

Nice Artical,I pray to Our Blessed Lady,I had a Totally Mixwd Up Day Yesterday,All my Plans Changed but I have a Prayer I Wrote in my Spiritual Reflections Book, Every one can Have ThisBeautiful Prayer hat Our Blessed Lady Gave Me,See It is really Her Prayer Gift to Me,and I wishto makee it tha to and for You but if You pray this rayer Thank Our Blessed Lady,not goes= "DEAREST BLESSED LADY,QUEEN OF PEACE,PLEASE PRAY FO ME"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Different Marys - Dec 9, 2008

Father Donald, I want to ask you a ques-
tion which puzzle me . I cannot find a
medal of Immaculate Conception. is it
same as Immaculate Heart of Mary ??or
Our Lady of Fatima or Lourdes?? Thanks
for answering my question Joan

Javier R. - Dec 9, 2008

I had never thought there could be such a connection between Divine Mercy and the Immaculate conception. Thank you for your article, it is very inspirational.
I too am now looking forward to Fr. Calloway's conversion story. Any chance it will also be available in Spanish? Your story and love for Mary have been a sign of hope for many wounded men seeking true healing.

anna - Dec 8, 2008

i love mary she is a role model. thank you father for the article. please can u send my an article abt mary her life hw she grow up coz she is with all the tym.

Mary Claire - Dec 8, 2008

Oh how exciting! I've been hoping that you would write your conversion story, Fr. Calloway. I've heard you tell your story in person (which I loved) but I'm sure that you don't even come close to sharing enough in a one hour presentation. This news is awesome! The miracle God worked through your conversion has given many of us hope. I can't wait!

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC - Dec 7, 2008

Thanks for the comments everyone! I'm glad you liked my latest book on Our Lady in the life of St. Faustina. And, yes, I'm currently working on putting my conversion story into book form. It's a lot of work, but we are hoping it will be out sometime in early 2010. Please keep this project in prayer. Have a blest Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception!

tb - Dec 7, 2008

I never thought of this relationship of Divine Mercy with the Immaculate Conception. thank you very much!

Olga E. Blake - Dec 7, 2008

" O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee". Thank you for re-enforcing my beliefs in the Blessed Mother through your inspiring words. I pray this day for all who through ministry, or individually are spreading Our Lady's request to pray the rosary every day. And, also to be an example of her holiness by the attires we wear, the choice of clean words in our conversations and the way we interacting with each other. God Bless You!!!

maryS - Dec 7, 2008

thank you so much.God bless you always

mary - Dec 6, 2008

Fr.Calloway your stories are very interesting,keep up the good work,I have you in my prayers. God Bless You and May the Mantle of the Immaculate Mary be with you Always

Amy - Dec 6, 2008

Yes, I have read the book and it is very good and taught me a lot about St. Faustina and Mary. At a Conference recently Fr. Calloway said that he was working on his conversion book. Is there any news on that? A conversion book would touch a lot of hearts, especially teens and young adults. It is so hard to keep the faith these days. A book like that would also help a lot of parents who are struggling and losing hope.

Ileana - Dec 6, 2008

How lost we would all be without the gift of the Blessed Mother!! Praise God for his Divine Mercy and Mary's Immaculate Conception. Great meditation, Fr. Don. Please tell us more!

I am almost done reading your book and I love it! I will be sure to make it a gift for others this Christmas. God bless you.

Erica T. - Dec 6, 2008

Fr. Calloway, thank you so much for this inspirational article. Your words bring hope to my heart. There are so many terrible things happening all around us that we tend to think God has forgotten us. If it weren't for your writing, I wouldn't ever think about how blessed we are because of the gift of Divine Mercy for those of us living through these times. It is Our Lord reaching out to us in the darkness. I am so touched by the love you have for Mary. Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope there is more to come from you and your brother Marians. We all need to hear this. God bless you!

james - Dec 6, 2008

thanks for the article. i love Mary, too.

Maria P. Ottawa - Dec 5, 2008

Thank you Father Calloway. Your book is very enlightening and informative. It touches the heart. I bought several books and gave it as gifts. We need to be reminded often of Our Lady's role as co-redemptrix. Thank God for Her "fiat". May the Mother of Mercy protect you always!

barbara m - Dec 5, 2008

Profound insights! Wow! Definately interested in getting that book!

P. - Dec 5, 2008

Hope that in these times when many are worried over many dangers - esp. of the spiritual type, the devotion to the Miraculous Medal, a gift of the Immaculate conception would also become more prevalent .

Thank you for calling to focus on the Mystery of the Dogma - a Dogma that also calls us to recognise better who our Lord Is - as One with The Father , so that seeing Him , we can see The Father and see with a pure heart the mystery of Incarnation of the Father Love who is our Lord !

There are many a wounded heart in these times that need the balm of Father Love and the bifocals of the truth of the singular nature of our Mother - both in her virtue and sufferings and revealed in the truth of her all pure and holy nature could help us to see the same better.

Turning to her to recieve the Father's love can be an instantaneous relief on many an occasion !

O Mary concieved without sin, pray for us all - for generations past , present and future that we may sing of His Mercies seen and recieved through you in abundance !