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The Sinless Queen of Saints

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This is the 16th article in a series on the Litany of Loreto. Every month, I will explain this popular prayer line by line, providing you with spiritual and theological insights.

By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

View the previous article in this series.

Queen of All Saints, pray for us.
Remember that saints are not only those whom the Church has canonized, but all those who make it to Heaven. Everyone in Purgatory will eventually become saints. Hopefully, this includes us. One of the main reasons we call Mary "Queen of All Saints" has to do with her role as Mediatrix of All Graces. If someone becomes a saint, it can only be through Jesus Christ. But just as the Lord chose to come into the world through Mary He also chooses to pour any graces He bestows upon us in the same way — through Mary. This means Mary assists even those who go to Heaven who never had a devotion to her. Just the fact that they're in Heaven means that she must have had a hand in them getting there. So, she's not merely the Queen of all the canonized saints and those who have been devoted to her, but she's the "Queen of All Saints" — every last one of them.

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a great Marian devotee, made a similar point when he said, "Let us count as synonymous the expressions saint and child of Mary."

Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.

This invocation was added to the Litany by Pius IX in 1854. Since her earliest centuries, the Church has believed that Mary was conceived without original sin. But it wasn't until Dec. 8, 1854, that Blessed Pope Pius IX defined Our Lady's Immaculate Conception as dogma for all Catholics. He wrote:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

In other words, just as Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before the fall, Mary was created unstained from original sin from the moment of her conception. Now, this does not mean she didn't need Christ to save her. She was only given the grace of the Immaculate Conception by the merits of Jesus Christ. Remember, God exists outside of time. He knew Jesus would redeem the world, so upon Our Lady's conception, He applied Christ's merits to the Blessed Mother.

The idea of Mary being conceived without original sin actually finds its roots all the way back in the story of creation. As it says in the Douay Rheims translation of the Bible, when Adam and Eve fall from grace, the Lord says to Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. She shall crush your head and you shall lie in wait for her heel" (Gen 3:15). In other words, God says that the woman (the Blessed Virgin Mary) would be radically opposed to Satan, so much so that she would cause his downfall.

The downfall of Satan begins at the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel appears to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Gabriel addresses Mary by saying, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Lk 1:28, Douay Rheims), which refers to her being created without original sin. Then, of course, Mary says "yes" to receiving the "seed" referred to in Genesis — the Child Jesus — whose merits would win for His mother the grace of being conceived without original sin.

View the next article in this series.

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Sheila - Dec 9, 2019

Thank you so much for explaining this. It is because of Christs merits and because God operates outside of time those merits can be appliedto Mary. I never quite got this.