Who Are You, O Immaculata?

In the storm of confusion and misinformation which has greeted the question of a papal definition of the dogma of Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate,  St. Maximilian Kolbe’s well known question regarding the Mother of God, “Who are you, O Immaculata?” takes on new poignancy and urgency.

Who is she? Who is she really, and what is God doing through this unique woman? At first glance it is often assumed that God’s desire to enter creation through the womb of an immaculate virgin was a case of spiritual hygiene: If one were God, would one not wish to be conceived in the purest possible receptacle? While this is true, it is only the beginning of our understanding of the relationship between God and Mary.

Is she only a model of fidelity, an exemplary disciple, a saint (albeit the greatest of saints)? Is she no more than a sign? Yes, she is a sign. But much of the confusion about her in the modern mind derives from the peculiarly one-dimensional character of Western society, which has fractured the great harmony of the hierarchical cosmos so severely that the fault lines in our thinking and perceptions now run in all directions.

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