The Lady Chapel IV - Woman clothed with sun

St. John the Revelator was in the Holy Spirit when he wrote of the apparition of St. Mary in the heavens "clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." She is described as about to give birth to the Christ and as being protected by God from the devil who desired to destroy her Son.

It is thus that we now approach the heavenly apparitions of St. Mary, not as Rome or Constantinople have, nearly losing sight of who she is because of her Son and Savior, Jesus. In reverence we note first of all the mystical dreamlike quality of this vision with St. Mary's plight, her appearance, etc., as a great archetype and portent in the heavens. St. John seems to say: "Here is heaven's view of the Bethlehem Event". This is far more here than a recounting of history: this is Gospel beyond time/space. What we call a doctrine becomes an essence of reality, a cosmic verity, a part of the aeons old warfare between good and evil, a veritable drama of salvation with the heavens as the stage as well as its theatre of war. Here is the birth of the Savior to her whom God had flooded with His grace.

What had been conceived was by supernatural means and she awaited in her anguish that which was more wonderful than creation itself, she awaited the human emergence of God the Creator into His own creation. She could thus name herself as an Event, a cosmic archetype, when she appeared at Lourdes in 1858, "I am the Immaculate Conception". She is, in and of God's foreordination, that earthly moment at Bethlehem. Her womb has become the New Eden wherein the unfallen Adam shall dwell for nine months and then emerge to destroy death and sin with His cross.

I am the Immaculate Conception - Appearance at Lourdes

It has been most unfortunate for most of our Christian religion that, coming as it did (in 1858) after Rome's promulgation that St. Mary herself was conceived without sin that the 1858 vision's words "I am the Immaculate Conception" would be snatched from their biblical moorings within Revelation 12 and actually applied to Mary's physical origins, thus taking hearts and minds away from her Son's all-sufficiency and sinlessness. Such is the weakness of Rome's christology. I cannot help but imagine that this pains her deeply. Even so, this celestial prophetess must continue to visit this world to call us to her Son and unto real repentance.

She is become, in glory, the heavenly being John saw in his great vision ... the event of immaculate conception and the virgin birth are her very soul for, as she proclaimed while still here below: "The Lord hath done great things for me and holy and mighty is His Name!"

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