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The Repentance Possible in Mary


She began where others end, whether in knowledge or in love.


The course of ages was to be reversed; the tradition of evil was to be broken; a gate of light was to be opened amid the darkness, for the coming of the just; — a Virgin conceived and bore him.  It was fitting, for his honor and glory, that she, who was the instrument of his bodily presence, should first be a miracle of his grace; it was fitting that she should triumph, where Eve had failed, and should "bruise the serpent's head" by the spotlessness of her sanctity . . .

As grace was infused into Adam from the first moment of his creation, so that he never had experience of his natural poverty, till sin reduced him to it; so was grace given from the first in still ampler measure to Mary, and she never incurred, in fact, Adam's deprivation.  She began where others end, whether in knowledge or in love.  She was from the first clothed in sanctity, destined for perseverance, luminous and glorious in God's sight, and incessantly employed in meritorious acts, which continued till her last breath.  Hers was emphatically "the path of the just, which, as the shining light, goes forward and increases even to the perfect day" . . .

If Adam might have kept himself from sin in his first state, much more shall we expect immaculate perfection in Mary.



John Henry Cardinal Newman. "The Repentance Possible in Mary." excerpt from Discourses Addressed to Mixed Congregations (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1906).

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in October 2012.

The Author

newman72newman71Blessed John Henry Newman was born on 21 February 1801, and died on 11 August 1890. Through his published writings and private correspondence he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church and its teachings, helping many persons with their religious difficulties. At his death he was praised for his unworldliness, humility, and prayerful contact with the invisible world. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman is the author of many books including, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Difficulties of Anglicans, The Idea of a University, Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A.D. 1826 and 1843, and Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

Copyright © Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman
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