Recently, we celebrated two major feast days, with 1 more coming up: The Immaculate Conception, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Christmas. Did you know that these feasts to help dismantle the power of the pornified culture?
All three of these feast have Mary, the Mother of God, as the protagonist. She is our most important patron Saint and intercessor in the work that we do. Each feast date highlights and provides an antidote to the lies of the pornified view of the body & sexuality.
The Immaculate Conception: This is the celebration of Mary who was created perfectly, free from original sin. Through her flesh, Jesus is given to us, so we can be redeemed. Why is this redemption so vital to us?
Let’s go back to the story of Adam and Eve. Eve falls for the temptation of the evil one and receives his false gift. She then gives this false gift to her husband, Adam. What follows after the blame & shame is a casting out from their home, and what remains is pain, toil and suffering.
This is what happens to us when we give into temptation & sin. We become void of God. Yet, God in His infinite mercy never leaves us without a way to get healed:
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.
– Genesis 3:15
Mary is our promise of redemption. Through her fiat – “let it be” – she helps to redeem (as a co-redeemer) all of mankind. Her complete obedience and submission to the will of God redeems our disobedience. Her fiat redeemed the recognition of the omnipotence of God when our first parents fell into the temptation to become like God. Her fiat redeemed the worthiness of God to be praised and brought joy to mankind when Adam and Eve sent everyone a downward spiral.
Because of the perfection of her human nature, Mary crushes the serpent with her heel with her simple fiat. Each of us, in turn, are called to intimately participate in this marvelous work of God. Although we have been wounded by original sin and our desires tend toward evil and corruption, it is this beauty of the feast of the Immaculate Conception that helps reveal the perfect created image of God in the flesh of a woman, all the while reminding us of the power of grace to redeem everything.
Our Lady of Guadalupe: She is the patroness of the Americas. In 1531, this image appeared on the tilma of St. Juan Diego which has has helped lead to the conversion of millions. This image is a revelation of the love of God.
I would love to tell you more about her story, but I think I would fail miserably in trying to condense it. In a nutshell, OLG is a divinely-created work of art that reveals the beauty of the most perfect woman ever. Her beauty reveals the creativity of the Divine Artist, who allowed her to participate in the creation of the flesh of His Son, Jesus.
Likewise, while God is the Divine Artist, we are called to be artisans, by living out our lives creating beauty, as directed and guided by grace. St. John Paul II highlights this in His Letter to Artists:
“Through his “artistic creativity” man appears more than ever “in the image of God”, and he accomplishes this task above all in shaping the wondrous “material” of his own humanity and then exercising creative dominion over the universe which surrounds him. With loving regard, the divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power.
- St. John Paul II
The human body was created to be the first art canvas. Sin unfortunately marred this canvas, and we see this on display sometimes in horrific ways, especially in our pornified culture. Yet Our Lady appears depicted in this stunningly-beautiful art, a sign of the renewing of the beauty of God’s creation. Our own flesh, God’s original art canvas, is an even greater sign of His love than the tilma. While we we often forget this because of sin and have gone blind, God offers us many visual reminders of the beauty He has created to bring us back to the reality He intends for us. The tilma is a reminder of our destiny, of the restoration of God’s art in human body.
Check out how the image below beautifully describes each aspect of OLG:
Christmas: The Nativity of the Christ-child proclaims that in the darkest-dark of life, a light breaks forth. Emmanuel is with us. God has come in the flesh of a woman to reveal not how bad we are and to condemn us in our brokenness, but rather to reveal just how good we are, that He has wedded Himself to our nature so that we could be raised up in His Divinity.
Fallen as we are, we often lose sight of God’s perfect plan, creation, and purpose. We live in a world that is corrupted by sin, and one of its main corruptors is pornography, where the human body has become an idol. An idol can never contain our hopes and dreams, nor fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts. Yet, no matter how much we have chosen one idol after another, tainting the magnificent canvas of God’s creation, Emmanuel never leaves us. He is the transcendent God who becomes limited in his body to restore and redeem what we thought was lost. Through His blood we are redeemed. His birth is our promise of salvation. Oh, what hope!
This Christmas, we invite you to dream. Dream not of what your mind tells you, but of God's dream for you. We invite you to want, not of what the world offers, but rather the promise of God and His salvation. Dream and want more than what the pornified culture has to offer you and receive the everlasting gift of life. Be redeemed by the Redeemer. Be transformed. Let the baby Jesus enter into your hearts and experience Emmanuel, God among us.
Steve Pokorny is the Founder of Freedom Coaching, a one-to-one mentoring system designed to break the power of pornified images. His book, Redeemed Vision: Setting the Blind Free from the Pornified Culture, is available from Charis Publishing.