[color=darkblue:1yq65bro]This is a post that I used to create a thread at CA on this very subject. MAYBE it will offer some help.
I believe that the non-Catholic contention that Mary could not have lived without sinning is the result of a serious lack of faith, since all the scriptures point to God’s command to live a holy life and avoid sin.
Leviticus 11 :44 For I am the Lord your God: be holy because I am holy.
Leviticus 11 :46 You shall be holy, because I am holy.
1 Peter 1 :16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.
Leviticus 20 :26 You shall be holy unto me, because I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from other people, that you should be mine.
Leviticus 19 :2 Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I the Lord your God am holy.
It makes no sense whatever for God to command us to do the impossible when the Word of God clearly says that “with God all things are possible”. Our holy lives (or lack thereof) are the direct result of our cooperation with the superabundant grace that is the gift of God. If Our Lady was indeed “full of grace” then isn’t it unbelief to say that she did not lead a sinless life? (Luke1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.)
The New Testament nowhere gives us any example of Mary’s sin and calls Joseph and many others “righteous” because they obeyed God and cooperated with His grace in their lives. It is clearly not their own works that have merited their salvation, but their works are the result of their full cooperation with the God’s graces so that their salvation is a tremendous example of the overwhelming power of the grace that God gives us to do his will. (James 2 :18 But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.
James 2 :20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2 :22 Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect?
James 2 :26 For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.)
Is it not unbelief that causes us to fall? That unbelief is why we sin;we fail to believe that God’s grace is sufficient for us, then do not cooperate with that grace and as a result fall (flat on our spiritual faces).
Romans 3 :23 For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God.
Romans 5 :12 Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.
Also…there is no distinction made between Original sin and actual sin….newborns are without actual sin until the age of reason…Adam and Eve were sinless prior to the fall. Jesus…we know was also sinless.
St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is making a de facto statement about man’s nature and unbelief in general. I don’t think it is a literal statement. This is not salvation by works at all, but our cooperation with the free gift of grace from God.
This insight was also posted by another Catholic which I thought was good as well:
Beyond the fact that the Church teaches that she did, I have this take on it. Christ has a sinless Father, and the Father, out of love for His Son, gave Him a sinless mother as well. His divine nature was begotten without sin and from a sinless father, and His human nature was conceived without sin and from a sinless mother. They were both (God the Father, and Mary) the most perfect parents Christ could have; one divine perfection, one human perfection.
In addition, I believe Mary’s sinlessness is an important point of hope for us all. The human race, while it does need the grace of God, does not need to be God Incarnate to be perfect, without sin. Through Mary, we are shown what we were all meant to be, and what we can become in the next life, though not in this. Mary points to our perfected humanity, which she was given in this life, and we can be given in the next. She reminds us that God’s creation, His people are still “very good”, though damaged.
Then when someone tried to push that Romans 3:23 passage as saying that it means that no one can live a sinless life by the grace of God….this was my response:
Do you know for sure that every person out there sins?
I stand by my statement that it is wrong to believe that no one can live a sinless life if that is indeed what God has called us to.(and we know that He has!) . The only thing that causes us to sin is our lack of faith in the grace of God and the will to CHOOSE to disobey God. Is not every sin a choice of the will? The Catholic teaching is that if I find myself in hell for all eternity it will be because I have actually chosen that destiny for myself and rejected the boundless love and mercy of God as delivered for me by Our Lord Jesus Christ. That will be the reason that I would turn away in shame and despair at the day of judgement because I would KNOW that I had chosen my own fate…
I will not choose that though, God’s grace helping me and I will make every effort to live a life that is as sinless as possible. Thanks be to God for the beautiful sacrament of reconcilliation! (TUT! That’s another thread alltogether…not this one. )