FROM MARY MAGNIFYING GOD. BY WILLIAM HUMPHREY, OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE OBLATES OF ST. CHARLES. AD 1873
Now those graces were bestowed upon our Blessed Lady in her Immaculate Conception, in the first instant of her human existence, in the first moment in which she lived with a human life. Of us, as of all the children of the first Adam, two things are true. First, that we are conceived in iniquity, and brought forth in sin; and secondly, that even after we have received the gift of sanctifying grace—that gift of spiritual light and life which dispels the darkness and destroys the death of our original sin—after we have been born again by the Sacrament of the new birth, regenerated by Holy Baptism, transferred from the family of the fallen into the family of the redeemed—after we have put off the old Adam and put on the New; dissolved our spiritual connection with the first man, who is of the earth earthy, and entered into a spiritual oneness with the Second Man, the Lord from heaven; after the hateful stain left by the original transgression has been removed from our souls by the immaculate lustre of our first habitual grace—even then something is lacking to us which will only come with our increase in age and stature, with the lapse of time and the progress of the years. We as yet lack actual graces, and that simply for this reason, that as yet we are incapable of them.
Our souls inhabit and inform our infant bodies; and in virtue of this, those bodies live with a human life. Our souls within those bodies are complete as to their essence, and really possess all their faculties; but those faculties are dormant. We have not as yet their use and exercise; there is no energy of the intellectual as of the organic life. There will be a dawn of reason; and the moment is as yet in the future, when the will shall for the first time act intelligently. As yet we cannot think and know and understand, much less purpose, and determine, and resolve, and will. We are not as yet responsible for our acts. What we do is not morally imputable to us. We have neither merit nor demerit; we deserve no praise, and we incur no blame. There is no foundation for reward, and there is none for punishment.