‘God destined for his most holy Mother a favour worthy of the love of a Son who, since he is all-wise, all-powerful, and all-good, necessarily prepared a Mother in keeping with himself. Therefore, he willed that his redemption be applied to her in the form of a remedy that would keep her safe, so that sin which spreads down from generations to generation would not reach her.’ (Saint Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God, Ch.6)
Psychoanalysis speaks of the unconscious. By this are meant those regions of the psyche of which we are unaware. Different schools in the psychoanalytic tradition speak of individual unconscious, or like C. G. Jung, the collective unconscious. The latter refers to deeply buried collective memory which throughout generations, all members of the human family share.
It is worth raising the idea to see sin as our ‘existential unconscious’. Sin seems to leave a trace in the human memory, even if it gets forgotten by the individual, that is our common experience. What if individual sin is a memory mark, is imprinted – in however a subtle way – into our DNA itself. It becomes part of not only our psychological composite but that of our biological existence itself. Both on individual and on a collective level.
Sin, as a sequence of memories, accumulates. Unconsciously it can affect our life-decisions, way of thinking, even our worldview. (Not to mention our sense of God!) That would explain, while there are epochs, when peoples walk leaden-footed – in the wrong direction and are often blind to recognise it. We should contemplate this mystery, how ‘sin’ becomes part of our aging… How it affects our thinking, potentials, our development and our love itself.
Yet the point is to see and revisit the church’s teaching on Mary’s ‘perfect nature’. Cannot we see it as if the ‘shadow-dimension’ is not present in her DNA? Sin is simply not part of her ‘existential unconscious’. Just like in the case of Jesus Christ. (Or, to lesser extent, this is the case of great religious figures and divines in all traditions?) This condition gave them an unparalleled susceptibility to God’s presence and guidance. Their decisions, their prayers were not blocked at all by what weighs us down, sin, our existential unconscious.
If the above model has a truth in it, one might understand the importance of bringing this hidden dimension before God, who alone can reveal and treat our fallenness.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..