Ave Maria Meditations
What does Mary being “Immaculate” mean? And what does this title tell us?… After the Original Sin, God addresses the serpent, which represents Satan, curses it and adds a promise: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel (Gn 3:15). lt is the announcement of revenge: at the dawn of the creation, Satan seems to have the upper hand, but the Son of a woman is to crush his head.
Thus, through the offspring of a woman, God himself will triumph. Goodness will triumph. That woman is the Virgin Mary of whom was born Jesus Christ who, with his sacrifice, defeated the ancient tempter once and for all. This is why in so many paintings and statues of the Virgin Immaculate she is portrayed in the act of crushing a serpent with her foot.
Luke the Evangelist, on the other hand, shows the Virgin Mary receiving the Annunciation of the heavenly Messenger (cf. Lk 1:26-38). She appears as the humble, authentic daughter of Israel, the true Zion in which God wishes to take up his abode. She is the shoot from which the Messiah, the just and merciful King, is to spring. In the simplicity of the house of Nazareth dwells the pure remnant of Israel from which God wants his people to be reborn, like a new tree that will spread its branches throughout the world, offering to all humanity the good fruit of salvation. Unlike Adam and Eve, Mary stays obedient to the Lord’s will; with her whole being she speaks her “yes” and makes herself entirely available to the divine plan. She is the new Eve, the true “Mother of all the living,” namely, those who because of their faith in Christ receive eternal life.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI