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Proverbs 8:22–36 states the following:

22 “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,before his deeds of old;

23 I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.

24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water;

25 before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,

26 before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth.

27 I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

28 when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

29 when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

30 Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,

31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.

33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.

34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.

35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

My question is, who is the Wisdom described here? It seems that God created this being and it was present with Him before creation time began?

I'm looking for a Catholic perspective.

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    There is a question on Bible Hermeneutics whose accepted answer answers your question.Link.. – Nigel J Jun 26 '18 at 10:18
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    Marian, asking for the view of any tradition with a "solid biblical explanation" would result in a variety of different answers that disagree with each other – from Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others. We try to avoid such debates in answers by focusing on one tradition at a time when dealing with doctrine or contentious passages. I've edited your question accordingly. Thanks! – Nathaniel Jun 26 '18 at 13:15
  • @Nathaniel Thanks for your editing my question. – marian agustin Jun 27 '18 at 7:05
  • Related: Who is Wisdom in Proverbs? – Nathaniel Aug 15 '18 at 17:48
  • I Googled the word "personification" and encounteted some interesting sites. Many, if not all, of these sites discuss personifications in the Bible. For instance, two examples that I came across were: "Then the moon will be abashed, and the sun ashamed" (Isaiah; 24:23). And: "What have you done? Listen; your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground" Genesis 4:10). – Constantthin Oct 30 '18 at 23:33
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Catholic theologians have consistently identified "Wisdom" in Proverbs 8 as the Christ. For example, we find a recent example in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:

The personification of Wisdom in the OT prepares for the revelation of the Trinity in the NT. In particular, this theme reaches its full development when Jesus is revealed as the eternal Son of God. Not only is Christ the incarnation of God's wisdom (1 Cor 1:24), but he was present with God before the foundation of the world. (commentary on 8:22–31)

And again:

The passage is a prophecy of the Incarnation, meaning the Lord Jesus was created of the Virgin for the purpose of redeeming the works of the Father. Thus, the flesh of Christ is for the sake of created things, yet his divinity existed before them. (commentary on 8:22)

This understanding goes back to the early church. Justin Martyr connects Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22–24 to Christ in his Dialogue with Trypho, 129, and the Apostolic Constitutions connects the creation of wisdom with the incarnation of Christ:

Thou hast also appointed festivals for the rejoicing of our souls, that we might come into the remembrance of that wisdom which was created by Thee; how He submitted to be made of a woman on our account (7.2.36)

Ambrose is pretty unequivocal:

Hereby we are brought to understand that the prophecy of the Incarnation, The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works, (Proverbs 8:22) means that the Lord Jesus was created of the Virgin for the redeeming of the Father's works. Truly, we cannot doubt that this is spoken of the mystery of the Incarnation. (Exposition of the Christian Faith, 3.7.46)

This text was a key battleground in the Arian controversy, so we find Athanasius repeatedly making the connection between Wisdom and Christ:

For nothing new was created in woman, save the Lord's body, born of the Virgin Mary without intercourse, as also it says in the Proverbs in the person of Jesus: 'The Lord created me, a beginning of His ways for His works' (Proverbs 8:22). (Statement of Faith 3.4)

Bede writes in his commentary on Proverbs:

In another translation, this passage begins, "The Lord created me at the beginning of his ways in his works." The fathers understand this saying to be about the Lord's incarnation. (1.8.22–30 (Latin only))

We can also point to the implicit connection made between Proverbs 8 and Christ in Aquinas, Summa, First Part, 46.1.

Returning to the 20th century, we find a helpful collection/summary of this tradition in Haydock's commentary:

Some explain this [Proverbs 8:1] of the light which is communicated to men; but the Fathers apply it to Jesus Christ, some of the expressions regarding his divinity, and others his human nature. [...]

As Christ was with God, equal to him in eternity. Jo. i. Sept. "created," which many of the Fathers explain of the word incarnate, (see Corn. a Lapide. Bossuet) or he hath "placed me," (S. Athan. iii. con. Arian. Euseb.) a pattern of all virtues. [...]

Wisdom, or Jesus Christ, is our salvation, happiness, and life. (Commentary on Proverbs 8)

Thus we see that, in addition to other ancient and modern thinkers, some of the most respected theologians in Catholicism (Ambrose, Athanasius, Bede, and Aquinas are all Doctors of the Church), considered "Wisdom" of Proverbs 8:22ff. as referring to Christ.

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    'The Lord created me, a beginning of His ways for His works' (Proverbs 8:22).Are you saying that Jesus was created? The better school of thoughts is that Church officially teaches is Jesus is "begotten" of the Father.And Mary as Arch.Fulton Sheen said is "God's DREAMED" in eternity also in CCC stating Ephesians1:3-4, Mary existed before the creation time begin.Jesus the "Begotten Son" of the Father "begots or create" the "soul of his Mother in eternity. – jong ricafort Aug 15 '18 at 22:47
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    @jongricafort I'm not saying anything; I'm reporting the views of the most respected theologians of the Catholic Church. But to get at your question, no, of course Athanasius and the others mentioned here are trinitarians and do not believe that Jesus was created. In fact the Arians made exactly the same argument you are making, that "created" in 8:22 means Jesus was created, and Athanasius and other great minds demonstrated that that was not the right way to interpret the text and thus defended Trinitarianism. – Nathaniel Aug 15 '18 at 22:59
  • St.Montfort affirmed your posted commentary coming from Church Fathers & Theologians, by teaching the Wisdom into two "Uncreated Wisdom is Jesus" and the "Created Wisdom" is the answer to all your posted commentaries, Why? it is mostly inclined to the definition that Wisdom in Proverbs8:1 is only a "personification & manifestation of the Holy Spirit". It is not directly pointing to Jesus but implying a "perfect personication of Jesus & image of the Holy Spirit.That's why in not directly pointing to Jesus the Arians saw a gray area, an unclear teaching.St.montfort cleared that out. – jong ricafort Aug 15 '18 at 23:21
  • to clear out your statement saying "i am making the same arguments like the Arians"..Can you please pinpoint that kind of statement to my answer? – jong ricafort Aug 18 '18 at 23:01
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    Great answer. This truly refers to the Blessed Trinity in general and to the Christ in particular. Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit according to Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran belief. 1 Corinthians 12:8–10 gives an alternate list of nine virtues, among which wisdom is one. St. Thomas Aquinas considered wisdom to be the "father" (i.e. the cause, measure, and form) of all virtues. – Ken Graham Nov 4 '18 at 0:07
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St.Louis De Montfort Book on the "Love of Eternal Wisdom" provides a clear path to determine who is the Wisdom spoken by Solomon in Proverbs8.

St.Montfort distinguised Wisdom as Natural and Supernatural, and from the Supernatural he divides it further into to two which is the Created Wisdom and Uncreated Wisdom.

The Uncreated Wisdom St.Montfort teaches as the Incarnate Word, the LOGOS and it is Jesus Christ.

excerpt from St.Monfort book (Love of Eternal Wisdom p.4)

Natural wisdom is the knowledge, in an outstanding degree, of natural things in their principles. Supernatural wisdom is knowledge of supernatural and divine things in their origin. This supernatural wisdom is divided into substantial or uncreated Wisdom, and accidental or created wisdom. Accidental or created wisdom is the communication that uncreated Wisdom makes of himself to mankind. In other words, it is the gift of wisdom. Substantial or uncreated Wisdom is the Son of God, the second person of the most Blessed Trinity. In other words, it is eternal Wisdom in eternity or Jesus Christ in time.

Answer to question

Let's look & examine the wordings of St.Montfort on the Created Wisdom and how he defined it.

Accidental or created wisdom is the communication that Uncreated Wisdom makes of himself to mankind. In other words, it is the gift of wisdom.

Let's supply Jesus instead of Uncreated Wisdom to the phrase:

"Created Wisdom is the communication of Jesus Christ makes of himself to mankind.In other words, the Created Wisdom is the gift of Wisdom.

Therefore, the Created Wisdom from St.Montfort, Jesus "makes it" to communicate Himself to mankind.

Deeper understanding and attempt to reflect on the wordings would leads to;

Understanding it more deeply, it means Created Wisdom is a gift to all believers in understanding the revelation of who Jesus is.In case of Solomon in Proverbs8:22-36 he is not asking for the revelation of the Saviour, he is asking for the gift of wisdom to govern his people.

The gift of wisdom/Created Wisdom became parallel to Christ Anointing which is the Holy Spirit himself but the revelation/operative in fullness is revealed from glory to glory, meaning gradually as Jesus advances to fulfill His mission.

In this understanding Created Wisdom, from Solomon to Jesus time is also revealed in the fullness gradually as the description of Wisdom is the personification of Jesus and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ lived the "gift of wisdom" in full as He is the source of Wisdom and cosubstantial and united to the Holy Spirit.

But we know that the Created Wisdom is like a full & perfect reflection of Jesus Christ the Uncreated Wisdom.

If we can answer who is the full and perfect reflection of Jesus Christ then we can discover who is the Created Wisdom or the gift of wisdom according to St.Montfort.

From the Catholic Church Teaching it teaches St.Augustine belief by calling Mary as the "Seat of Wisdom", And this teaching is affirmed in CCC721.

721 Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."

In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:

In CCC721, we can see that Mary was described as the "dwelling place of the Son" and also the "dwelling place of the Holy Spirit" and even among men.

Now were getting clearer, Mary is the "Seat of Wisdom" as CCC721 teaches.

And Mary became the fitting description of the full & perfect reflection of Jesus Christ and the manifestation of the Love & Mercy of the Holy Spirit.

The question is, is the Catholic Church teaches that "Mary is the perfect personification and manifestation of the Holy Spirit?

Going back to Wisdom in Proverbs8, the answer to this can be clearly seen from Solomon Prayer in Wisdom9:1-4 gives a good details of what Solomon is asking God to give him.

What kind of Wisdom did Solomon ask in Wisdom9:1-4?

“O God of my ancestors and Lord of mercy, who have made all things by your word,and by your wisdom have formed humankind to have dominion over the creatures you have made, and rule the world in holiness and righteousness, and pronounce judgment in uprightness of soul, give me the wisdom that sits by your throne,

Let's examine the difference of the Wisdom that Solomon asked God and the Wisdom that the Catholic Church teaches in CCC721.

"Solomon said "give me the wisdom that sits by your throne,"

We can see Solomon a King is asking a Wisdom to govern his people as King., and this Wisdom according to Solomon is Created and emanates from God as the source of Wisdom and this Created Wisdom is a "spirit that sits on God's throne"

Now, in contrast Mary's prayer was a totally different one, the handmaid of the Lord is asking God to grant the prayers of His people to send them a Savior.

Mary was not praying for Created Wisdom, Mary is asking for the Uncreated Wisdom to come the LOGOS our Savior Jesus Christ.

And Mary being the handmaid is asking for the "King of Kings and the Lord of Lords to come", She is not after for the Wisdom in Proverbs8:22 that King Solomon asked.

So to answer who is the Wisdom in Proverbs8:22 that Solomon prayed for and asked God?

Clearly King Solomon was not asking for the Logos/Uncreated Wisdom but a Created Wisdom a gift of Wisdom to govern his people as King of Israel.

Solomon describes Wisdom as a Mother, Teacher, Consoler,Comforter and a Prophet.

All this is the manifestation too of the "Advocate,Paraclete,Helper,Spirit of Truth" in John gospel.

And since spirit of Created Wisdom existed before the creation began.

There is only one creature "a soul of a Mother" who existed too before the creation time began, She existed in eternity as a Divine Thought "Chosen to be the Theotokos" and the Cathecism of the Catholic Church teaches this doctrine as an article of faith.

For added biblical support; aside from the Most Holy Trinity in the Book of Genesis before creation time begin in Genesis1:3 "LET THERE BE LIGHT".

It is worthy to reflect on Genesis1:2

And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.

One school of thought on this verse supported Colossians1:16, because this passage can be interpreted as the earth was empty & void because everything is created for Him/Jesus and in Him.Jesus must be created first.

And so this passage is composed, of the Holy Spirit forming Jesus/Logos into the waters of the Womb of Mary.(this is not only my reflections I saw this in one of CSE thread question and expound it deeper by relating it to Colossians).

So, we can relate that the "soul of Mary" existing in the Divine Thought of God from eternity is witnessing God's creation, Mary is the highest and exalted among all creatures including angels because She existed outside of time.(Ephesians1:3-4)

Catholic official teaching in Catechism states, Mary was chosen in eternity and existed in the Divine thought.

Therefore, if we embraced the combined reflections and narration of Wisdom in Proverbs, Sirach, Ecclesiates,Psalm, Book of Wisdom, etc. we can see that the passages pertains to a Created Wisdom one that is on the side of the Almighty God watching how He created everything and in time became the instrument of God revelation of his Divine Plan for man's salvation.

Let me close by saying this;

In eternity God desires to share His goodness by creating mankind.

In eternity God the Father begotten His only beloved Son.

In eternity, after God begotten His beloved Son co-substantial and One with Him, the Begotten Son dreamed of a Mother in eternity.

The Begotten Son, "begots" and "created" an image of Her Mother in eternity.

In eternity the Holy Spirit chosen the the Dreamed Mother to be Her Spouse.

And so CCC721 stated,

Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men...

In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."

enter image description here

In closing, Solomon was given the gift of wisdom to govern but it does not pertains to the Saviour Jesus Christ.While Mary She became the "Seat of Wisdom".

Now, how can we reconcile Mary depicted in the image as the "Seat of Wisdom", if Jesus is Wisdom?

Let's ponder the prayer of King Solomon;

"Give me that Wisdom that sits by your throne." (Wis 8.21; 9.4)

In the image, the Wisdom Jesus Christ does not sits on the Throne, rather Jesus sits on Mary's lap and so Mary is the one sitting on the Throne.

Is Jesus the Incarnate Wisdom ascending into Heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father, be fulfilling the prophecy in the Old Teastament that a King will give the Throne to the Queen?(it's good to ponder this)

As Mary's Seven Sorrows merited the full & perfect dwelling place to house the Sevenfold Gifts of the Holy Spirit and upon entering into Heavenly Glories was crowned "Sovereign Queen of Heaven & Earth".

and the mystery behind all this is beautifully and powerfully phrase by St.Louis De Montfort;

WISDOM is the Cross and the Cross is WISDOM.

  • As to this part in your answer: "The Uncreated Wisdom St.Montfort teaches as the Incarnate Word, the LOGOS and >it is Jesus Christ."...are you saying that "the Wisdom" is Jesus Christ? – user100487 Aug 15 '18 at 15:50
  • The answer I gave according to St.Montfort, Wisdom is classified as Natural & Supernatural. Under supernatural Wisdom, there is the Uncreated Wisdom and Created Wisdom. St.Montfort saaid that the Uncreated Wisdom is Jesus Christ, but for the Created Wisdom St.Montfort said it is the Gift of the Holy Spirit. That's why King Solomon acquired the Created Wisdom as a gift.The Wisdom in question pertaining to Proverbs8:22-36, my answer is "a personification of Jesus and manifestation of the Holy Spirit"., my understanding it pertains to a person that is a perfect reflection of Jesus & HS. – jong ricafort Aug 15 '18 at 16:15
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    Did Montfort or any other Catholic theologian explicitly mention Mary in the context of explaining who Wisdom is in this passage? – Nathaniel Aug 15 '18 at 17:42
  • I overhauled my answer, i hope the unnecessary character was already gone.Yes, Mary was greatly discussed by Montfort as the surest and easiest way to obtained Wisdom. I hope it recoil to your memory who offered "the shortest way to become like God" by offering false wisdom.And Mary now is also offering the "shortest,easiest,safest way to acquire Wisdom".Truly Mary and Satan are "perennial enmity". – jong ricafort Aug 15 '18 at 22:32
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According to Catholicism, who is the Wisdom being described in Proverbs 8:22–36?

Three question need to be answered first to better clarity;

  1. Is Wisdom created? YES!, if Wisdom is created it is not Jesus nor the Holy Spirit.

  2. Is Wisdom a a created Spirit? Yes!, it is the spirit that sits on God Throne as Solomon described in his prayer.

  3. Is the spirit of created Wisdom comes as a form of Anointing?Yes, St.Montfort teaches that Wisdom is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Answer

The most direct way of linking the Wisdom to Mary is the title Mother of the Eucharist, Why? Proverbs9:1-6 describes the Wisdom had prepared a house or a Church with a strong foundation of Seven Columns/Pillars and calling everyone to celebrate a Feast and eat the meat and wine that had been prepare at the table for them to have life.

This passages confirmed Mary as the type of a strong Church that the Holy Spirit has prepared and from Her united with he Holy Spirit had prepared what Jesus later on teaches as the "Holy Eucharist" that will give eternal life to all. John Gospel John6:53-55

Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns;

she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table.

She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city: “Let whoever is simple turn in here; To the one who lacks understanding,

she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!

Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.”

Now, let us connect the wordings of Wisdom9:1-6 to St.Louis De Monfort teaching;

she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table...and she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Does this words pre-figured the Holy Eucharist that the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit had prepared and sanctified? And where does the Holy Eucharist comes from? It comes from the Blessed Virgin Mary's Pure & Immaculate Flesh.

St.Montfort describes this with this words;

Together with the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary produced the greatest thing that was or ever will be: a God-Man.https://sdbvnew.weebly.com/totus-tuus.html

This articles titled "Mary and the Eucharist" reflected on Mary in comparison to the monstrance that hold the Holy Eucharist as the Pure Womb of Mary.

On this day, I was presented with a monstrance I had never seen before. It opened up for me the mystery of Mary symbolically and visually in a way I had never experienced. The monstrance was an Image of Our Lady and the Divine Host was positioned within her womb. The message was profound. The Jesus who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist is the same Jesus who lived in the womb of that Holy Virgin for nine months.

Jesus told the disciples, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you" (John 6:53 ff). We who receive the bread of angels, who have been invited to the Eucharistic Feast, now have His Divine life within us. We spiritually bring Christ into a world waiting to be reborn. We are called to become living monstrances, repositories of the Bread of life for others. Mary is the model who shows us the way.

https://www.catholic.org/mary/maryeu.php

How about the Seven Columns, what does it pertains?

In summary, we might say that the seven pillars of wisdom are (1) counsel, (2) knowledge, (3) understanding, (4) might or strength, (5) power or authority, (6) riches and (7) honor. These are seven characteristics of wisdom.

Proverbs 8:14, "Counsel is mine and sound the wisdom"

Proverbs 8:12, "Wisdom dwells with prudence and finds out knowledge."

Proverbs 8:14B, "I am understanding, power is mine."

Proverbs 8:18, "Riches and honor are with me."

Proverbs 14:24, "The crown of the wise is their riches."

Proverbs 15:23, "The reverential fear of YHWH is the instruction of wisdom. And before honor is humility."

The Seven Columns or Seven Pillars correspond to the Sevenfold Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The succeeding verse in Proverbs9:1-6 speaks of "she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table" is a pre-figurement of the Holy Eucharist prepared by the Holy Spirit together with the Lady Wisdom as Wisdom is personified as a Woman.

Looking at the numerous verses pointing to Mary and the Eucharist and the Sevenfold Gifts or graces that the Holy Eucharist gives to every believers who will accept the invitation of the Wisdom. And this Wisdom as Proverbs8:22 had described as;

22 “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,before his deeds of old;

23 I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.

To understand this phrase, Sis.Ingga had a very powerful talks narrated beautifully St.Faustina's revelation;

"Mercy is the flower of Love, in Love it is conceived and in deeds it is revealed".

Sr. Inga Kvassayová speaks about "God's Greatest Desire" on January 22, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob6cs21Xlm0

How can this simple phrase reveals the identification of the Wisdom and mystery behind Proverbs8:22-23?

The Wisdom in Proverbs8:22 is a "Created Spirit" that sits on God's Throne as Solomon stated in his prayer in the Book of Wisdom; "give me Wisdom that sits on God's Throne"

This takes a deep meditation on how God immediately created a soul at the moment of conception as Catholic Church teaches in CCC366.

The question is, when God the Father and the Begotten Son conceived a Love for the chosen Woman in eternity before the creation time begins, what is immediately produced or created? It cannot be a soul as soul not glorified cannot enter the Glorious Presence of God in eternity.What God immediately produced or created is a "spirit" the "Spirit of Created Wisdom" that God decreed to be the Anointing of Mary's soul as the Created Immaculate Conception.

Two names given by God the Father in Heaven the Holy Name of Jesus & Mary. Jesus anointing was the Holy Spirit while Mary's anointing is the "spirit of Created Wisdom". The "spirit of Created Wisdom" is the spirit who witness God's creation in the beginning and knows the Divine Plan of God from alpha to omega.

As the meaning of Mary signifies Her God given mission;

Richard of St. Laurence states "there is not such powerful help in any name, nor is there any other name given to men, after that of Jesus, from which so much salvation is poured forth upon men as from the name of Mary." He continues, "that the devout invocation of this sweet and holy name leads to the acquisition of superabundant graces in this life, and a very high degree of glory in the next."http://www.themostholyrosary.com/appendix8.htm

This reflections is clearly seen in the teaching of St.Maximillian Kolbe when he attributed the Holy Spirit as the Uncreated Immaculate Conception and Mary as the Created Immaculate Conception. (p.50-64 St.Kolbe's teaching on the Fr.Gaitley book 33 Days to Morning Glory.)

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