Bruteau's essay "The Immaculate Conception, Our Original Face" presents a new outlook on what the Immaculate Conception is all about. My favorite point made be her in the essay was that if we look at the perfection of Mary as a gift from god, we can admire her, respect her, and even worship her, but we can never be her. Bruteau says that viewing our religious icons in this manner renders them spiritually useless. I agree.
The way I see what Bruteau is saying is kind of hard to explain, but I will attempt to do so by drawing an analogy. I think that Breteau is saying that most Christians view the Virgin Mary in the same manner that I would view a great work of art. When I see a work by Picasso or Da Vinci I think about how magnificent this work of art I am seeing is. I think about what effort and struggle the artist must have gone through to create it, and I appreciate, and admire the beauty of the piece I am looking at. I also think though, that I will never be able to create such a beautiful work of art myself. The artistic vision and ability to express that vision is not a talent that I posses. It is not something I am capable of. This is the same way that Bruteau presents most Christians as seeing the Virgin Mary. If we see her in this way, then we will never possess the qualities that she does. But then you could take for example the way that I see my parents marriage. When I look at my parents I see true love between them, even after still being married for 24 years they are still in love. I see that and I think to myself that it is beautiful, I have a tremendous amount of respect for it, and I also have a tremendous amount of admiration towards them for it. The difference between their love and the beautiful piece of art is that I believe that someday, I too will reach the state that my parents are in. I believe that I have in myself the capacity to love and be loved as truly as my parents do. Therefore I see the beauty of their love as something that is quite accessible in my own life. I think that Bruteau is trying to suggest that we should see Mary's state of sinlessness as something to be admired, and strived for. Not something to be appreciated and dismissed as unreachable in our own lives.
Another part of the essay that I enjoyed was the part where she talked about free flowing unself conscious life. I found it really interesting. It was kind of hard to understand, but my basic understanding of it was is like this: when you are part of free flowing life and not conscious of the fact that you will exist, have existed, or do exist, you do not sin because you do not view yourself as separate from all life. It is when you develop a consciousness about yourself and the fact that you exist that you see the world in opposition to you. Suddenly everything is not part of you, except for the physical manifestation of your consciousness. Now that you are separate from the free flowing unconscious life, you sin as a natural tendency. I don't know if that is exactly a correct summary of what Bruteau was trying to say, but that was my understanding of it.
I like this idea a lot in one way because to me if you take this definition of life, it explains love in one of the most easily understood, and yet beautiful ways I have ever thought of. If you see yourself as no longer part of the free flowing unself conscious life, then all other beings are opposite, and not part of you. If you accept that, then you can see love as letting someone break that barrier of opposition. Wether it is a friend or a spouse, your love for them allows them to break the barrier of opposition, and freely flow through again as was meant to be from the beginning before you both