Baptism is the first step by which one becomes ready to begin theosis. It's a step of purification and engrafting. Does not baptism "remove Original Sin?" Is this not purification?
To answer Papist's question, no, I don't personally believed she committed a sin, but I do believe she was "conceived in sin" as the Psalmist would say.
And I ask for you likewise, Mary, if you ever reach that peak point, let me know how that feels too
Couple of things here that had me thinking: The first is that I would be very careful about how you talk about "engrafting"...When one "grafts" successfully it is...short of genetic engineering...a melding of elements of the same species.
In the taxonomy of Baptism, the human is "Indwelled" by the divine. That is an act of a totally different order from a "grafting" of same species.
That leads me to comment that in order to be Indwelled by the Divine Trinity, one must, by definition be purified. But the idea of "purification" happens many times in a person's life when they lead a sacramental life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Theosis is, as we are all so fond of pointing out, a process...not an event.
But there is more that goes on in Baptism than some vague thing that we call purification
The spiritual stain of the original/ancestral sin is removed.
Both Catholics and Orthodox Catholics understand that spiritual stain to be what I have been calling a darkening of the intellect/soul and a weakened.
In Baptism we are Indwelled: our intellect/soul is illumined by this union with the divine and our will is strengthened, though we are still subject to the allure of evil and must continue to act in the service of the Lord to continue to gain spiritual strength to combat that allure.
This is also what my Catholic Church means by the Immaculate Conception. It deals strictly with this spiritual issue of an illumined soul and strengthened will. Like the rest of us she suffers the material consequences of the ancestral sin.
As to the spiritual life up close...I will be ecstatic when I hit a plateau and can stay there a minute
I don't disagree with much of what you say here, and I don't think using the word "engraft" would contradict your idea. But concerning the view of an "immaculate annunciation," you mention that as long as it doesn't contradict. However, it does. So, I'm not sure how you can tell people it's okay not to accept it as long as it doesn't contradict. In the end, people are pretty much are either abandoning their ideas of old to meet up with the requirements of the Catholic Church, or twisting their old ideas to make it compatible with it. I think it seems pretty straight forward that there were some theologians that considered that event of "immaculateness" or "spiritual illumination" to happen precisely at the Annunciation right before Christ's conception.
As long as we understand the potential difficulties, I don't mind using "engraft" at all. In fact I like the poetics of it...The analogous imagery is very active or cataphatic though
But I don't mind that either because at some point in the process of theosis, the silence is broken and God does speak...Should we be blessed to be listening at that point, I am sure there's plenty of room for us to respond.
As to the assertion that the Annunciation is the one and only moment of spiritual illumination, I'd say that many more did not see it that way from my own study over the years...but I don't know that it is useful to approach it from a quantitative point of view at all, counting noses to come to consensus.
It makes much more sense to me to see the process of illumination of the Virgin as a procession of moments in her life, gradually approaching theosis, beginning with her emergence into the world as a person, and reaching the mountaintop at the time of her death, when her Son returns for her and escorts her as Queen Mother into heaven. In that way there is no singularity in her development any more than there is for the rest of us. It simply happens to have been more perfect for her, by comparison, which I believe is meet, considering her role in salvation history as the Vessel.
As a play on words Maru is Japanese for Vessel...or so I am told.