It is often said that the longest journey is from the head to the heart.

In other words, we can sometimes understand something intellectually, but until it gets into the heart–the seat of emotion and the seat of our will–it will only ever be a good idea.

This is what happened to me with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was brought up as an Evangelical fundamentalist, so not only did I assume that Catholics were “just wrong” but they were especially wrong about the Virgin Mary. We believed in the Virgin Birth and the incarnation of the Son of God, but the Virgin Mary was marginalized. We didn’t honor her, but neither did we dishonor her. She just didn’t matter. I think this attitude that Mary didn’t matter played out in our attitudes to women generally and affected the way we looked at many things–but that’s a different subject. What concerns me here is the way in which Divine Providence, while helping me to understand the dogma of the Immaculate Conception with my intellect, was at the same time, working in my life so that I would also understand and accept the dogma and really “believe” with my heart as well as my head. Read more.