A Protestant friend of mine related his struggle with the Catholic view of Mary’s sinlessless, because Mary herself expressed that she needed a Savior, in Luke 1:46-47, when she proclaimed at the start of the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
I think that there’s a simple response to this, which we find in Psalm 30:3, in which David proclaims, “You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; You spared me from going down to the pit.” In that verse, David describes two different forms of salvation: God saves him from “the realm of the dead” by taking him out once he’s already in there. But He saved him from “the pit” by preventing him from going in the first place.
Think of sin as a mud puddle. The usual way that we talk and think about God’s salvation is the first way: He washes us free from the mud we’re caked in. But He can also save by keeping us from sinning in the first place. If He couldn’t, we wouldn’t pray, “lead us not into temptation” in the Our Father.
Of the two forms of salvation, which is more perfect? The answer is obvious: it is more perfect to be saved from falling into sin then it is to be permitted to fall in, and repaired afterwards. So, for example, in Psalm 22:21, when we hear the Psalmist cry, “Save me from the mouth of the lion,” there are two ways that God could answer this cry: by taking him out of the lion’s mouth, or by preventing him from being ensnared at all. Both forms are salvation, but the second is the more perfect salvation. So yes, Mary is saved in the Catholic view. And in fact, she’s saved more perfectly than anyone else, because she’s saved even from the temporary pain and self-damage of a life of sin.
To understand the majesty and the power of the Redemption, look at the lives of two people: Mary and St. Paul. In someone like Paul, we see the depth of the forgiveness of the Redemption: he killed Christians, but was brought out of his grave sins by the love of Christ, and forgiven a large debt (Luke 7:47). This shows us that how low the Lord can reach to pull us out of sin. In someone like Mary, we see the beauty of a life without any sin, venial or mortal, original or actual. Remember, this is the way mankind was intended to live from the beginning, in God’s Sovereign design. This is how He originally made Adam and Eve. And this is the life we’ll live in Heaven. So if Paul shows how low God can reach to save us, Mary shows how high He can elevate us.
Happy Feast of the Holy Family!