Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

In 1854, Pope Pius IX’s declared in his “Ineffabilis Deus” that Mary was conceived free from original sin. This privilege of extraordinary grace is granted through our Savior, Jesus Christ, though in Mary’s case, it was given in light of the future resurrection of Jesus. In simpler terms, Mary received the gift of salvation from the very moment of her conception.

On December 8, we celebrate this belief through the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. It is held nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary and is one of the most important Marian feasts in the Catholic liturgical calendar.

What makes Mary unique from the rest of humanity is that she was born without sin. It is because of this that she is held up by the Church as someone we can model ourselves after. Her willingness to accept God’s plan, along with her grace, purity, and holiness, set her apart.

Like Mary, we are all called to obey and carry out God’s plan for our lives. Mary’s did not hesitate in her willingness to accept what the Lord asked of her. This should be our response to whatever it is that God asks of us. 

Because each of us is born a sinner, it is deep within us to resist God and focus instead on our own wants. We must rely, then, on God’s help to turn from our sins and become a person who focuses on God’s will for our life, rather than our own. If we are unable to do this, our selfish tendencies will pull us away from the Lord.

We are blessed to follow a God who not only heals us from our past sins, but also helps protect us from our own capacity for sin. This is all through the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by God through the merits of Jesus. Mary was granted this grace from the moment of her conception.

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a joyful time for us to celebrate God’s gift to humanity. We can rest in the knowledge that each one of us has been created by God with a plan for each of our lives.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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