Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8: A Holy Day of Obligation

News December 1, 2021

God chose Mary, the Immaculate Conception, to be our “model of holiness” (Preface) by preserving her entirely from original sin, making her all-pure and all-holy. In doing this God also shows us what is possible for us, too, wounded by sin – the healing and restoration of our whole humanity. The intercession and maternal love of the Immaculate One, given to us as our Mother, is the special way God has chosen to bestow upon us the grace of such a healing. As the Mother of our Savior, Mary shares uniquely in his redemptive sacrifice. We turn to her with confidence, for she is “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” Immaculate Mary, pray for us!

From the MAGNIFICAT December 202 issue. Copyright MAGNIFICAT-Used with permission.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854. “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by the virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” (CCC 491)

“Even she was saved by Christ, but in an extraordinary way, because God wanted that the mother of his Son not be touched by the misery of sin from the moment of conception. And thus, for the entire course of her earthly life, Mary was free from any stain of sin, she was “full of grace” (Lk 1:28), as the angel called her. She was favored by a unique action of the Holy Spirit so as to always remain in perfect relationship with her Son, Jesus. Indeed, she was Jesus’ disciple: his Mother and disciple. But there was no sin in her.”

—Pope Francis, Angelus, December 8, 2020

“Dear friends, in Mary Immaculate we contemplate the reflection of the Beauty that saves the world: the beauty of God resplendent on the Face of Christ. In Mary this beauty is totally pure, humble, free from all pride and presumption.”

—Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, December 8, 2008

“In Mary the Word of God is met with listening, acceptance and a response; he encounters that “yes” which enables him to take flesh and to come and dwell among us.”

—Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, December 8, 2012