Saturday, December 8, 2012
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Many people, even some Catholics, misunderstand the meaning of the term "Immaculate Conception," and they assume it has to do with the manner in which Jesus was conceived in the Virgin Mary's womb. Actually, the term refers to the fact that in the first instance of Her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, Mary was exempt from all stain of original sin. Original sin was not removed from Her soul, as it is for the rest of us, through the sacrament of Baptism; it was excluded in Her soul from the very moment of Her conception. This was a singular privilege and grace granted by God to the Mother of His Only Begotten Son.
This continual union with grace, from the very moment of Her conception, is what sets Mary apart from every other human being who has ever walked the earth. She is immaculate, preserved in a holy state of purity and perpetual virginity. This is Mary's role in Salvation History; She is ever virgin, yet fruitful mother. She was the first person to kiss the face of God, the first to believe in Jesus as Her Savior, the one disciple who never left His side or doubted Him, when others fled and doubted...She was the first Christian.
Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin
didst make Her a worthy habitation for Thy Son
and didst by his foreseen death
preserve Her from all stain of sin,
grant, we beseech Thee,
that through Her intercession
we may be cleansed from sin
and come with pure hearts to Thee.
(Benedictine Monastic Diurnal)