Archdiocese of Mobile

Office for Evangelization and Family Life

Immaculate Conception

Date posted: December 8, 2014

our lady of guadalupeToday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  It is a holy day of obligation for us.  But, what is this feast day all about?  Well ultimately it is about the transcendence of God, but more specifically it is about Mary’s soul at the moment she was conceived within her mother’s womb.


We believe that when Joachim and Ann conceived Mary (in the natural way that couples conceive children) that God kept Mary from the stain of Original Sin.  There are a bunch of points to make about what we believe, but two will suffice here.


First, it is important to be clear that this gratuitous gift from God is given out of deference to the Divine Word who will inhabit Mary’s womb some years later.  Look, if I am going to have a glass of Boonsberry Farm wine, I will gladly pour that into a Dixie cup.  But, if I am given a $500 bottle of some fine wine, I am going to pour that into our best crystal.  In fact, I am going to make sure that the crystal glass is cleaned out (you know how they collect dust).  This concern for the cup has nothing to do with the cup, and everything to do with the wine.  Mary is kept free from every stain of sin precisely because God is going to pour the finest “new wine” into her!


Second, this grace is from the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ.  In other words, God could only do this in anticipation of the coming redemption.  I mean if God could erase Original Sin without the death of his son, wouldn’t he have done that for everyone?  Jesus is Mary’s savior.  He just saved her differently than he saves us.  Imagine I pull you out of a pit of mud.  In a manner of speaking, I am your savior.  You are stained by the mud though.  Imagine further that I “save” someone else by not letting them fall into the mud in the first place.  Aren’t I their savior as well?  Of course I am, but they would not be stained.

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