Saturday, December 8, 2007

Immaculate Conception

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother was declared a dogma of the faith in 1854 by Pope Pius IX with the promulgation of his Constitution Ineffabilis Deus. This dogma holds that Miriam of Nazareth, the Mother of God, "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin." This does not mean she was conceived, like her Son, in an extraordinary manner, but in the manner that human beings are normally conceived. Tradition tells us that the names of her parents are Sts. Anne and Joachim. The Immaculate Conception means that she was free from all sin, including original sin (i.e., she was born in a state of original grace, like our first human parents). But, again, unlike her Son, she was not sinless in and of herself, but by "singular privilege and grace".

In addition to deductive theology, Mary's Immaculate Conception was revealed in a rather profound way, not to a bishop, a priest, or a theologian, but to a simple peasant girl who had difficulty learning her catechism, St. Bernadette Soubrious in Lourdes, France, a town at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, a range that constitutes both the geographical and political border between France and Spain. The apparitions began on 11 February 1858. The Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived without sin is the patroness of the United States. Our national shrine, located in Washington, D.C. is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In addition to our usual Sunday obligation, today is a holy of day of obligation. So, take a break from all the seasonal madness and attend Mass, pray a decade of the rosary, the Joyful Mysteries, lifting up all manner of intentions and concerns to the intercession of our Blessed Mother, who is full of grace.

3 comments:

  1. I saw this a bit late - about 1:30 PM. We had a visiting priest at Mass last Sunday who didn't do announcements. We didn't read the bulletin. And, nothing was said at religious ed either Tuesday or Wednesday night. And we had an minor ice storm. I did get to Sunday vigil, and yes, I know I need to go tomorrow (weather permitting). Oi.

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  2. it may be a case of cascading failure...

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