Immaculate Conception

Nothing is impossible for God!

The words of the Angel Gabriel should ring in our ears as well. Nothing is impossible for God!

Not even sparing our Blessed Mother from falling into the state of original sin. This dogma of the Faith–something we must believe–was solemnly defined by Blessed Pius IX on December 8, 1854–“most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful” (Ineffabilis Deus).This great solemnity demonstrates three things to us: 1. The continuity of Church teaching throughout the ages, 2. Our Blessed Mother’s triumph over evil and 3. Holiness is not boring.

This aspect of our faith was evident in the prayers, liturgies, and writings from even the very early days of the Church. So many now think that it is best to simply create everything anew, all the time. In fact men are now allowed to recreate themselves as women, women as men, and who knows how many other options there are now. Even marriage is totally mocked–it is now apparently an option to marry oneself. Not only is such an approach to life truly exhausting–always having to create something new-but it is against how God made us. In fact, we can see the explanation of this in the first reading–here that perfect harmony between man and creation, between man and woman, between the person within himself, is broken because of the desire to be like God. In attempting to remove the clear moral teaching as given to us by the Church, we will experience the promised pains of the fall.

As we approach the end of the first reading, we hear something very powerful: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The devil’s great foes: our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Perhaps you have seen a statue of our Blessed Mother standing upon the serpant. May she crush the demons that promote abortion, contraception, pornography, divorce, cohabitation, and breakdown of the family…if any of these is something that you have been involved with, bring it to our Lord in the confessional.

These are direct attacks against God’s plan for us, and against the family. Do we not see the fruits? Despair. Divorce. Broken families. We just need to turn on the television to hear of more and more scandal and accusations.

It is as if we are in the midst of winter–we desperately need and want springtime. Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Conception is like the first shoot of a plant in spring. What joy this brings to us! Let us invoke our Immaculate Mother, full of grace, to intercede. God the Father has chosen us to be holy and without blemish. That is, He created you and me to be alive at this very point in history to become saints. To be truly alive.

What better way to counteract the evil we face today than by looking to the Blessed Mother to provide a sure and clear example: saying yes to one’s vocation, then not giving in to any cowardice in the face of temptations. One of the temptations of the devil is very subtle: this sense that perhaps we get that to be holy means to live a boring life. Holiness is not boring. It is the most deeply felt adventure that one could experience. Look to the Saints–they were such a variety of characters! From Saint Lawrence, a deacon burned on a gridiron who apparently remarked: “turn me over, I’m done on this side!” to Saint John Vianney who rejoiced when Pius IX declared this dogma and had a great celebration in his parish, wearing beautiful vestments. The Saints are like a crystal–when light hits a crystal, one can see the spectrum of light. They struggled like you and me. Let us run to our Lord’s mercy in the confessional and adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament. What would our world be like if instead of turning on the television in the evening, we would first pray a Rosary for the strengthening of families and more vocations to the priesthood in the diocese?

Perhaps one might think–Mary is perfect, I am not. Thus, I cannot approach or understand her. Quite the opposite! Since she is full of grace, without a single small stain of any sin, her charity towards each of us is absolute. No selfishness, no desire for revenge, no pride. Only pure motherly love who wants to turn us to Christ to save our souls. Who would not want to approach such a mother during this time? Mary gives us a challenge–the more open you and I are to God and God’s plan in our lives, the more joy we will have. Such a joy will be able to bear any suffering. The closer we are to Mary, the closer we are to God. On this great day, let us draw closer and closer to the Blessed Mother, perhaps even praying this over and over: “show us that you are truly our mother!”

“Looking at Mary, how can we, her children, fail to let the aspiration to beauty, goodness and purity of heart be aroused in us? Her heavenly candour [openness, frankness, sincerity] draws us to God, helping us to overcome the temptation to live a mediocre life composed of compromises with evil, and directs us decisively towards the authentic good that is the source of joy.” Benedict XVI, 8 December, 2005

Read the Letter by Pope Pius IX declaring this dogma, Ineffabilis Deus. This has a great explanation of this dogma of faith down through the centuries.

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