Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

December 8, 2009

Immaculate Conception Day

"You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is neither blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these? (St. Ephraim: Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A. D. 361])

Happy Feast, my sisters!! This is one of my favorite feasts in the Church, perhaps because my middle name refers to it, perhaps because I think it is one of the most glorious of feast days. So often, people get this phrase 'Immaculate Conception' mixed up, thinking it refers to the fact that Christ was conceived with no earthly father. But really, it refers to Mary's conception without original sin. Yes, from the moment of her conception in the womb of St. Anna, Christ has accomplished for Mary the gift of sinlessness. I think of it sort of like her baptism, but at the moment of conception. No sin could ever touch her. EWTN's website gives a beautiful little reflection on this point, part of which I'll quote here:
Mary, in her conception, was not only free from stain, but moreover was adorned with the most precious graces, so as to appear beautiful and glorious in the eyes of God. And the grace she then received was the seed of the great virtues which she exercised, and the higher graces to which, by the improvement of her first stock, she was afterwards raised, during the whole course of her mortal life. By the first graces she was free from all inclination to accursed pride and from all inordinate self-love, and remained always perfectly empty of herself. This disposition she expressed when honoured with the highest graces and exalted to the most sublime and wonderful spiritual dignity; under which, sinking lower in her own abyss of weakness and nothingness, she sincerely and purely gave all glory to him.
And the glory of it all for us? We share in that inheritance through our baptism and look forward to being perfected in heaven! It's such a glorious feast to have during Advent, because it demonstrates to us by tangible proof of what Christ came to earth to accomplish for us. So enjoy the day, and give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His mercy endures forever.

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