The Immaculate Conception of Mary

My favorite Holy Day is coming up on Monday – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  A holy day of obligation, immaculate conceptionDecember 8th falls on a Monday this year.

This is a beautiful feast day about how God cares for us before we are even conceived!  Many people misunderstand this holy day, assuming it is the conception of Jesus, but that day is celebrated with the Annunciation on April 8th.

This feast day is actually about how Mary was conceived without Original Sin.  The Church teaches that because God wanted a perfect earthly vessel through which his Son would be born as fully human, Mary, by the grace of God, was saved from the stain of Original Sin and then also lived sinless throughout her lifetime.

Biblically, this is supported by scripture that speaks of Mary as “full of grace” (Luke 1:28)  Also, Biblical scholars state that since Mary is the new Eve, she was been created in the same state of grace that Eve was first in the Garden of Eden.

The idea of the Immaculate Conception was first introduced to a young French girl, Bernadette Soubirous.  Mary appeared to her and when the future saint asked her who she was, she simply said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  Not long after was this feast day instated in our liturgical calendar!

Explaining this to our children may prove to be difficult since even adults sometimes have trouble comprehending this subject.  But here’s an easy way to break it down for them.  I have heard The Immaculate Conception described as the analogy of someone (humanity) walking down the street.  There is a big hole in the middle of the street (Original Sin) and we, through no fault of our own, fall into the hole.  Jesus is the one who pulls us out of the hole and removes our Original Sin.  In Mary’s case, instead of allowing her to fall into the hole, he simply guides her around it so that she has never had that Sin.

I hope that you have a blessed Immaculate Conception feast day!

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