This week we celebrate the great Marian Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This mystery highlights Our Lady’s sinlessness from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Ann. As Pope Pius IX declared in 1854, “The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.” In other words, from the first moment of her existence, Our Lady was preserved from the original sin that the entire human race has inherited from Adam and Eve.
It had to be this way because she, only a decade and a half after her birth, she was to conceive the Son of God in her womb and carry him for nine months. Because Jesus was to draw his human flesh from the Blessed Virgin, she had to be a perfectly pure vessel. The humanity of the Messiah could never be tainted by sin, for he is purity itself.
We venerate the Immaculate Conception because of its close connection to the mystery of our redemption. Jesus came to us through Mary, and she had to be immaculate to fulfill this role. This title of Our Lady has great importance for us on a more personal note as well. The United States of America is consecrated to Mary under this title, as is the Diocese of Camden. May Our Lady work a great miracle of conversion in our nation and in our Diocese during these turbulent times. May she grant us the grace to complete conversion as well.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation. It is the perfect opportunity to come to Mass on her feast day and beg for the graces that we so desperately need. Please see the holy day schedule below:
Wednesday, December 7th
Thursday, December 8th
6:45 & 9:00a
12 Noon (Traditional Latin Mass)
Mary, Immaculate, pray for us!
Fr. Tim Byerley