“The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant 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.” ~ Pope Pius IX
There are times when I have heard Catholics question the infallible teaching of the Immaculate Conception or the concept of infallibility in general. Perhaps that is because, on the deepest level, we know that we are frail, weak, fallible. How, then, can someone make an infallible statement? As in most cases, the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception began by stating the obvious: we have believed this from the beginning of the Church.
Indeed, there are quotes from many saints throughout the ages, going all the way back to the year 70 AD, concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary. The faithful through the ages have believed that Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin at the moment of her conception so that she would be a worthy vessel for Christ.
Being preserved from the stain of original sin, however, did not mean that Mary was forced to become the mother of Jesus. She was preserved from the stain of original sin, not from free will. She still had a choice. When the Angel Gabriel asked her to become the Mother of Jesus, she freely chose to do God’s will.
When we celebrate the Immaculate Conception, we acknowledge all the many ways that God has been and is a part of our lives. We acknowledge that God has a plan for us. And we are reminded that we, like Mary, are challenged to accept God’s plan graciously, willingly, and lovingly.
We may not have been preserved from the stain of original sin — and for that we will all have to die and our bodies will corrupt in the grave — but we, like Mary, have a choice to make each and every day of our lives. We, too, can say “Yes” to God. May we have the grace to do so today.
FAITH ACTION: Do not forget, today is a Holy Day of Obligation. Ask God to give you a deeper appreciation of and love for the Mother of His Son.