We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.
—Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854
We celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception today. There are many Catholics who think that this is the day by which Mary conceived Jesus in her womb.
That would be the wrong answer.
This is a feast that recalls that God was preparing the Blessed Virgin Mary for the great invitation to be the mother of Jesus. In order to be a worthy, spotless, mother, Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.
However, that did not mean that she was forced to become the mother of Jesus. She still had a choice. She could accept or reject the invitation of God since she had free will.
She chose to accept the invitation.
God prepared us in His image and likeness and asks us to accept His word as well. While we may not have been conceived without the stain of original sin, the stain of original sin was washed from our souls by virtue of our baptism.
God poured His graces into us from the moment of our baptism and asks us, daily, to accept His will for us. We, like Mary, are called to say “Yes.”
Some of God’s people say “Yes” rather easily. Some with more difficulty. Some reject God’s will and live their own lives.
Let us do all that we can to set selfishness aside today so that we may be able to accept the will of God for our lives. In echoing Mary’s “Fiat” — Let it be done — may we be fitting examples of unselfish love and change our world for the better!
FAITH ACTION: What is it that God is calling you to do? Identify it. Then, say yes to it!