Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

1. Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a feast very dear to the Christian people. It fits in well with the Advent season and radiates the purest light on our spiritual journey to Christmas.

Today we contemplate the humble girl of Nazareth who, by an extraordinary and ineffable privilege, was preserved from the contagion of original sin and from every fault, so that she could be a worthy dwelling-place for the Incarnate Word. In Mary, the New Eve, Mother of the New Adam, the Father’s original, wondrous plan of love was re-established in an even more wondrous way. Therefore the Church gratefully acclaims: “Through you, immaculate Virgin, the life we had lost was returned to us. You received a child from heaven, and brought forth to the world a Saviour” (Liturgy of the Hours, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, Benedictus Antiphon).

2. Today’s liturgy once again presents the Gospel account of the Annunciation. In response to the Angel, the Virgin proclaims: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1: 38). Mary expresses her total assent of mind and heart to God’s hidden will and prepares herself to receive the Son of God, first in faith and then in her virginal womb.

“Behold!”. Her prompt compliance with the divine will is a model for all of us believers, so that in great events, as well as in ordinary affairs, we will entrust ourselves entirely to the Lord.

By the witness of her life, Mary encourages us to believe in the fulfilment of God’s promises. She calls us back to the spirit of humility, the right interior attitude of the creature towards the Creator; she urges us to put our sure hope in Christ, who fulfils the divine plan, even when events seem obscure and are difficult to accept. As a shining Star, Mary guides our steps to the Lord who comes.

3. Dear brothers and sisters! Let us turn our eyes to the Immaculate, all Holy and all Fair. May Mary, our Advocate, Mother of the “King of Peace”, who crushes the serpent’s head, help us, the men and women of the third millennium, to resist the seductions of evil; may she rekindle faith, hope and charity in our hearts, so that, faithful to our call and ready to make any sacrifice, we may be fearless witnesses to Jesus Christ, the Holy Door of eternal salvation.

John Paul II, Angelus, 8 December 2000

a

On this beautiful Solemnity we invite you to pray the Holy Rosary together.
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, let us ask for the fruitful Season of Advent for ourselves and for our families, and for the grace of conversion for those who have strayed away from God’s paths.