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Scott P. Richert

December: The Month of the Immaculate Conception

By December 4, 2013

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During Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also celebrate one of the great feasts of the Catholic Church.A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared at Lourdes, France, in 1858. Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama. (Photo © Scott P. Richert) The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) is not only a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary but a foretaste of our own redemption. It is such an important feast that the Church has declared the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation. (But see When Is Immaculate Conception 2013? for important information about the celebration of the feast in 2013.)

In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life--a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God. The Eastern Fathers of the Church referred to her as "without stain" (a phrase that appears frequently in the Eastern liturgies and hymns to Mary); in Latin, that phrase is immaculatus: "immaculate."

The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people believe, a precondition for Christ's act of redemption but the result of it. Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will, and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.

It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Savior of the world as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.

(A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared at Lourdes, France, in 1858, where she announced, "I am the Immaculate Conception." Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama. Photo © Scott P. Richert)

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Comments
December 10, 2008 at 9:27 am
(1) Dixie says:

I always enjoy your posts. Thank you for this one that so eloquently explains why we, as Cahtolics, honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

December 11, 2008 at 10:56 pm
(2) Toni says:

Why is there a huge Latter Day Saints ad on your page?

December 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm
(3) Scott P. Richert says:

Toni, thanks for asking. About.com is advertiser-supported. I have no control over which ads appear on my guidesite. The presence of any particular ad on the Catholicism guidesite in no way implies an endorsement of the advertiser. Rather, the revenue from the advertiser pays the bills that make it possible to have a Catholicism guidesite on About.com.

That said, I encourage you and any other readers who might know of Catholic organizations that would be willing to advertise on the Catholicism guidesite to use this form to contact our advertising department. Simply choose “Advertise On About” under subject, and enter the details in the space marked “The Problem.” (You can also use this form to register complaints about any ads that you think do not belong on the Catholicism guidesite.)

Thanks for your interest, and I hope that you will remain a faithful reader of the About.com Guidesite to Catholicism!

December 5, 2010 at 2:30 am
(4) Lorizia says:

So beautiful. I love you my dear mamma Mary : )

December 3, 2011 at 10:40 am
(5) Carina Ricasio says:

First, i would like to say thank you i really enjoy and learn a lot of things in Catholicism eventhough im Catholic,Merry Christmas to you and your family,

December 7, 2013 at 9:22 am
(6) samidoss paulraj says:

GIVE ETERNAL PRAISE AND GLORY TO HIM !
Mary , our Mother pray for us that like you we may have the deepest attachments and devotion to CHRIST and CHRIST ALONE !
GOD IS ALL IN ALL ! IT IS GOD IN CHRIST AND THE SPIRIT ALONE WHO HEALS AND WHO GRANTS !
May the walls of the shrines reveal this TRUTH !!!
With regards,
S.Paulraj.
( MARY’s magnificat is not ‘ I ‘ centered ,but GOD centered ! )

” Sometime back, when we were praying the Magnificat – the prayer of Mary during the visitation (Lk 1:46-55) – it seemed to me that Mary was very proud, and I was reminded of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. So I started comparing the two texts. What I discovered was very uplifting. In contrast to the prayer of the Pharisee, Mary’s prayer is God-centred. Almost every clause begins with a ‘He’ (at least nine times); when she refers to herself, it is only as an object of the action of God. True, Mary feels exalted, but it is because of HIM. It is a similar attitude that we recognise in the prayer of the Tax Collector. He focuses on the mercy of God. He sees himself as the object of God’s mercy.
So, who is the centre of my own prayer? What is God like in my prayer? ”
( excerpts from the Sunday sermon for 30th Sunday by Rev.Fr.Sahaya G Selvam sdb , Nairobi )
LIKE MARY WE ARE CALLED TO HAVE THE DEEPEST ATTACHMENTS AND DEVOTION TO CHRIST , AND CHRIST ALONE. NO OTHER COMMITMENT,ATTACHMENT,DEVOTION,AND TRADITION SHALL STAND IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST.ANY LOVE GREATER THAN LOVE OF CHRIST IS IDOLATROUS AND ADULTEROUS.
S.Paulraj

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