The Passionists - Compassion

Mary in Christian Tradition

The Immaculate Conception of Mary (December 8)

Like the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated during Advent, is related to the mystery of Jesus. To fulfill her unique role in the mission of Jesus, Mary was conceived free from original sin through the foreseen merits of her Son.

"To become the Mother of the Savior, Mary, 'was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role'. The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as 'full of grace.' In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 490)

Though Mary's Immaculate Conception is her unique privilege, it is a sign that, even before his birth, Christ's saving work affects generations that preceded him. The grace of Christ present when she was conceived is an affirmation that Christ's grace is present in past generations, as well as generations to come.

Readings for the feast

The readings for the feast, then, take us back to the Book of Genesis, which recalls the fall of humanity, as well as the promise of future salvation. ( Genesis 3,9-20) In the Epistle to the Ephesians there is a reminder that " God chose us in (Christ) before the world began." (Ephesians1,3-6) Finally, in the gospel reading, the angel proclaims to Mary that she is "full of grace," gift of a Son not yet born. (Luke 1,26-38)

"In the event of the Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter." (Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 1)

"Through the centuries, the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, 'full of grace' through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 490)

The feast of the Conception of Mary appeared in the Roman calendar in 1476. After the dogmatic definition of 1854, it became the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The Assumption of Mary - August 15