Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary
Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the solemn dogma defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Our Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness of the United States of America, this is a holy day of obligation in the United States.
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. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed on December 8, 1854: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church
Today's meditation with Fr. Philippe, OP, founder of the Community of St. John:
Gospel Lk 1:26-38
Today we celebrate Mary as the Father's beloved, as she whom the Father loved with a unique love. The Beloved Father chose her from among all other creatures to be given to us as our mother. In this way He makes us understand that His love for Mary is also for us. We discover how much the Father loves us because He gives us His treasure, His beloved to be our mother. Mary is more mother than all other mothers. She keeps nothing for herself, and the treasure of love which the Father gave her and which makes her immaculate -- no sin ever touched her soul, she came from God completely pure and she returns to God completely pure -- she offers this treasure to us. She gives us that which is most precious in her heart -- the Father's love for her. The mystery of the Immaculate is the great victory of love over the first sin and its consequences. Because Mary is Immaculate, the great victory of the Father's love is present, a victory through the mystery of the Cross, in His little Child, and through her, in us.