The Immaculate Conception

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. When I ask the question, “What is the Immaculate Conception?” to groups of children, teens, and even adults the first answer is without fail, “When Mary conceived Jesus.”  The crestfallen look when I say, “No, that’s not it but it does have something to do with Mary,” is always so confused, especially in adults.

This feast celebrates Mary’s conception without original sin.  This dogma of our faith was made official by Pope Pius IX in 1854. You can read the text of the Apostolic Constitution or an in depth explanation of the dogma at New Advent.

What must it have been like to grow up free from the inclination to sin?  Mary’s soul was pure and innocent.  The grace given to her by God was a gift to protect and prepare her to be the mother of Jesus.

Can you imagine living your life in such a constant state of grace?  It must be similar to the feeling I have when I go to confession and then Mass immediately following so I can receive Communion without a mark on my soul.  As hard as I try, that purity never lasts long enough.

The Immaculate Conception reminds us, yet again, that with God’s grace everything is possible as long as it is his will.  This feast tells us of the honor and reverence we have for Mary and that she points us to her Son.  While we will never be Mary we can certainly ask for her help with the sin in our lives and emulate her in pointing others towards Jesus.

Copyright © 2013, Deanna Bartalini

Image attributed to Giacinto Campana [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. She serves on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center. Deanna loves teaching about Catholicism and how it fits into our daily lives. She writes at, serves as the editor of the blog, and is a contributor there as well as at Deanna contributed to A Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion published by Ave Maris Press. She is the author of “Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” published by Our Sunday Visitor. Deanna is available to lead retreats and speak at catechist and ministry events.

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