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What does the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrate?

Mary received God’s grace from the first moment of her existence, and was totally and completely redeemed by this grace. Because she was redeemed, Mary spent her whole existence in a perfect relationship with God.

 God did this so that Mary would be worthy to be the mother of God.

“…to the Christian intelligence the idea is unthinkable that the flesh of Christ, holy, stainless, innocent, was formed in the womb of Mary of a flesh which had ever, if only for the briefest moment, contracted any stain.” – Pope Pius X, 1904

Mary received this redeeming grace not because of any merits of her own, but because God freely gave her the gift of his love.

Christians believe that God’s redeeming grace is available to all believers: those who accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception regard Mary as the perfect example of the redeeming action of God’s grace, and believe that Mary was only able to receive this grace because Christ would later redeem all humanity through his death on the cross.

 “Chosen in advance to be the Mother of the incarnate Word, Mary is at the same time the first-fruits of his redeeming action. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in anticipation, preserving her from original sin and from any contagion of guilt.” – Pope John Paul II, December 8, 2003

Readings for 2017: