The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most important Marian celebrations in the Catholic Church. We celebrate it each year on December 8th.1 The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states that Mary was preserved free from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception. Although this belief was widely held by the Church from its earliest days, Pope Pius IX did not formally pronounce the doctrine until 1854.2
The fact that Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin meant that she was worthy to be Jesus’ Mother, to bear Him into the world. But it did not mean that she would be free of the temptation to sin during her life. Like Jesus – like each one of us – Mary faced her own temptations. And just like Jesus, she remained free of sin, turning to God for the strength to resist all evil. Our Blessed Mother is our model and guide. She gives us hope that we, too, can resist temptation by turning to God for all the grace and strength that we need.
Homily in honour of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 8 December 2012 PDF Format
– Sharon van der Sloot
1 The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary normally falls on December 8th. However, because December 8th is a Sunday in 2013, we will celebrate this feast day on December 9th instead.
2 Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus (God Ineffable), December 8, 1854.