Thought for the Day – 8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace” (or “highly favoured”). In that context, this phrase means that Mary is receiving all the special divine help necessary for the task ahead. However, the Church grows in understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led the Church, especially non-theologians, to the insight that Mary had to be the most perfect work of God next to the Incarnation. Or rather, Mary’s intimate association with the Incarnation called for the special involvement of God in Mary’s whole life.
The logic of piety helped God’s people to believe that Mary was full of grace and free of sin from the first moment of her existence. Moreover, this great privilege of Mary is the highlight of all that God has done in Jesus . Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God and the role of Mary in our salvation. And never forget, at Lourdes when Bernadette asked of the beautiful Lady ‘who shall I say you are’ she replied “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Pray for us!
And St John Paul in 1998:
“We sang of this Mother in the Liturgy of the Word. We beheld the Lord’s marvels. In today’s liturgy, the first words of our hymn were “Tota pulchra es Maria”: you are all beautiful, O Mary. In the presence of this beauty, perhaps we find ourselves thinking of the words of the great Fyodor Dostoevski, who wrote that beauty can save the world: your beauty, Mary, which is expressed in the Immaculate Conception.
We entrust our city, the Church and the whole world to you. May you be the “Tota Pulchra” who guides us in all hope through the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 towards the future, because you, O Mary, are the Mother of hope. Praised be Jesus Christ!
At the end of the prayer celebration at Piazza di Spagna in Rome, the Holy Father added:
Let us conclude this contemplative celebration: we have beheld your marvels, O Lord. Yes, the “Tota Pulchra” must save the world in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception.
Praised be Jesus Christ!”