HOMILY FOR DECEMBER 8, SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.
THEME: Immaculate Conception: Grace and Privilege from God.
BY: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.
Considering her role in our salvation, especially as the Mother of God, the Catholic Church teaches ex cathedra that this conception did not involve the transmission of the sin of Adam and Eve, the original sin, to Mary through her parents, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. As a result, the Catholic Church intends, by the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the preservation of her soul from original sin at her conception.
“We declare, pronounce, and define the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful,” Pope Pius IX writes in his definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception (Ineffabilis Deus).
In the plan of salvation, her immaculate conception was accomplished by virtue of the foreseen merits that Jesus Christ would win for all humankind through His death and resurrection. By divine providence, it would make the most sense that the womb that would carry the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would never be tainted by sin.
For the church in the USA, it is a double celebration. We join the universal Church to celebrate this solemnity, and at the same time, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Immaculate Conception, is our patroness.
The concept of a patroness, or patron saint, is familiar to us. For instance, individuals (Anthony, Antonio, Antonia), cities (San Antonio, Texas), parishes (St. Anthony’s Parish), etc. named after Saint Anthony of Padua have him as their heavenly intercessor and have a special relationship with him.
At the sixth Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1846, the bishops of the United States unanimously chose our Blessed Mother as the patroness of the United States of America, under the title of the Immaculate Conception. This means that we have a special intercessor and protector in heaven with whom we can cultivate a relationship. Additionally, she serves as an example of the type of life to which we aspire. A life free of blemishes or wrinkles, a sinless life.
May the Immaculate Virgin Mary intercede for us as we aspire to live an immaculate life and a life of total abandonment to the will of God. “O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that, as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the death of your Son, which you foresaw, so, through her intercession, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.” Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
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