|"I am the Immaculate Conception"|
Happy Feast Day! On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed this great dogma which stated that Our Blessed Mother was conceived without the stain of original sin. It is interesting to note that this was nothing new; it had always been held to be true by Church tradition. The Pope was simply elevating the pious thought to a required belief.
"And indeed it was wholly fitting that so wonderful a mother should be ever resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness and so completely free from all taint of original sin that she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent. To her did the Father will to give his only-begotten Son -- the Son whom, equal to the Father and begotten by him, the Father loves from his heart -- and to give this Son in such a way that he would be the one and the same common Son of God the Father and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was she whom the Son himself chose to make his Mother and it was from her that the Holy Spirit willed and brought it about that he should be conceived and born from whom he himself proceeds." (Ineffabilis Deus)
So the Holy Father makes clear his reason for pronouncing this doctrine. She is God's own mother! God deserves a perfect mother; not only does He deserve it but He requires it by His very nature.
The Holy Father then goes on to list various traditions in the Church which implicitly affirm this truth, like the Council of Trent, and explicitly, such as the Fathers of the Church.
Finally, he closes with what he hopes his message will inspire:
"Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard." (ibid)
So what is he saying; what was the point of the encyclical? It is this: to affirm and explicitly state that Our Lady was conceived without Original Sin by a singular act of God's Will, and that this should inspire in us yet a deeper love and understanding of her great love for us!
"What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard." (ibid)
Go save a soul.