The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, free from original sin was by virtue of the merits of her Son Jesus Christ. God had pre-determined that Mary should be the mother of Jesus Christ, that is why, she was born without the stain of original sin. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence. All Catholics believe in this doctrine of Immaculate Conception. But Mary was not exempted from the temporal penalties of sorrow and bodily infirmities. Like any mother she was never separated from the sufferings of her Son.
Although it was widely believed that Mary was sinless and was conceived without original sin, the doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius IX in the year 1854. The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8th December. Nearer home, this feast of the Immaculate Conception is the Parish feast of the Holy Spirit Church, Margao and is celebrated on a grand scale with a splendid display of festivity. Earlier it was such an important feast, that the Church had made it a day of Obligation.
The salutation of the Angel Gabriel ‘Hail full of Grace’ indicates an unique abundance of grace, which finds its explanation only in the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
So let us inculcate a strong devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God Himself desires this devotion, so that we could serve sinners. She asks us to pray and hold on to our belief in God. God must come first, so that He fills the emptiness of our soul. Mother Mary intercedes to God for us every time we go to her in prayer. Let us look to her as our guide through the darkness of this world to the light of Heaven.
Irene Antao. Sector IV – Zone I