December the 8th, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many people assume the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus, but it is in fact the conception of Mary herself.
According to the teachings of our Catholic Church, God kept Mary’s soul immaculate from birth, preserving her from the effects of Original Sin. This is one of the reasons we refer to Mary as ‘full of grace’, as the angel Gabriel greeted Mary saying ‘Hail, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.”
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is one of the 4 dogmas in the Catholic Church. Below are some references from the Catholic Doctrine.
“…to the Christian intelligence the idea is unthinkable that the flesh of Christ, holy, stainless, innocent, was formed in the womb of Mary of a flesh which had ever, if only for the briefest moment, contracted any Stain.” – Pope Pius X, 1904.
Chosen in advance to be the Mother of the Incarnate world, Mary is at the same time the first-fruits of his redeeming action. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in anticipation, preserving her from original sin and from any contagion of guilt. – Pope John Paul II, Dec 8 2003.
The infusion of Mary’s soul was affected without original sin…From the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin. – Martin Luther, sermon: On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God.
In view of her vocation to be the mother of the Holy One (Luke 1:35), we can affirm together that Christ’s redeeming work reached ‘back in Mary to the depths of her being, and to her earliest beginnings. This is not contrary to the teaching of Scripture, and can only be understood in the light of scripture. Roman Catholics can recognize in this what is affirmed by the dogma – namely ‘preserved from all stain of original sin’ and ‘from the first moment of her conception.’ – 2005 report by Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians.