Feast of the Immaculate Conception: December 8
It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived "by the power of the Holy Spirit," in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect.
The "Immaculate Conception" refers to neither the conception of Jesus nor to a virgin birth. It is a specific doctrine that the Virgin Mary was preserved free from original sin by divine grace from the moment of her conception. The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus, published December 8, 1854 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception), and consecrated by Pope Pius XII in 1942. The pope expressed precisely and clearly that Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin. This privilege of Mary derives from God's having chosen her as Mother of the Savior; thus she received the benefits of salvation in Christ from the very moment of her conception.
By the apparition of the Blessed Virgin: 27th November, 1830 Chapel Rue du Bac 140, Paris, She learned sister Catherine Labouré the prayer: "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee".
By the sixteenth Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes, Thursday, March 25, 1858, Bernadette asks the Lady, her name, repeating the question three times. The Lady smiles at her and then Bernadette gets the courage to ask The Lady her name for a fourth time! Now she is given the answer:
Herewith the Blessed Virgin confirmed the truth of Her "Immaculate Conception" again.
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