Destined to Be Christ’s Mother
Jesus’ miraculous Conception, which we celebrate at the feast of the Annunciation on March 25, is oftentimes confused with the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Celebrated on December 8, this sublime feast commemorates the event that took place in the womb of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Having planned from all eternity to make this child the Mother of our Savior, Almighty God applied the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross to Mary as He fashioned her soul, making it free from original sin.
The devotions and practices of the saints through the ages reflect the recognition of Mary as the Immaculate Conception. St. Maximilian Kolbe affectionately called Our Lady “the Immaculata.” In the apparition in Lourdes, France in 1858, Our Lady spoke to St. Bernadette Soubirous, saying, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
A Mother for All People
Centuries before Mary’s visit to St. Bernadette, she appeared to St. Juan Diego in the heart of Mexico on December 9, 1531. Her first words to him were, “My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am.” The exchange that occurred between them over the following days could be called the most tender of conversations. Mary brought peace to St. Juan Diego with the message, “Am I not here with you, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?” Her appearance with the features and symbols native to the indigenous people show her desire for us to know how much she identifies with each of her children, as well as her longing for us to identify with her. This is a universal lesson!
A Perfect Advocate
The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception not only proclaims how favored she is in the eyes of Our Lord, but also foreshadows the union that God wants to have with each of us. In her position, our Heavenly Mother is able to see with immaculate clarity the plans God has for our life and the august dignity that He has given us from the moment of our own conception. Her vision is not clouded with sin; she sees the reality of who we are. Even when we ourselves are ashamed or discouraged, her gaze upon us, filled with understanding and love, is second only to that of God Himself.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is patroness of our United States of America, and Our Lady of Guadalupe holds patronage over all the Americas. Let us call upon Our Heavenly Mother under both of these titles and ask for her guidance and protection from all evil.
Our Blessed Mother watches over us wherever we are–whether at Our Lady of Guadalupe Priory in Georgetown, Texas; the Motherhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan; or in the classroom on mission!