July 19, 2024

We celebrate the Immaculate Conception each year on December 8 as a holy day of obligation. It’s a day to contemplate the great gift of God’s grace given to Mary our mother.

The Church teaches that Mary, from the moment of her conception, was preserved from the stain of original sin. She was to be a pure vessel for Jesus as he was conceived and grew in her womb.

How did that happen and how is it different from how we are saved from original sin in baptism? Here’s an analogy that has been used by the Church for a thousand years to illustrate this gift of grace.

Say you are walking along and fall into a deep, muddy pit. Someone reaches down and pulls you out of the pit. They save you from the mud and mire.

Now imagine your friend is walking in the same area and is about to fall into the same pit. Just before your friend falls into the pit, someone reaches out and pulls her back so she doesn’t fall into the pit at all and does not become muddy.

You were both saved from the pit, but you had the stain of the mud (sin) on you that had to be washed away with water (baptism). Your friend, on the other hand, was saved before being stained by any mud (sin) at all. This is Mary, saved from any stain of sin thanks to a grace received from Christ at the moment of her conception.

Hail Mary! Full of grace! Pray for us!