I composed this mediation for another site, but I knew at the time it was overwhelming for the purpose. And so that it should not go to waste but perhaps serve some of the purpose for which it was initially composed--mostly to remind me and those like me what we celebrate today, I reprint it in its original entirety here. (My deep thanks to the patient soul who was so kind to craft the original to better fit the purpose it was supposed to fill.)
The Immaculate Conception
from the 1854 dogmatic constitution Ineffabilis Deus:
"The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.
"The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam -- from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death."
In a dramatic confirmation of the validity of this dogmatic pronouncement, in 1858 Benadette Soubirous, a young girl who was to become known to us as St. Bernadette, had 18 visions of the blessed virgin during one of which the Blessed Virgin Identified herself: "Que soy era Immaculado Conception" (I am the immaculate conception.)
The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced the Birth of Jesus. Mary's yes to the angel, spoken in Eternity and not in simple linear time worked through the sanctifying grace that was always with her to bring us that most wonderful of saviors--the One Thing Necessary.
And so today we celebrate the one born truly without original sin who gave birth to the One born without Sin. Her simple "Be it done unto me according to thy will," resounds now for us in that we have a Savior to turn to, to worship, and to love. In this season as we await his Advent, it is good to remember that He was long promised, and were it not for the yes of a young girl in a backward town, we might still be waiting.
"O most Holy Virgin, who was pleasing to the Lord and became His mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on me as I implore your powerful intercession. O most Holy Mother, who by your blessed Immaculate Conception, from the first moment of your conception did crush the head of the enemy, receive our prayers." From the Novena to the Immaculate conception, Day 1.
PRAYER TO THE
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain,
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end.
May you be blessed this day by the intercession of the one born without original sin. May your eyes see more clearly and your heart be lifted and may you be inspired to help all who are like this young woman was--alone, frightened, burdened by mysterious and wonderful life.