BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE.



The story of the Virgin Mary in the History of Salvation is a unique one in every ramification. In her is exemplified in a very fascinating way what the power of God can effect in the life of those who trust in Him. Through her, God expressed His love for humanity at that very moment when the Son of God consented to the will of the Father to inaugurate the Era of Salvation in a definitive way by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Mary was first made manifest the sublime effect of the merits of Christ for which she was exceptionally honoured by God. May our honouring of the one whom God first honoured bring us to participate in the same honour; Amen.

The Solemnity of today naturally leads one to think about the Cardinal points in the History of Salvation; namely, who God created us to be, who we made of ourselves by the abuse of our God-given freedom, how God never abandoned us in our misery and how God eventually came to our help. The Readings of today recapture these Cardinal points. In the First Reading (Genesis 3:9-15, 20) we heard afresh the story of the fall; how Adam and Eve, through the temptation from the serpent, lost their original state of grace and innocence. Through their gross abuse of freedom and disregard for God’s law, they deeply damaged their relationship with God and effected a deep wound on the whole of humanity that would determine the condition of birth of all of their descendents. The tone of God’s reproachful question to Eve indicates the depth of the damage they have caused; “what is this you have done?” Grave harm has been done to the relationship between God and His Creatures. The Story of God’s journey with us did not end there. God continued to look out for man and woman and to guide all to learn obedience and docility to God’s will. Saint Paul in the Second Reading (Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12) gives us a hint of God’s plan for us; “before the world was made, God chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence, determining that we should become His adopted sons, through Jesus Christ for his own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of his grace, His free gift to us in the Beloved.” The Feast of the Immaculate Conception proclaims one of the highest manifestations of the glory of God’s grace; it affirms that in Mary the status of being holy and spotless was achieved in an imaginable way by the most special effect of grace.


Understanding the significance and salvific implications of the Feast of today will be very difficult when disconnected from the History of Salvation. In this History, God gradually leads humanity to the fullness of truth and grace; establishing the fact that our story with God did not end with Adam and Eve. The coming of the Son of God opened a new page in this History; this new page is greatly marked with the era of the presence and manifestation of the Fullness of Grace; namely of Jesus Christ. To perfect His work, God had to form a fitting dwelling place for His Son in the womb of a Virgin who is free from the virus of Adam and Eve. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception affirms the stainless, clean and untainted state and condition of the biological habitat of the Son of God. The Gospel Reading (Luke 1:26-38) gives us some hints about the condition of this biological dwelling place of the Son of God; she is a virgin; she is highly favoured by God; she is under the cover of the Holy Spirit. The Devotional Tradition prays this Marian Status with the expression “full of grace.” Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church proclaims this in a definitive way in the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception “that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus.). The Psalmist recaptures the magnitude of this mysterious operation of God in the life of the Virgin of Nazareth inviting all to “sing a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders.” The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is an elaboration of what it means to be _gratiae plena_ (full of grace). To be full of grace is to be empty of sin. The Feast of today brings us to reflect on what God accomplished in the life of one of us and what He wants from us and the condition of life that is attractive to God; the condition of Chastity and that of purity of mind, heart and soul.

Mary Immaculate, uncontaminated and purest dwelling place of the Most High, obtain for us the grace to always grow to maturity in our state of being immaculate and docile to the will of God. May our celebration and proclamation of your blessedness attract the blessings and favours of God towards us; Amen. Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception;



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