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Who is Mary and why does she matter?

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December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a great feast dedicated to proclaiming the truth of one of the Blessed Mother's unique privileges. In his 1854 apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX, offered the following definition of this dogma of the Catholic faith:

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.


Several of our Marian men in formation, on their way to becoming perpetually professed Marian priests and brothers, shared their thoughts on this important day.

Br. David, MIC

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a true reminder of the power of God's grace. God gave the Blessed Mother the grace of the Immaculate Conception. God also fills us with the grace to do His Will. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception reminds me how the Blessed Virgin Mary cooperated with the grace that God gave to her. She is a true example of how to love God and neighbor, and she helps me to realize how I should follow her example in living a life of virtue and faith in Jesus Christ.

Fr. David, MIC

The Immaculate Conception is the preeminent doctrine of Our Lady. The Immaculate Conception makes all the other teachings possible; that Our Lady could be the Mother of God, her perpetual virginity (before, during, and after the birth of Christ), her Assumption into Heaven, and in a very special way that she could become Mediatrix of All Grace, Co-redemptrix, and Advocate. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, therefore, reminds me of the love God has for humanity. The purity of Our Lady enables God to pour out all His love, His grace, and His mercy into Our Lady's Immaculate Heart. He does not hold back His love. In this way we come to know how much love God has for all of us. If we would stop sinning, let go of our attachments, and allow ourselves to be purified, He would fill us with His love as well. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is all about God's love for humanity.

Br. Tyler, MIC
This holy Solemnity is a singular highlight of my year. To me, it speaks of God's infinitely tender mercy in that He Himself chose to bless Mary in such a way that He preserved her from every stain and infection and pollution of sin on absolutely no merit of hers! Wow! That is intense mercy, showing that it is not sin that has the final victory, but on the contrary, it is God's merciful love for His children that is the final and enduring Word of victory.

Yes, all this is true for our beloved mother in the order of grace and the Spirit, but it does not stop with just her. This precious gift of immaculateness is not just meant for Mary, but for all her (and God's) children. We are sharers in this gift inasmuch as we lovingly ask for her intercession — most especially in the Rosary — and strive to imitate her in our everyday life, which we can do in a most special way when we consecrate ourselves to her and give her full permission to transform us into the saints that God created us to be.

The Immaculate Conception: a gift for Mary; a gift also for us; her joy is also our joy. As a Marian of the Immaculate Conception, with our religious identity being especially rooted in this holy mystery, it is with the greatest joy that I celebrate this holy feast that so fittingly focuses our attention on the immaculate, sinless one, who has both given us Jesus, our Redeemer, and who also brings Him to birth in our souls when we draw near to her and seek to ponder and imitate her immaculate, all-pure intimacy with God.

Br. Stephen, MIC
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception didn't mean that much to me growing up ... it was just another Marian feast day. I think the turning point came when I encountered Marian consecration in Fr. Gaitley's book. I came to see Mary more as a real person after that consecration, and that affected my entire perception of and relationship to the Church, especially in the Sacraments. My call to the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception made me realize I would be getting to know Mary better under this Order, but it wasn't until late in my novitiate year that I looked through my old notebooks and realized that I had made my consecration on Dec. 8, the Feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception, a consecration that was really the starting-point for much of my spiritual life.

I also recall two particular passages from St. Faustina's Diary about the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In the first, Faustina resolves to pray 1000 Hail Marys every day as a novena in preparation for this feast (Diary, 1413). In the second, Mary reveals to Sr. Faustina "the three virtues that are dearest to me — and most pleasing to God," which are: humility, purity, and love of God (Diary, 1415). In these three virtues could be summed up much of the spiritual life, but they also exemplify Our Blessed Mother. To adequately understand and practice them, especially as revealed in the Immaculate Conception, eternity alone will be enough.

Deacon Gabriel, MIC
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception reminds me of the great love of the Mother of God for us because of the great love and mercy that God first had upon her for our sake. It gives me more reason to hope in God because of how great He could make a person in holiness and keep her sustained in perfect holiness. If God is able to do that in a broken world out of love, then how much we can hope in God whose love saves and knows no bounds because He is the God of Mercy! If we give Him our trust, we can be in full communion with the God of love.

Br. Marx, MIC
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception reminds me of God's great love for all humanity. In our Blessed Mother, immaculately conceived, we see God's omnipotence and mercy for us sinners.

Br. Matthew, MIC
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a very beautiful and grand day for the Marian Fathers since we are celebrating the patroness of our Order. It especially reminds me that not only have we Christians been given such an immaculately beautiful mother and queen to cover us with her mantle from all temptations to the stain of sin, but that we, too, with the grace of God, can hope to be pure and immaculate like Mary in Heaven.

Br. Jeff, MIC
The Immaculate Conception is the beginning of the victory of Christ over sin. In Christ's mother, the Holy Spirit inhabited a soul with immaculate purity and exalted her being beyond that of the seraphic angels. This soul as conceived and born nine months later represents perfection, purity, and the highest human ideal embodied in a person. She is the Immaculate One — from her being she became a temple of God in her soul. As a temple, she would conceive a God to become his Mother. What this means to me is that she will bring her spouse — the Holy Spirit — to one day crush all the evil in the world and inaugurate the reign of God on earth: She is the first and last Pentecost and terror to hell.

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Matthew - Dec 11, 2017

I am a Cradle Catholic; I left the Catholic Church in 1985, hoping to find others who would show some love and kindness to me, because I hardly ever felt loved at home. I wandered in and out of Protestant churches, until approx. 2011, never feeling as though I never really felt like I belonged in ALL of those Protestant Churches, and returned to the Catholic Church, and, oh, what a Homecoming it was!! I now try to pray the Rosary, and read my Catholic Answer Bible regularly. Molly W. gave the Bible to me. it is precious to me as my Rosary Beads are also. Thank You, Heavenly Father, Jesus, and Mary! Pray for us all! God Bless You All!

Brigid - Dec 8, 2017

Blessed Feast Day to Our Immaculate Mother Mary. I was at the Marion Fathers yesterday for Adoration of Our Lord, Confession and Rosary. I felt so blessed when I left. I also visited the book store and bought Fr. Thaddaeus' new book, Stepping On Satan. Looking forward to reading it. He was my confessor after being away for so long and he had just been ordained a few months before. He helped me in ways I cannot put into words, but I am fully back, married in the Church and living a life faithful to Christ in the best way I can. I am still a sinner but I try not to and know God's mercy.

J - Dec 8, 2017

Mother Mary Queen of the universe and all creation, thank you for saying yes to be the Mother of our Savior. Without you there would be no Savior nor salvation. Ave Maria.

Mary - Dec 8, 2017

Mary Immaculate, our hope, and strength! May God bless the Marian priests and seminarians to continue their evangelization with her guiding hand to lead so many more people to Jesus! May her Immaculate Heart be triumphant! With many thanks for all your prayers and sacrifices, I pray for you all, too! (I am a recent member of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception.)

Jeanne Marie - Dec 8, 2017

My Blessed Mother of Salvation, I am only now starting to learn about you. I am so grateful for this beautiful gift, introduced to me by your Son’s Divine Mercy.
When I think of what you went through, watching your Son be tortured and killed for our sakes, my heart breaks. I know your ability to love us after that is born of your great love for Almighty God and your Son, Jesus. He is my Savior and King. Please help me to be closer to Him.

Mary - Dec 8, 2017

So weary of the daily battle....oh Lady you are our inspiration and strength against the evil one as we do battle in the trenches!

Teresa marie - Dec 8, 2017

Your prayers to Our Mother who is the Immaculate Conception have helped sustain our hope despite living in this fallen world. We are eternally grateful! Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!

Nancy - Dec 8, 2017

Dear Marian, May you receive especially many graces this day.Oh Mary, my Mother, come closer to me as I learn to love you more and more.."you can never love Mary too much"...St Maximillan Kolbe Thank you Marian for your prayers and you are in my prayers too HAPPY HOLY FEAST DAY

Catherine - Dec 8, 2017

O Mary, thank you for the gift of Spiritual Motherhood. Please wrap your mantle around these sons of yours (and mine) who have willingly and freely given of themselves to serve the Holy Catholic Church. Please protect and give them the grace and courage to bring us ever closer to your Son Jesus.

Lisa Escalante - Dec 8, 2017

Thank you for your prayers!
Jesus, Devine Mercy— I Trust in You!

Debbie - Dec 8, 2017

Thank you dear Marians. Jesus I trust in You. Happy Feast Day. Please pray for our family. Please pray for Father Andrew Apostoli. Please pray for Emma who was born 10 years ago today and she has special needs.

Peggy - Dec 8, 2017

O Mary, conceived without sin please pray for us who have recourse to You. Amen. Almighty God please bless, watch over and guide our beautiful priests, brothers and Deacons all those who serve the Holy Catholic Church on this the Feast Day of Our Beautiful Mother's Immaculate Conception. Amen.

Donna - Dec 8, 2017

Thank you; thank you; thank you all!!! Happy, Holy Feast Day!

jong ricafort - Dec 8, 2017

I love the MIC priests, their talks are full of wisdom...it's hard to digest the precious teachings/words they uttered...it brings so much light & life to a thirsty soul looking for guidance & Truth.God bless you all & may you continue spread the Divine Mercy devotions & Mama Mary's messages to all the world.S&IHMMP4us.Amen

Jim - Dec 8, 2017

God entrusted his only son and the future of human life to our Immaculate Mother. She is the foundation of and the path to God's merciful love. Why would we not entrust ourselves to the one who he entrusted his only son? When we entrust all that we are, all we have, and all of of our heart and soul to Jesus through our Immaculate Mother we gain unfathomable mercy.

Susan - Dec 8, 2017

Thank you to the Marians in Formation for their heartfelt insights. Abundant blessings to all as we celebrate this wonderful Feast! Ave Maria!

John M - Dec 8, 2017

Our Mother Most Amiable keeps calling me. A member of our parishes Legion of Mary told me I am playing hard to get but that is not intentionally so.

Normally I don't read what the Marion Fathers send because I get too many emails.I am a convert and just happened to get the booklet Preparation for Total Consecration according to St.Louis De Montfort among the many books given me from a friend's library before they moved about a year ago. Signed up for 33 Days to Morning Glory at my parish recently but something held me back so I am reading and praying the booklet at bedtime every night. Today is day 19.Very powerful.

Yesterday I spoke to one of the the Sisters of Life about the March for Life bus to Washington my New York parish will be having January 19, 2018 and she told me that this booklet is where she began her journey from being an attorney, that had all the world could offer, into the Sisterhood .

Reading Brother Stephen Camara's comments above reminded me that this evening is when 33 days to morning glory participants are going to be consecrated. A few good friends of mine are among them and I will attend.

As a former Protestant was instructed I have been resistant to Our Lady .However I have been given Mother Mary to know over the last five years as my mother more and more just at the time when my earthly mother, who lived with my wife and me a dozen or so years, slowly faded over the last four years and died at age 94 this September 1 from Parkinson's disease. What a gift! Blessed be God forever!

Sharon B. - Dec. 8, 2017 - Dec 8, 2017

Our Blessed lady gives us a perfect example of the importance to follow God's will in our own lives. Mary could not fathom being a mother, without knowing man. Yet, because of her faith and love for God, she obeyed. Amen :)

Elizabeth - Dec 8, 2017

Making the 33 Days to Morning Glory Maraian consecration has changed my life everyday since October 7, 2012. My email is totus2us12. I pray the Rosary everyday, sing the consecration with my daughter on the way to school and call on the Blessed Mother many times a day. I finally truly know to whom I belong: I have a mother and Father and Brother on whom I can always call, who are faithful, loving and always there for me. The Communion of Saints are my extended family and constant companions. Totus tuus.

John - Dec 8, 2017

What a great feast day- the Immaculate Conception. !!! Celebrating today, and tomorrow. Thank you Mary, Queen Of Angels and Saints.