Since the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception occurs this week, I thought I’d take time off from our consideration of the sacraments to speak about it a bit. (It’s my column, so I can write about what I want!)
You know, if we had a “Pop Quiz” in church about the Immaculate Conception, I’d bet you a lot of Catholics would fail! Quick now, without looking it up, just answer this question: who was immaculately conceived?
Make an obnoxious buzzing noise if you answered “Jesus.” Wrong! The right answer is “Mary!” It was Jesus’ mother, Mary, who was conceived without original sin. Don’t be sidetracked by recalling Jesus’ own virginal conception and birth: that was something unique to Him. Mary was conceived in the usual way, the creation of her parents’ love, and in due course born quite ordinarily.
Maybe because you know that Jesus – being God – never sinned, and in fact couldn’t sin, you got confused. But sinlessness for Jesus isn’t anything special, it’s just part of His ordinary ol’ divine existence! For Mary, though, like for anyone who’s only a human being, to be given the special grace by God never to be victimized or endangered by sin: hey, now that was something cool! Why not take a moment to say a quick prayer to the Blessed Mother of Our Savior, asking her to share a little measure of that same kind of protective grace from God with yourself?