"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Friday, December 8, 2017

Faith Filled Friday: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation.  You will need to attend Mass if you are Catholic.  And if you’re not Catholic, you may be wondering what the Immaculate Conception is?  No it does not refer to the conception of Jesus, but to the conception of His blessed mother, the Virgin Mary.

This is one of the harder Catholic doctrines to understand, and I admit at one time, despite being a cradle Catholic, I had problems with it too.  I always just accepted it.  Yes, I can understand Mary being without sin—she is “full of Grace.”  But why immaculately conceived?  The explanation that put me over the top was given by Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.  Mother Miriam was born Jewish, converted to Evangelical Protestant, and then over to Catholicism, where she took religious orders.  Here’s her explanation.

That put me over the top, and now I embrace the Immaculate Conception.

So let me clarify that.  There is the typology (something in the Old Testament prefigures something in the New) of the Tabernacle (the holy place where God resides on earth) now being the Virgin’s womb where Jesus will reside for nine months.  How could God reside in any place not holy?  Mother Miriam draws the comparison in language of the Old Testament where God comes into the Tabernacle (Exodus 40: 34-38) and where God comes into Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35).  Compare, first from Exodus:

And now from Luke:

30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,* and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”34But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”*35And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

So if the Christ child was to reside in the womb and actually develop through the stages of fetal development off of Mary’s body, then she too would need to be of pristine stuff.  She is a creature, but she is a special creature.  So when you see the Tabernacle in a Catholic Church, that box where the hosts reside, think of that, as I do, as Mary’s womb!

By the way, patron saint of the United States is Mary under the title of The Immaculate Conception. I knew that but never knew why. You can read about why here


  1. I am confused. It is not a Holy Day of Obligation over here. I have checked the church newsletter and it says nothing about it. I even just phoned the church secretary and she said she knows nothing about it. Anyway, it is too late now - 8:34pm on Friday to attend Mass. I wish the Catholic Church would get its act together. Are Holy Days of Obligation regional now? Holy Day in America only? Just like not eating meat on Fridays. We should not eat meat in England but it is OK in Scotland and Wales. Too far to go on a Friday night for a take away hamburger bun and French fries!

    God bless.

    1. Oh I bet because the feast day fell on a Friday, it becames a holy day of obligation based on local bishops' decisions. It was a holy day of obligation in my part of the world. Not sure if it was nationwide or just my diocese.

  2. Additional comment: (Are we allowed additional comments on this Blog; without charge?)

    Thanx for the video link and explanation, Manny. The Immaculate Conception and our devotion to Mary are not often understood by non-Catholics.

    God bless.

    1. LOL, you certainly are allowed additional comments. :)