Hail Mary, full of grace

by Kevin Birnbaum

Inmaculada_ZurbaránThe Immaculate Conception by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664)

Today is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The doctrine 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 Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin” was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854, but it had long been believed and celebrated by the Church.

As with everything about Mary, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is ultimately about Jesus, as the Collect prayer at today’s Mass makes clear:

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son,
grant, we pray,
that, as you preserved her from every stain
by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw,
so, through her intercession,
we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.

Now enjoy The Priests’ beautiful rendition of Franz Schubert’s beautiful Ave Maria.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.