Next Tuesday we celebrate the great feast of the Immaculate Conception. Solemnly proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854, this doctrine tells us that from the first moment of her conception Mary was free from original sin. Some non-Catholic Christians think that this doctrine makes too great a claim for Mary, but in truth it makes the greatest claim for her Son. Mary’s sinlessness is not her doing but his – it is the power of his cross and resurrection retroactively applied that means that she is conceived without sin. The feast is a celebration of the saving love of Jesus.
Mary is an important character as we journey through Advent. We know that Advent is a time of joyful expectation – both for Christmas which celebrates the first coming of Christ but also for the end of time when Christ will come again in glory. We journey with Mary to the birth of her child – watching and waiting with her for that birth. But we are also watching and waiting with her for the return of Jesus in glory. May the holy and immaculate Mother of God pray for us all.