On December 8 we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s conception without the stain of original sin. The word immaculate means without stain. But her unique, stainless conception is so much more than that incredible phenomenon.
The Angel greeted Mary saying, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). This greeting is translated from the Greek word, Kecharitomene, which is a perfect passive participle of charitoo and means to fill or endow with grace. The perfect tense indicates that Mary was not only graced in the past but also into the present.
Mary was saved from sin by the grace of Christ in anticipation of his incarnation. Although Mary was conceived without sin, our Lord and Savior’s birth was necessary to complete her salvation and ours.
The feast was originally called the Conception of Mary and began in the Eastern church in the seventh century and in the Western Church in the eighth. By the 11th century, the feast was known officially as the Immaculate Conception. And the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was officially defined by Pope Pious IX in 1854.