Mary: Who She Is and Why She Matters

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The Masterpiece in the Plan

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By Terry Peloquin (Dec 7, 2018)
When my younger son was in high school, he took a course in physics. In it, students were divided into teams for a Rube Goldberg competition.

These amusing inventions involve a chain reaction of multiple steps (known as "phases") to ultimately perform a single function. In my son's case, the teams had to develop a project that would begin with the dropping of a coin and end with the taking of a picture. Each phase had to incorporate some of the types of energy they had studied, such as mechanical, thermal, kinetic, chemical, and gravitational.

After months of planning, the students' projects were fantastic to watch. They were full of surprises. One piece would fall only to propel another upward.

The Divine Plan
The liturgical readings for Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, show us a much grander plan over a much broader period of time: God's great plan of salvation. God allowed the fall of man and of the world knowing ahead that He had set in motion all that was needed for our salvation.

A look at the second reading tells us how far back God's plan extends (emphasis added):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him (Eph 1:3-4).

How does the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary fit into God's merciful plan for mankind? The dogma, proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854, says:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

So Mary's unique privilege of being conceived without sin was not just for her own benefit. It was derived from God having chosen her as Mother of the Savior for us all (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 490).

The Plan Comes Together
Before Mary Immaculate came into existence, many others from the Old Covenant prepared the way for her, beginning with Eve and her role in the fall of man. Some of them were chosen "against all human expectation" (see Catechism, 489).

Our Gospel for the Solemnity (Lk 1:26-38) brings us to the brink of salvation. It begins with the angel Gabriel being sent by God to Nazareth, to a virgin who is betrothed to a man from the house of David. Do you see all the steps working together? All the prophecies being fulfilled?

It all came down to this crucial part of the plan, God's masterpiece: Mary Immaculate. The obedient and humble Mary trusts in God and accepts His will. The Catechism says:

The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time," the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily" (484).

The Mercy and Mary Connection
Saints and theologians have considered the connection between God's mercy and the Immaculate Conception for centuries. We can, however, plainly see earthly connections. Right here. In Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Look at the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. They administer the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, and they are the official promoters of the message of Divine Mercy — in particular as the publishers of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska (which records revelations about God's mercy).

The Marian Founder, St. Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701), frequently addressed this topic of mercy and Mary in his homilies and writings — some two centuries before the dogma of the Immaculate Conception would be proclaimed officially by the Church. He wrote, "I believe everything that the holy Roman Church believes ... but first of all I profess that the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, was spotless from original sin, from the moment of her conception."

Saint Stanislaus recognized that Mary's redemption was the very masterpiece of God's merciful plan for the world.

Today, Marian priests continue to give parish missions and Mercy & Mary Retreats on this topic. They also write and publish materials through Marian Press in their efforts to spread the message of Divine Mercy and devotion to Mary Immaculate.

Nothing Is Too Much
In light of the connection between God's mercy and the Immaculate Conception, it's no surprise that St. Faustina had a special devotion to Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. She recorded:

It is with great zeal that I have prepared for the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. I have made an extra effort to keep recollected in spirit, and have meditated on that unique privilege of our Lady. And thus my heart was completely drowned in her, thanking God for having accorded this great privilege to Mary.

I prepared not only by means of the novena said in common by the whole community, but I also made a personal effort to salute her a thousand times each day, saying a thousand "Hail Marys" for nine days in her praise. ... Although I must admit that such a matter requires a good deal of attention and effort, nothing is too much when it comes to honoring the Immaculate Virgin (Diary, 1412 and 1413).

So, on this Solemnity, let's give thanks to God for Mary Immaculate who triumphed in her pivotal role, unique in the chain reaction of salvation history.

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Celestin - Dec 8, 2018

Hail Mary. I would like to say you that our mother Mary lived in her whole life with out a single shadow of sin. Not only in time of Our Lord Jesus's birth. Some people says no. I ask them "Do you keep any irrespective things near by the Holy Bible ". Just we are the ordinary people like to respect that much please just think..... Lord's Mother Mary should have given to him. Yes She loved him and respect him . That is why God blessed her Our Queen.
Note: I'm very poor in English Please forgive me if there is any mistakes in my words. Thanks

ENON - Dec 8, 2018

I believe with all my heart that Mary was Immaculately conceived, because Jesus who is God CANNOT be born in sin and dirt, since He is sinless and pure.
I believe darling Mother what You said to Blessed Alan de la Roche, whatever we ask in faith, You will definitely do it for us. I love you with all my heart my dearest darling Mother. Please help me to ponder things in my heart like You did, especially when I am hurt and upset.

Jackie Marie - Dec 8, 2018

Dear Holy Mother of God. I love you with all my heart and grateful that you are with me everyday. You give me strength and hope.

Jean - Dec 8, 2018

Knowing that the Blessed Virgin Mary in there for me and has helped me and my family in so many ways. She is a gracious and caring mother. Please continue to help with my daily requests for myself and my family. Thanks for being my Mother.

Dee - Dec 8, 2018

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of my Blessed Mother, on her glorious birthday, I consecrate myself as your humble servant today and always. Praise be to GOD most high! I love you dear Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for those who have recourse to thee.

Maryann - Dec 8, 2018

Thank you my mother, my queen for saying “yes”.
For the many blessings and continue to spread your mantel on me and my beloved family & friends. Divine Mercy, I Trust In You!

Denise from Toronto - Dec 8, 2018

I have had the privilege of acquiring an old Ukrainian Byzantine 19th century icon of Mary’s day of birth with her parents and attendants surrounding her while i was in Bethlehem, Israel a few weeks ago. I received it in time for today the Feast of her Immaculate Conception. I can feel all the prayers and meditations that have gone into this icon over the years and am filled with the hope that the immaculate conception has brought to all of us that God our Father has not forgotten us, we are His and He always holds out to us salvation in all the difficult moments of our lives.
May our Lady’s maternal presence be with all of us!

Marion - Dec 8, 2018 - Dec 8, 2018

Please pray for me that depressing thoughts from the past can be kept at bay, and that I can enjoy my blessed life and marriage. Thank you.

Theresa - Dec 8, 2018

For all your gracious intercessions for my family and I, I thank you Mother Mary. Please continue to help my family and me.

Sabrina - Dec 8, 2018

Please, Blessed Mother, intercede for my husband Jim that his back may be healed and his other blood tests prove to be nothing of importance. Please take away my financial fears and stop Jim's untruthful accusations of my infidelity.

Jacqueline - Dec 8, 2018

Dearest Mother, please pray for my dearly department relatives and friends. Also, please pray for a cure for my eyes. Amen

Ellen - Dec 8, 2018

Come Holy Spirit, living in Mary from her conception, and lead us to Jesus , Joy and Eternal salvation.

John - Dec 8, 2018

Dearest Mother, my hope and strength. I love and adore you today and always. I pray that my children return to our Catholic faith so they may continue their journey with you and your Son till eternity.

Bonnie - Dec 8, 2018

Blessed Mother please intercede for our marriage. We need God’s mercy to heal. Jesus’s love to guide us. And your prayers to guide the decisions being made. Amen

Caroline - Dec 8, 2018

Our Blessed Mother has been my rock and salvation all my life and I pray that she will continue to guide us and intercede with Jesus forever. Thank you Merciful Mother.

bernadine - Dec 8, 2018

thank you for being there for me Mary in so many trials I felt your presence in each moment

Cathie - Dec 8, 2018

Dearest Mary thank you for your loving care and support and guidance for all our blessed priests and those who are discerning a holy call to priesthood and/religious life. Amen.

Dana - Dec 8, 2018

Beautiful Mother Mary, Immaculate Conception, please intercede for my family. I pray for healing in any way needed for each of us individually, my marriage, and our family as a whole. May each of us develop or deepen our love and devotion to you. Thank you, Merciful Mother.

Salvatore DeMaria - Dec 8, 2018

Mary participates in every act of Holy Communion by the fact that we are receiving Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity... 'THE FRUIT OF HER WOMB'.

Carol - Dec 8, 2018

Beautiful Mother Mary, Thank you for hearing my prayers, for bringing me closer to Jesus and helping me live as a better child of God. Thank you for the blessings of answered prayers. Thank you for the faith, which I have learned to try to live as child of God and handle adversities, with your help. Help me to pray for my families faith and love of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Blessed Virgin and all the Saints. May we all be redeemed as God wants. This is my daily prayer. Amen

Mark Lawrence Augustine Jacobson - Dec 8, 2018

Blessed and Holy Virgin Mary, intercede on this your great Feast Day, for the people of France who are enduring turmoil, protests and a great falling away from the Faith. Protect the Churches in this land so blessed with the Faith in times past... bless the great French monasteries like La Grand Chartreuse, where continual prayer is raised for the Holy Church. Pray O Immaculate Conception for the resurgence of the Faith in France and throughout the world. Amen.

Lynne - Dec 8, 2018

Blessed Mother, thank you for the strength and love you show us and bring to us every minute of every day. May I grow ever closer to you and your Son.

Sandra Mary - Dec 8, 2018

My dearest Blessed Mother Mary, thank you for bringing me closer to your Beloved Son and our Savoir, Jesus Christ. Please watch over my daughter, Ashley & my husband John, open their hearts to you as you have opened mine. I love you my Holy Mother Mary with all my heart. Help me to be a worthy disciple of your Son, Jesus.

Linda - Dec 8, 2018

My dearest Mother Mary
I am begging you to bring to your son my desire to help me with my guilty pleasure that I want to stop. I also ask for help to love myself as your son does.Healing in my marriage and family and that my daughter return to church. I need to trust in Jesus that he will give me all these that I now ask for.
I love you Jesus and Mother Mary I ask that you be with me to help me.

Rafael - Dec 8, 2018

Blessed Mother lead us to Jesus.

- Dec 8, 2018

Thank you mother for teaching me the rosary that I pray every day.

Marcia - Dec 8, 2018

Dear Mother Mary, Please help me to spread devotion to your Immaculate Heart within the Rosary Apostolate program of my parish. Help me teach these precious children.

Rachel - Dec 8, 2018

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Jennifer - Dec 8, 2018

Dear Immaculata, Thank you for saying “Yes”! Thank you for leading and guiding us each day of our lives, as our Holy Mother, to Jesus your son and our Brother, so that we too may be pure and holy and wed to His Holy Spirit as you are! May the good and Provident God Bless each of us this Feast Day of your Immaculate Conception with every Spiritual Blessing we need to accomplish His will for us, in Jesus’s name we pray, AMEN

nette - Dec 8, 2018

Dear Mother Mary, thank you for your intercession. Please heal me with my illness and protect us from danger.

Brigitte - Dec 8, 2018

Dear Blessed Mother Mary,Thank you for accepting God's will and for your continued blessings on us all. I pray for healing on my friend, Brigitte, for her stage 4 cancer that has spread. I pray she also finds you and Jesus to help her with whatever lies ahead. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

Patricia - Dec 8, 2018

Mother Mary,
Please intercede for my daughter that the drugs that she is taking stop and destroy the antibodies attacking her organs, and save her kidneys.
Thank you, dearest Mother

Sandy - Dec 8, 2018

Dear is Blessed Mother I pray for all those who suffer from drug addiction of any kind and I pray for their family members for healing through your most Immaculate Heart

Pamela marie - Dec 8, 2018

Dear loving Mother make my heart like yours to love God as you do. Please bind my children and in-law children (and future in-lawchildren) to your Immaculate Heart and bring them and my grandchildren in love and purity to the foot of the cross with you and to heaven forever . Please pray for addiction healing, conversion of all those who don’t love and adore Jesus in my family , colleagues and friends. Thank you for all graces given especially the grant for African charity.

Janet - Dec 8, 2018

Mother Mary, please be with Kevin and his family as he suffers from cancer, and if it be the Divine Will, please intercede for his healing. If not, then we take the suffering he and his family are going through and join it with your seven sorrows and the Passion of your Son and offer them to the Father for the reparation of the sins of all souls past, present, and future....Let the Kingdom Come!

- Dec 8, 2018

Beautiful Lady and Mother of the most high God. Thank you, for your intercession in all matters of my life. Please pray for my family and myself. Through Christ our Lord Amen

Judy - Dec 8, 2018

Thank you, dear Mary, for your steadfast love and support. Please offer prayers for Lorraine, who is suffering from Stage 4 brain cancer, and bring her peace and healing and total forgiveness and mercy so she may live with Jesus forever. Keep my confused and suffering mom, Evelyn, your devoted daughter, in your heart. Seeking healing and continued miracles, if it be His Will. Bring healing to Margaret and Gordon and love to the heart of Marylynn, who needs more miracles to survive her lung cancer. I humbly ask your prayers for personal strength. Bless my children and grandchild and baby to come. Lead them to our Lord. Thank you for my many blessings and the signs you have shown. I trust in Jesus and believe in your loving prayers!

Carol K - Dec 8, 2018

Please pray for my husband Dale he has a pinched nerve in his neck all the way down to his left fingers. The Souls In Purgatory. For myself more graces.

Lisa from Lothian, Maryland - Dec 8, 2018

Dear Blessed Mother, please wrap your mantle of comfort around all in my family who are suffering spiritually, emotionally, physically or mentally. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

YMc - Dec 8, 2018

Oh Blessed Mother, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Keep my wayward sons under your mantle and lead them back to Jesus! I pray for all those in my family away from the church for whatever reason to return with zeal!

Lawrence - Dec 8, 2018

Let it be done to me according t your word!

Jennifer - Dec 8, 2018

Most merciful Mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus. Amen

Joan - Dec 8, 2018

Blessed mother, please let my children return to the faith, please bring my grandchildren to a knowledge of you and inspire them to commit their lives to you

Maria and Paul in Texas - Dec 8, 2018

Holy Mother, Celestial Queen, please bind our children Connor, Kyle,and Angelus to your Immaculate Heart. Keep us all- our entire family including our parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, dear friends and relatives- under your protective mantle of care so that we will all be together with you in heaven. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.

Nora - Dec 8, 2018

Dear mother Mary, I thank you for all the blessings. Please let Krystal, Lawrence and Greg love, know and praise your beloved son Jesus. Don’t let us live or die in mortal sin. Pray for us

Divinia - Dec 7, 2018

Dear Mama Mary, please pray for the return to the faith of my children and the conversion of their partners to the Catholic faith. May all my family be together with you in heaven on Jesus' second coming. Thank you, with love.

Maria - Dec 7, 2018

Dear Blessed Mother please bring my children back to the faith,and please bless my oldest daughter and her husband with a child. Thank You my sweet mother for your love and guidance.

Casey - Dec 7, 2018

Blessed Mother, thank you for being with me and my family always. Please continue to intercede for me without cease to our Almighty God. Please join your prayers to those of our savior, Jesus Christ, and pray that God brings me full, complete, and permanent healing from my cancer. Please hear my prayers and those of my children, we love you so much. Thank you for your suffering and your sorrow you endured through the passion of your son. In Jesus's beautiful name, and for God's Great Glory, Amen.

Mary - Dec 7, 2018

Blessed mother mary,please heal my daughter Yvette she suffering from an infection and she is severely disabled,thank you for blessings g me with my daughter . Thank you for hearing my prayer .

Lois - Dec 7, 2018

Please watch over all I know and love. Especially my children and my granddaughter. Please answer my daily prayers. Thank you for all you have done.

Mary in New Jersey - Dec 7, 2018

Dear Blessed Mother Please keep my children and grandchildren close to yourImmaculate Heart. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Patricia - Dec 7, 2018

Thank you Blessed Mother Mary, for your love. Lead me and my family and all families to your dear Son Jesus. Help us each day to walk in His example, to embrace our crosses lovingly how ever difficult they may be and to prepare ourselves for His return.

Kenny Roy - Dec 7, 2018

For my son Kenny Roy, he is very sick, he has light chain multiple myeloma cancer, he has started with the chemotherapy now, he has a blood disease, the B cells are attacking the bone marrow in his bones. I pray for a anointing and healing of his body and soul. Please give him the strength to go through whatever he must go through. Amen.

Larry - Dec 7, 2018

Blessed Mother, please help my children to love you at least as much as I do. Thank you for allowing me to wear your blue scapular with love and honor+

Nate - Dec 7, 2018

Thank you Mary for guiding me and bringing me closer to your son Jesus. Thank you for loving me and my family.

EDT - Dec 7, 2018

Thank you Blessed Virgin Mary for saying “Yes” to God. Our Mother and the Mother of the Son of the Almighty God. How glorious! Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!

- Dec 7, 2018

Mother Mary thank you for listening to my prayers. I bind my children and grandson to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thank you for my many blessings. Please help my husband with his respiratory illness.

yvonne - Dec 7, 2018

Mary our mother and Queen. Give me your strength, courage, faith, love to give. To all my family and friends. Help my granddaughter Sarakate age 6 with her emotional mental, medical, physical my daughter Vannessa in obtaining a full time job and or a raise, to be able to pay her bills and support her 2 daughters. Sara Kate and paige age 3. Help my husband Richard with his health.strengthen our marriage. Ry for my son omar and wife Katherine with their needs, strengthen their marriage aseell. Convert them to become faithful catholics. Thank you

Adele - Dec 7, 2018

Thank you for including me in your intentions on December 8th, my birthday that I love to share with the Immaculate Mary. I thank our Mother for the many times she has helped in my prayers for special intentions. I pray for two special women with cancer Stephanie and Tania and my sister Sylvie who needs a kidney donor. I trust that prayers will be answered...

Maria - Dec 7, 2018

Please pray for my father who is in the hospital again. Please pray so that he can go home soon

KRYS - Dec 7, 2018

Thank you our Dear Mother Mary for prayers answered. I pray to you for healing in our family.

Debby - Dec 7, 2018

Dearest Mother Mary
Please pray for my daughters to grow in faith and to believe in the mercy of your son, our Dear Lord Jesus. Thank you for getting me through life's challenges.

Eva W - Dec 7, 2018

Thank You for removing all the knots that stood in the way, for your Love and help. Thank you for your Son.

SHEHLA - Dec 7, 2018

Thank you for all the time you have answered my prayers Holy Mother. Please help me with my son's health and caregiving of my elderly mother and my own health, blessings and grace for the people and friends who support me in my life. Amen. In Jesus name. Thank you.

E.M. - Dec 7, 2018

For peace among family members and throughout the world!

William & Patricia - Dec 7, 2018

Mother Mary, please accept every rosary we’ve ever said as a chain to tie our children and grandchildren to your sorrowful & Immaculate Heart. Thank you for all the prayers you’ve answered throughout our lives. O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.

sr. katherine - Dec 7, 2018

How I love you dear mother. Make my heart as spotless and pure as yours. Another replica so I can help to our birth countless spiritual children. In Jesus name. Amen.

Lisa Peppel - Dec 7, 2018

Lord Jesus, on this the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception let us remember our Mothers in the one true Faith and ask our Heavenly Mother to bless them for all that they have done and continue to do. God bless all spiritual Mothers.

Ronald Frederico - Dec 7, 2018

Have A Blessed Birthday, Our Mother. ...Hail Mary Full Of Gtace The Lord Is With Thee Blessed Art Thou Amongst Woman 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. ...
O Mary Conceived Without Sin Pray For US Who Have Recourse To Thee. ... Amen. ...

Gerry - Dec 7, 2018

Mother Mary,pray for my children and grandchildren that they will return to God and the church

Debbie - Dec 7, 2018

Please pray for my Mom, Doris, who has terminal ovarian cancer that has metastasized. For mercy and no horrible suffering and pain. For healing.

Beverly in South Carolina - Dec 7, 2018

Thanks be to God for His Divine Plan!

Christine Symonds - Dec 7, 2018

Pray for me as I have my marriage Convalidation ceremony on 8th December 2018, my birthday and the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady . Ave Maria!

Gilda - Dec 7, 2018

My heart is a bottomless pit in thanking Our dear Mother for always being there for me to listen to my prayers. Today especially, I must have said the four mysteries of the rosary 10 times in thanksgiving for a blessing received for my daughter.Thank you,Mama Mary.

Bernadette - Dec 7, 2018

Our Mother Mary has always been an inspiration to me. There is so much to learn. Thank you