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124

Part One

Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in

1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment

of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of al-

mighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior

of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of

original sin.

135

492

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which

Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes

wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion,

by reason of the merits of her Son.”

136

The Father blessed Mary

more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual

blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the

foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in

love.”

137

493

The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God

“the All-Holy” (

Panagia

) and celebrate her as “free from any stain

of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new

creature.”

138

By the grace of God Mary remained free of every

personal sin her whole life long.

“Let it be done to me according to your word . . .”

494

At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son

of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy

Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that

“with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the hand-

maid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.”

139

Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother

of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly,

without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the

person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the

mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s

grace:

140

135 Pius IX,

Ineffabilis Deus,

1854: DS 2803.

136

LG

53, 56.

137 Cf.

Eph

1:3-4.

138

LG

56.

139

Lk

1:28-38; cf.

Rom

1:5.

140 Cf.

LG

56.

2011

1077

2617

148

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