SOLEMNITY: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary



“And coming to her [Mary], he [Gabriel] said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The angel greeted Mary with a new address, which I could not find anywhere else in Scripture. I ought to explain this expression briefly. The angel says, “Hail, full of grace.” I do not remember having read this word elsewhere in Scripture. An expression of this kind, “Hail, full of grace,” is not addressed to a male. This greeting was reserved for Mary alone. Mary knew the Law; she was holy, and had learned the writings of the prophets by meditating on them daily. If Mary had known that someone else had been greeted by words like these, she would never have been frightened by this strange greeting. Hence the angel says to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary! You have found grace in God’s eyes. Behold, you will conceive in your womb. You will bear a son, and you will name him ‘Jesus.’ He will be great, and will be called ‘Son of the Most High.’” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 6.)




Collect
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.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen


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