Joachim and Anne were married and had been trying for a baby for decades. Anne was in her 40s and had been scorned as the sinful woman whose suspected and supposed sins meant God had not blessed them with a babe. Nasty rumors did the rounds that Anne was a kind of reprobate. Then the faithful moment came, Joachim and Anne became one in the marital embrace and the Immaculate Conception took place in Anne's womb when Mary was conceived. From the moment of her existence, Mary's soul was one hundred percent full of grace. The name "Anne" means grace and Mary was conceived, even as a tiny zygote, to be one hundred percent grace. To the shock of all those who had calumniated Anne, Anne bore the child who would be mother of the Messiah!

Today, December 8 is the celebration of the conception of the woman who would be visited by Angel Gabriel and told she was "full of grace". Her conception was the most revolutionary conception of a human person - she was being formed in the womb of her mother - so that she would bear the Messiah. I submit it gives more honor and it is more truthful to emphasize Mary's fullness of grace. If we do not first and foremost esteem Mary as "sinless" and sideline her saturation of grace, we put her at the level of every other zygote who has never committed a sin. There are some mentally ill and mentally disabled persons who have never committed a sin: to sin is to knowingly do wrong, and there are some who cannot tell the difference. Yet like all of us, they have the stain of original sin. The only creature who has ever had that totality of grace is Mary. As a celebration of her conception, I've selected sage insights and lyrics of love that help us gain an appreciation of the fullness of grace in Mary's soul.

"The angel says to Mary: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women." He speaks very positively. he does not say: Thou art conceived without sin, thou didst remain unstained by original sin. He says, full of grace, i.e. the kingdom of God is in you with a fullness, a strength, a firmness that no other creature possesses....God gave Mary the highest fullness of His kingdom; she was not conscious of it, however, and could contribute nothing to it".  Dr Pius Parsch 

""Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."  Here we see a rare biblical name change, however, this is not so much a name change as it is the revealing of Mary's identity. The angel does not call her "Mary" but "Full of Grace," which is best capitalized since it is a name, and it describes the reality of Mary."  Keith Berube, taken from Mary, the Beloved

"Thou hast been made more glorious, more pure, more saintly than all the rest of humankind." St Gregory Thaumaturgus

"God alone is above her; all that is not God is beneath her." St Anselm

"All the tongues of men together could never celebrate Mary's praises worthily." St John Damascene

"As the light of the sun so greatly surpasses that of the stars that in it they are no longer visible, so does the great Virgin Mother surpass in sanctity the whole court of Heaven." St Peter Damian

"Nothing is too high for her to whom God owes His His human life; no exuberance of grace, no excess of glory...but is to be expected there, where God has lodged Himself, when God has issued." St John Henry Newman

"She is like a heavenly river upon whose flood all graces and gifts are born to us unhappy mortals." Pope Benedict XIV

"Devotion to Our Lady is the treasure of the Catholic Church. If proof were wanting that she is Christ's Church, none could be surer than this. She has never ceased, all through the ages of Christianity, to foster this tender love for the Mother of God...Every trifling thing is told to her and every great sorrow; she is the sharer of all earth's joys and griefs. She is not wearied by our littleness; her smile comes down to us like a benediction through the sea of flickering candles, and she blesses our wild flowers withering at her feet. For each one of us is "another Christ"; each one, to Mary is her only child." Caryll Houselander

"Our spiritual mother is far from distant, superficial, or saccharine. She is the true model of authentic femininity and offers us her assistance through all of life's demands, struggles, frustrations and tears. She brings clarity, healing, peace, joy and grace where she is invited." Carrie Gress in The Anti-Mary Exposed


The classic paintings were executed by Francisco de Zurbaran and Pedro Berruguete. 


  1. A fine post in our Lady's honor. Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Mary O'Regan!

    1. Thank you so much, James. May you and yours have every blessing from Our Lady.

  2. So perfectly stated. Our heavenly Mother…. Our heavenly gift!

  3. Our Heavenly Mother…, our heavenly Guft!


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