On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception

Pope Reflects on Mary's Aid in Struggle Against Sin

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, before praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.



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1. "Tota pulchra es Maria" -- You are all beautiful, O Mary!

Today the Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If Christ is the day that knows no setting, Mary is the radiant dawn of beauty.

Chosen to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate, Mary is at the same time first in his redemptive work. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in an anticipated manner, preserving her from original sin and from all fault.

2. Because of this, Mary is "full of grace" (Luke 1:28), as the Angel affirmed when he brought to her the announcement of her divine maternity. The human mind cannot attempt to understand such a great prodigy and mystery. It is faith that reveals that the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin is the pledge of salvation for every human being, pilgrim on earth. It is also faith that reminds us that, in the strength of her most singular condition, Mary is our unbreakable support in the hard struggle against sin and its consequences.

3. In keeping with a beautiful tradition, this afternoon I will go to Piazza di Spagna, and so render homage to the Immaculate Virgin. Blessed Pope Pius IX had her effigy placed at the top of a column in perpetual memory of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed on Dec. 8, 1854. With today's pilgrimage, therefore, we enter in the 150th anniversary of that solemn act of the magisterium of the Church.

As of now I invite you to join me in invoking the intercession of Mary Immaculate for the Church, for the city of Rome, and for the whole world.

[Translation by ZENIT]