mother's womb. That the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived, "in view of her future merits and future dignity"  in becoming the Mother of God, is a doctrine - now a defined dogma - of the Church, a truth imparted by God in Divine Revelation to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Here is one of God's great mysteries, for this Lady would one day acquiese to the humble Bernadette's thrice-made request for Her name by first lifting Her eyes to Heaven, placing Her hands together as if in prayer, and then responding, "I am the Immaculate Conception." These words of the Mother of God in Her glory reinforce the truth that conception is not an 'event' - but that conception is a human life, body and soul. How much everything about Our Lady teaches us!
"She was born free from Original Sin and, further, during her entire life she never committed even the slightest sin. She received more graces than anyone else who ever lived and she accepted and corresponded to them all." (3)
At the Annunciation, the young Virgin Mary was already "full of grace," for so did the angel address her, "Hail, Full of Grace! The Lord is with thee." (4) So the Angel Gabriel spoke to the humble Immaculate One for, by his words, God's messenger revealed the name by which the Father called her: "Full of Grace."
The Virgin Mary is "the woman" foretold by God in Genesis 3:15; it was her "Fiat!" to God's Will which made possible the Incarnation of the God-Man, Our Savior. It is only fitting that She who was to give the world the Savior, the maiden Who would be His Mater et Magistra, the Woman to whom the Son of God would subject Himself in perfect charity and obedience, must be like Him, "full of grace." Her words to the Angel Gabriel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word" manifested Her free-will consent to God's Will...(5)
At the moment of the Incarnation, the Virgin Mother became Theotokos (the Mother of God); at that moment, the second Eve became the spiritual mother of all the living. For that moment was Mary was conceived without sin and, through Her own merits, sanctifying graces only increased in Her Immaculate Soul throughout Her entire life. It was for the Birth, Life and Passion of the Savior, Who offers Redemption to each soul born into the world, that the Perpetual Virgin was created, born, lived and passed through this world as the Immaculate One.
"The great lesson to be learned from the birth of Our Lady, [a birth] without any external grandeur, is the importance of the possession of God's grace....The birth of Mary brings to us the meaning of the interior life. Our external works are only of value in proportion to the state of grace in our souls...to our union with God. This is why the actions of some of the saints who never appeared in public but lived in the cloister or away from the tumult of the world were raised up to great heights of holiness. This arose from their interior life or their eagerness to increase the state of Sanctifying Grace in their souls. Mary led the interior life in all its activity and all its beauty. She is really the model for all those who wish to acquire sanctity. Mary increased the state of Sanctifying Grace by her great purity of intention. Her whole life was spent in forgetfulness of self and in doing God's Will. No child of Adam ever thought less of herself than Mary. Her thoughts were constantly occupied with God and she only thought of how she could give glory to God." (7)
"We can imitate Mary here at least by saying frequent aspirations and by offering each little action or each little sacrifice in union with the works and sufferings of Jesus and Mary for the salvation of souls. As a preparation for this feast, let us offer our Holy Communion that we may obtain that purity of intention and that zeal for souls that characterized the whole life of Mary. If we consecrate to this tender Virgin our purity of soul, she will preserve it for us, and if we ask her to protect us from all the snares of the devil, she will shield us with her mantle. May this sweet Mother be more loved in the years to come, and she will then bring all her children to the feet of Jesus." (8)
On this day commemorating Our Lady's Nativity, may we remember the Sweet Name of Mary, and all that it means, as expressed in the lovely poem below:
(1) Fr. H. O'Laverty, The Mother of God and Her Glorious Feasts (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1977. Originally published between 1908-1915 under the title The Mother of God's Glorious Feasts): p.10
(3) Ibid., p. ix
(4) Lk 1:28
(5) Lk 1:38
(6) Jn 1:14
(7) O'Laverty, op. cit, pp.11-13
(8) Ibid. p. 14
(9) "The Names of Our Lady" by Adelaide A. Proctor, The Art and Literature Reader (Book IV), Copyright 1904.