The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Mary’s life was, like ours, truly human, and she was also involved in the same sort of oppressive, hopeless and often apparently insoluble social situations in which every human being is at some time or another placed. But she showed us, by her example, how faith in the mystery of the living God is stronger than human life, stronger, too, than death—even the death of her own Messiah. … Her strong faith and trust enabled her to penetrate Christ’s human “shroud” and enter a divine world.”   – Edward Schillebeeckx, Mary: Mother of the Redemption

Icon: О девице пречистая от всех родов избранная (“Of the virgin, the most pure from all generations”), unknown north Russian artist, 18th century




  1. Why is it necessary that Mary be conceived without original sin? The fact that she was conceived sexually by Joachim and Anna means that she was conceived in sin (Psalm 51), and she was chosen by God by grace, the same way He chose me and you. Why the Immaculate Conception? Mary became real to me when I became a Lutheran and studied the texts of Luke 1 and 2 and found the beauty of a young woman chosen by grace, a woman who was real, not a plaster statue. My love and devotion to the Blessed Mother has grown deeper and truer since becoming a Lutheran. Just saying…..

    1. Does conception taking place in the normal human way involve sin? Always?
      My understanding is that the marriage bed is not only “undefiled,” it is holy. Especially in the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her parents, Sts. Joachim and Anna.
      Eastern Christians celebrate the Conception of the Virgin with a beautiful icon of her parents embracing.

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