Ineffabilis Deus - The Immaculate Conception - Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1854
"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
1. The first reference to Mary in Luke occurs when the angel Gabriel is sent to Nazareth ‘to a virgin betrothed to a man of the house of David, whose name was Joseph; and the virgin name was Mary’ (1: 26-27). Gabriel’s annunciation is concerned with the future greatness of Jesus, and its primary emphasis is Christological. We should not forget this Christology even though there has been more Marian reflection based on this scene than on any other in the NT.
2. All are aware with how much diligence this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God has been handed down, proposed and defended by the most outstanding religious orders, by the more celebrated theological academies, and by very eminent doctors in the sciences of theology. All know, likewise, how eager the bishops have been to profess openly and publicly, even in ecclesiastical assemblies, that Mary, the most holy Mother of God, by virtue of the foreseen merits of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, was never subject to original sin, but was completely preserved from the original taint, and hence she was redeemed in a manner more sublime.
3. To the Fathers of the Church, Mary is an almost infinite treasury, an inexhaustible abyss of these gifts, to such an extent that she was never subject to the curse and was, together with her Son, the only partaker of perpetual benediction. Hence she was worthy to hear Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, exclaim: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
4. Many Popes approved confraternities, congregations and religious communities founded in honor of the Immaculate Conception, monasteries, hospitals, altars, or churches; they praised persons who vowed to uphold with all their ability the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. Besides, it afforded the greatest joy to our predecessors to ordain that the Feast of the Conception should be celebrated in every church with the very same honor as the Feast of the Nativity; that it should be celebrated with an octave by the whole Church; that it should be reverently and generally observed as a holy day of obligation.
5. Christian holiness is embodied in Mary and must be realized in the Church. It is God’s transforming presence which must become fruitful in life and work. The scanty biblical data would not be sufficient as a basis for systematic ethics and spirituality but Mary is transparent, filled with the mystery of God. When people pray before her image they enter into God’s presence.
The feast of Immaculate Conception is one of the greatest solemnities in the Church. Mary’s holiness is the hope and model for all of us. Let us surrender totally to our Mother by seeking protection under her powerful mantle. Let us ask our Blessed mother to intercede for us to keep ourselves pure and holy.
INEFFABILIS DEUS (The Immaculate Conception) Pope Pius IX - Apostolic Constitution issued on December 8, 1854.
Mary in the New Testament – Raymond Brown
Mary Mother of the Savior – J. Neuner, SJ