Immaculate Conception

Happy feast day! Today is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception — and a holy day of obligation as well, so don’t forget to go to mass!

When I first heard about the Immaculate Conception, I assumed that it was about Jesus being conceived. Boy, was I wrong! While we do celebrate that day (which is known as the Feast of the Incarnation, or the Feast of the Annunciation, and is on March 25) this is not about the birth of Jesus! 

It’s about Mary!

It’s about how she was conceived by God Himself!

Remember this lovely Psalm?

God knows who we are from the beginning, for God exists in eternity! We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God Himself!

Which begs the question… what does Mary look like to God, before she was even made? After all, she is the woman who accepted God in her very womb! She is the mother of God! How would God see her?

While we can’t possibly know what she must have looked like, we are given a tiny glimpse in Revelation:

And so! Artworks of the Immaculate Conception are often of that image of the woman in Revelation. Just take a look at this lovely image!

Immaculate Conception, by Manuel Oquendo, c. 1800. Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Sucre, Bolivia. Via
The Immaculate Conception, by Manuel Oquendo, c. 1800. Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Sucre, Bolivia. 

As you can see, this image attempts to capture the image set forth by Revelation!

The Virgin Mary seems to beam in radiance, her dress white for the brilliance of the sun. Around her head are twelve twinkling stars. Underneath her feet is an orb that is supposed to be the moon.

Then, look at her feet! At her feet is a serpent, holding a fruit to represent Satan and his temptations. Once, Satan was able to lead the first woman who was conceived without the stain of original sin — aka, Eve — away. But Mary steps on the serpent, a reminder of this biblical verse:


Genesis 3

15I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your offspring and hers;They will strike at your head,while you strike at their heel.

Though Jesus is the one who will put the final distance between us and Satan (this artwork comes to mind immediately!), Mary plays an extremely important role, for she is the one who first brings Jesus to us! And, as His mother, she and St. Joseph protected Him until He was of age to finally make His appearance to us.

Finally, under her feet are the words, “Mater Immaculata ora pro nobis.” Or, in English, “Immaculate Mother pray for us.”

And so, we ask her, whom Jesus Himself gave to us as our mother, to pray for us and our intentions as we strive to follow her Son, Jesus Christ. 

Mater Immaculata ora pro nobis!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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