whose will is omnipotence itself,
and whose wisdom
'reaches from end to end mightily,
and orders all things sweetly'
- having foreseen from all eternity
the lamentable wretchedness of the entire human race
which would result from the sin of Adam,
decreed, by a plan hidden from the centuries,
to complete the first work of his goodness
by a mystery yet more wondrously sublime
through the Incarnation of the Word.
"This he decreed
in order that man
who, contrary to the plan of Divine Mercy
had been led into sin by the cunning malice of Satan,
should not perish;
and in order that
what had been lost in the first Adam
would be gloriously restored in the Second Adam.
"From the very beginning, and before time began,
the eternal Father
chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son
in whom the Son of God would become incarnate
and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time,
he would be born into this world....
"Wherefore.... the most Blessed Virgin Mary,
in the first instant of her conception,
was preserved free from all stain of original sin
by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God,
in view of
the merits of Jesus Christ,
the Savior of the human race...."
(...beatissimam Virginem Mariam in primo instanti suae conceptionis fuisse singulari Omnipotentis Dei gratia et privilegio, intuitu meritorum Christi Jesu Salvatoris humani generis, ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservatam immunem...)
from INEFFABILIS DEUS
Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IX
December 8, 1854
154 years ago
today the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception