Thursday, December 8, 2016 Feast of the Immaculate Conception
These are our darkest afternoons. But, surprise! For most of us, Thursday, December 8, will bring the turnaround. It’s a major winter milestone: the day of our earliest sunset. This puzzles people, but in fact it’s a reliable yearly sequence. First comes earliest sunset, this week. Then there’s the solstice half a month later, the day with the fewest minutes of daylight. Finally, another two weeks later, in early January, we get our murkiest morning—the latest sunrise. So we’re now slam bang at the low point of afternoon sunshine. And since far more people are awake and aware of things at 4:30 PM than they are at 6 in the morning, in a very real sense you can forget about the solstice and the “official” shortest day of the year. So far as what most folks actually experience, NOW is the darkest time of the year.(https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/158d405eb1637d53)
Mary as the new Eve is an essential part of God’s redemptive plan bringing light to a dark world.
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.- Catechism of the Catholic Church
was completed by Spanish artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo in the 17th century. It hangs in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.