Today is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Under this title, Mary is the patroness of the United States and also of our diocese of Tyler, TX. This also happens to be the day the Southern Dominican Province was founded, back in 1979. And, it's the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis. It's a holy day of obligation, too, so hopefully you will go or have already gone to Mass!
Mary was conceived without sin--that is, she had no trace of the original sin all the rest of us are born with--but that doesn't mean she didn't have free will. She had the possibility to choose the wrong things, but she never did. Many times we recognize the difference between a good thing to do and an evil thing to do--these things are seldom gray--and for whatever reason we choose the evil. Let us pray today that through the intercession of Mary Immaculate we may always choose the good which will bring us closer to God.