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The devil finds no foothold in this woman

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 12/08/22

This makes me look, in turn, at my own life, and I see it full of footholds on which evil can gain leverage ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception we do not simply take yet another Marian pause in the liturgical year, but we pause to contemplate the great mystery of this woman’s freedom from evil. The Evil One’s way of thinking doesn’t take root in her in any way. The devil finds no foothold in this woman.

This makes me look, in turn, at my own life, and I see it full of footholds on which evil can gain leverage.

First, there are my unaccepted frailties. Then the wounds and sufferings I’ve received and never truly forgiven. Then pride, selfishness, and my desire for my will to always prevail over everything and everyone.

Who will save me from all this? “Can one blind man lead another blind man?” asks the Gospel. 

But that’s where today’s feast comes in: Our Redeemer, Jesus, the One who saves me from all that imprisons my freedom, uses Mary as a privileged instrument. And so that she may be of benefit to our salvation, he gives her the gift of being inviolate and untouchable by evil.

Mary’s immaculate hands are the immaculate hands of the Church every time it gives us the Eucharist and mercy. Mary’s words are the words of the Church every time that it repeats her words, pointing to Jesus: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Mary’s feet are the feet of the Church whenever it becomes missionary, just as she set out for Elizabeth’s house. Mary’s faith is the faith of the Church whenever it repeats with her, “Here I am, your will be done.”


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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