Jesus is the way to eternal life, Mary is the way to Jesus
The second person of the Blessed Trinity became man to redeem us from sin and hell and to teach us the way to heaven. He redeemed us from sin and hell by suffering as a man to repay the debt of man to God. He taught us the way to heaven not only by His words, not only by His example, but by giving us His mother. This was an act of tender mercy for, by sharing her with us, he gave to us a wonderful model of virtue, an advocate to plead for us and a tender mother to whom we could flee (see the Memorare by St. Bernard).
Without His mother, Jesus might have been too formidable a character: He was kind, He was gentle – especially with children – but he was also fearsome: in debate with the Pharisees, in his casting-out devils, in prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem, in His holy anger in the Temple. When we see His loving mother, however, our fear of Jesus is dispelled.
Mary is a path to Jesus; united to her, we are united to her Son.
Necessity of the Immaculate Conception
As Mary was to be the mother of God, our model, our advocate and our heavenly mother, it was necessary that Satan or sin could never have touched her: this is the reason for dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX on 8th December 1854. Mary was preserved from original sin at the moment of her conception by the grace merited by her future Son on Calvary. Grace is not constrained by time: the salvation of the Patriarchs and all good souls who followed the natural law or revealed law of the Old Testament were similarly saved by the grace of the future Calvary.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception & Advent
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is in perfect harmony with the spirit of Advent; while the soul is preparing to commemorate the birth of the Redeemer, it is fitting to think of her, the all-pure one, who was His Mother, our model, our intercessor and our mother, so that we may prepare for an increase of His second advent in us by grace.
Let us, therefore, on this great feast, fall on our knees before the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to guide us - not only for Advent but for the rest of our lives on earth - so that she might be the path to union with her Beloved Son for all eternity.