Today is the great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Many people (too many Catholics among them) think that the 'Immaculate Conception' has to do with Mary's virginity. I can see how the misunderstanding happens, because it sounds about right. However, it has to do with the fact that at her own conception, in the womb of her mother, Mary herself was made immaculate - free from the stain of original sin. God prepared Mary with the grace required, should she choose to accept the call to bear the Son of God. He made it possible for her to say yes, but the yes was hers to give.
That is an extraordinary gift, freedom from original sin -- and while we have not been given that grace, God does give us the gifts we need, individually, to answer His call, whatever it may be. Our part is to choose how we will answer.
Mary, Mother of God, you who were conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.