The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us those who have recourse to thee!
Today's the most beautiful feast of the Immaculate Conception. I remember clearly what happened last year at this most beautiful feast and this year was also beautiful. :) Here's the link to last year's post (around this time).
Deo gratias et Mariae! for everything :)
From today's epistle, Prov. 8
Now therefore, ye children, hear me: blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.
Gegrüßet seist du, Maria, voll der Gnade, der Herr ist mit dir. Du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen, und gebenedeit ist die Frucht deines Leibes, Jesus. Heilige Maria, Mutter Gottes, bitte für uns Sünder jetzt und in der Stunde unseres Todes. Amen.
From the Alone with God, by Fr. J. Heyrmann S.J.:
Alone with God
Fr. J. Heyrmann S.J.
The Immaculate Conception
1. On December 8, 1854, in St Peter’s at Rome, Pope Pius IX, surrounded by hundreds of Bishops and thousands of Catholics, who had assembled in the Eternal City from every part of the world, solemnly and infallibly proclaimed that Mary’s Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Faith, revealed by God. In imagination we may assist at this glorious ceremony, remembering meanwhile how the angel appeared to Mary in the humble house of Nazareth and called her “full of grace”.
2. Petition: The grace to be moved to joy at the homage paid to our Lady, to thank God with her, and to acquire firm confidence in her powerful intercession.
I. “Saved in a More Sublime Manner”
Mary was a daughter of Adam and Eve, and therefore liable to the penalty that had befallen all Adam’s descendents. In the genealogies, which we read in the Holy Bible, many sinners are mentioned, both men and women. Mary, like ourselves, stood in need of Redemption – and Redemption by the one and only Redeemer, her Son Jesus Christ. But as Pius IX wrote in the bull proclaiming the dogma, “by a special grace and privilege, in view of the merits of Christ, Saviour of the whole human race, Mary, from the first moment of her existence was preserved from all taint, so that she was saved in a more sublime manner. She was so close to the Sun, that no shadow at all could fall upon her.” She was “full of grace”, the “all-beautiful”, the “glory of our race”. These favours were not bestowed on her because of any excellence or merit of her own, but on account of her Son and through His merits. No one was better aware of this than Mary herself; for in her Magnificat she proclaimed, “He that is mighty hath done great things to me.”
It was because she had been saved in so sublime a manner that she was so abysmally humble.
II. “For the Honour of Mary”
“To the honour and glory of the Virgin from whom He was born,” says the papal bull. “God has loved her, and adorned her; has vested her with a splendid garment.” Love feels the need of adorning and embellishing the object of its affection: in the case of Mary, He that loved was all powerful. The omnipotent Son would make His Virgin Mother all beautiful. (Tota pulchra est) He would make her worthy to mould His sacred Humanity, Body and Soul into, “the Son of Man”.
He would preserve her form the faintest breath or shadow of sin. He endowed her with the fullest measure of grace which a creature can receive.
All this grace and spiritual beauty was hers, when in the humble house of Nazareth she awaited the coming of the Divine Child. But all this beauty was interior, quite hidden form the eyes of the simple folk, who saw in her no more than the spouse of Joseph, the village carpenter.
III. “In Honour of the Holy and Undivided Trinity”
These are the opening words of the papal bull, defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. All the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity bear a part in the creation, the redemption, and the forming of Mary. The more complete and sublime her redemption was, the greater was her holiness, and therefore the greater the glory she gave to the Gather, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. No creature ever stood in such unique, such intimate relation to each of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.
“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
Human words, even our loftiest figures of speech, are too carnal and too gross to express adequately the mysterious relation that exists between Mary and the Father Almighty, Mary and the Word Incarnate, Mary and the Holy Ghost. An old Latin Hymn tried to express it as follows:
Thee made the Father, who knows no beginning;
On thee lay the shadow of the Father’s only Son;
Upon thee came the Holy Ghost;
Thy whole being, O Mary, is related to God.
Prayer: O God, who didst prepare worthy dwelling for Thy Son by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin: we beseech Thee, who didst preserve her from all stain in view of the death of Thy Son, to make us through her intercession so pure as to be admitted to Thy presence. Through our Lord. (Collect, Feast of the Immaculate Conception).
Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.
Jesus, Mary, I love Thee; Save Souls!
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)