Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Protection of the Unborn and all Human Life, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Madonna of the Americas, Patroness of the Unborn – Day Six – 8 December
Mary, Mother of vocations,
multiply priestly vocations
and fill the earth
with religious houses
which will be light
and warmth for the world,
safety in stormy nights.
Beg your Son to send us
many priests and religious,
after His own heart.
This we ask of you,
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be and the Prayer for the Protection of all Human Life
Prayer for the Unborn and the Protection of all Human Life
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
we turn to you,
who are the protectress of unborn children
and ask that you intercede for us,
so that we may more firmly resolve to join you
in protecting all human life.
Let our prayers be united
to your perpetual motherly intercession
on behalf of those whose lives are threatened,
be they in the womb of their mother,
on the bed of infirmity,
or in the latter years of their life.
May our prayers
also be coupled with peaceful action
which witnesses to the goodness
and dignity of all human life,
so that our firmness of purpose may give courage
to those who are fearful and bring light
to those who are blinded by sin.
O Virgin Mother of God,
present our petitions to your Son
and ask Him to bless us with abundant life.
Thought for the Day – 8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Virgin Mary, all Nature is Blessed by You
From a sermon by Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) Bishop and Doctor of the Church
“Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night – everything that is subject to the power or use of man – rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendour by men who believe in God. The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God Himself, its Creator, it sees Him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.
Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before His life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.
Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator but the Creator Himself has been blessed by creation.
To Mary, God gave His only-begotten Son, whom He loved as Himself. Through Mary, God made Himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God and God was born of Mary. God created all things and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave Himself form, through Mary and thus He made His own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake His ruined creation, without Mary.
God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made and Mary gave birth to Him as the Saviour of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.
Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to Himself. Holy Mary, Blessed Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of God and Mother of Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer, pray for us!”
Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori – 8 December – The First Saturday of Advent
The Son of God was laden with all our sins
Consider the humble state which the Son of God freely chose to assume. He not only took upon Himself the form of a slave but also, the form of a sinful servant “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Therefore, St Bernard writes, “He not only assumed the form of a servant but even that of a wicked servant.” And thus, in this way, He presented Himself to His Father, even from His birth, as a criminal and a debtor, guilty of all of our sins and, as such, was condemned to die as a malefactor, accursed on a cross.
Scripture All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life and this life was the light of the human race
“Behold the man” the Eternal Father, seems to say to all of us, showing Jesus to us in the stable of Bethlehem. “This poor child whom you behold, laid in a manager for beasts and stretched on straw, is my beloved Son, who has come into the world to take upon Himself your sins and your sorrows – love Him because He is infinitely worthy of your love and you are under an infinite obligation to do so.”
O my innocent Redeemer, enlighten the minds of those who do not know You or who do not love You.
Good and gracious God,
I sincerely thank and praise You for loving me.
Your love is the joy of my life.
Lord, help me to love You and others totally.
Take away any malice or bitterness in my life.
Help me love as Your Son, Jesus, loved.
And to love Him as my Life!
Remember the Babe in the Manger, keep Him before your eyes and you will not be able to forget what our sins do.
Our Morning Offering – 8 December – Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception
Act of Consecration By St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)
O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to You,
I, an unworthy sinner, cast myself at Your feet,
humbly imploring You
to take me with all that I am and have,
wholly to Yourself as Your possession and property.
Please make of me,
of all my powers of soul and body,
of my whole life, death and eternity,
whatever pleases You.
If it pleases You,
use all that I am and have without reserve,
wholly to accomplish what has been said of You:
“She will crush your head”,
and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.”
Let me be a fit instrument in Your immaculate
and most merciful hands for introducing and increasing Your glory
to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls
and thus help extend as far as possible,
the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For, wherever You enter,
You obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification,
since it is through Your hands,
that all graces come to us.
from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Today, 8 December, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. I wish you all a Blessed and Holy Feast Day!
Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 8 December 2012
“I would like to emphasise that Mary is Immaculate through a freely given gift of God’s grace, which, however, found perfect willingness and cooperation in her. It is in this sense that she is “blessed” because “she believed” (Lk 1:45) and because she had steadfast faith in God. Mary represents that “remnant of Israel”, that holy root which the Prophets proclaimed. The promises of the Old Covenant find a ready welcome in her. In Mary, the Word of God is met with listening, acceptance and a response, He encounters that “yes” which enables Him to take flesh and to come and dwell among us.
In Mary, humanity and history are truly opened to God, they welcome His grace and are prepared to do His will. Mary is a genuine expression of Grace. She represents the new Israel, which the Scriptures of the Old Testament describe with the symbol of the bride. And St Paul takes up this language in his Letter to the Ephesians where he speaks of marriage and says “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (5:25-27). The Fathers of the Church developed this image and thus the Doctrine of the Immaculate Virgin first came into being with reference to the Church virgin-mother and, subsequently, to Mary. Thus Ephraim the Syrian writes poetically: “Just as [it was] because these bodies themselves have sinned and are themselves dying, that the earth, their mother was also accursed (cf. Gen 3:7-19), because of this body which is the incorruptible Church, her land was blessed from the outset. This land is the body of Mary, a temple in which a seed was sown” (Diatessaron 4, 15: sc 121, 102).
The light that shines from the figure of Mary, also helps us to understand the true meaning of original sin. Indeed that relationship with God which sin truncates is fully alive and active in Mary. In her there is no opposition between God and her being, there is full communion, full understanding. There is a reciprocal “yes” – God to her and her to God. Mary is free from sin because she belongs entirely to God, she empties herself totally for Him. She is full of His Grace and of His Love.
To conclude, the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary expresses the certainty of faith that God’s promises have been fulfilled and that His Covenant does not fail but has produced a holy root from which came forth the blessed Fruit of the whole universe, Jesus the Saviour. The Immaculate Virgin shows that Grace can give rise to a response, that God’s fidelity can bring forth a true and good faith.”
Room of the Immaculate Conception
Following the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pius IX, which took place on 8 December 1854, the pontiff decide to celebrate the event with a cycle of frescoes.
The large room adjacent to the Raphael Rooms was chosen and the task was assigned to Francis Podesti (1800-1895), a painter originally from Ancona but rooted in the Roman artistic and academic panorama. The artist, along with his team of workers, worked on the commission from 1856 to 1865, planning it and following its execution in all its aspects – the wooden doors and window frames and the inlaid marble work, as well as the installation of the Roman mosaic from Ostia Antica, purchased specifically for this space.
The pictorial decoration proceeds from the ceiling, with allegorical scenes alluding to the virtues of the Virgin; it continues along the northern wall with the homage of the continents to the Church enthroned; it continues on the west wall, devoted to the Discussion of dogma in St Peter’s Basilica and concludes on the east wall, with the Coronation of the Image of Mary, an event following the Proclamation, which took place in St Peter’s. Podesti, who was present, included a self-portrait here.
Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)
DAY NINE – 8 December
Our Lady Queen of Apostles
If we have this filial contact with Mary, we won’t be able to think just about ourselves and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind. Mary brings us to Jesus and Jesus is “the firstborn among many brothers.” And so, if we know Jesus, we realise that we can live only by giving ourselves to the service of others. Christians can’t be caught up in personal problems;they must be concerned about the universal Church and the salvation of all souls. (Christ is Passing By, 145)
If we are imbued with this spirit, our conversations with God eventually aid other people, even though they may begin on an apparently personal level. And if we take our Lady’s hand, she will make us realise more fully that all men and women are our brothers and sisters – because we are all children of that God whose daughter, spouse and mother she is. (Christ is Passing By, 145)
Be daring. Count on the help of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Without ceasing to be a mother, our Lady is able to get each of her children to face their own responsibilities.
Mary always does the immense favour of bringing to the Cross, of placing face to face with the example of the Son of God, those who come close to her and contemplate her life. It is in this confrontation that Christian life is decided. And here Mary intercedes for us so that our behaviour may lead to a reconciliation of the younger brother – you and me – with the firstborn Son of the Father.
Many conversions, many decisions to give oneself to the service of God have been preceded by an encounter with Mary. Our Lady has encouraged us to look for God, to desire to change, to lead a new life. And so her counsel “Do whatever he tells you” has turned into real self-giving, into a Christian vocation, which from then on enlightens all our personal life. (Christ is Passing By, 149)
Let us Pray
Mary, who brought Jesus up and accompanied Him through His life and is now beside Him in heaven, will help us recognise Jesus as He crosses our path and makes Himself present to us in the needs of our fellow men.
Our mother, you brought to earth Jesus, who reveals the love of our Father God. Help us to recognise Him in the midst of the cares of each day. Stir up our mind and will, so that we may listen to the voice of God, to the calls of grace.”
Sancta Maria, spes nostra, ancilla Domini, sedes sapientiæ, ora por nobis! Holy Mary, our hope, handmaid of the Lord, seat of wisdom, pray for us! Amen (Christ is Passing By, 149)
Bl Alojzy Liguda
St Anastasia of Pomerania
St Anthusa of Africa
St Antonio García Fernández
St Casari of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
St Eucharius of Trier
St Pope Eutychian
St Gunthildis of Ohrdruf
Bl Jacob Gwon Sang-yeon
Bl Johanna of Cáceres
Bl José María Zabal Blasco
St Macarius of Alexandria
St Marin Shkurti
St Noel Chabanel
Bl Paul Yun Ji-chung
St Rafael Román Donaire
St Romaric of Remiremont
St Sofronius of Cyprus