Advent Reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 8 December – Readings: Genesis 3:9-15, 20, Psalm 98:1-4, Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12, Luke 1:26-38
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.” … Luke 1:38
REFLECTION – “If, as the Apostle declares, faith is nothing else than the substance of things to be hoped for” (Heb 11:1) everyone will easily allow, that our faith is confirmed and our hope aroused and strengthened, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. The Virgin was kept the more free from all stain of original sin because she was to be the Mother of Christ and she, was the Mother of Christ, that the hope of everlasting happiness, might be born again in our souls.
Leaving aside charity towards God, who can contemplate the Immaculate Virgin without feeling moved to fulfill that precept which Christ called peculiarly His own, namely that of loving one another as He loved us? “A great sign,” thus the Apostle St John describes a vision divinely sent him, appears in the heavens: “A woman clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars upon her head” (Rv 12:1). Everyone knows that this woman signified the Virgin Mary, the stainless one who brought forth our Head.
The Apostle continues: “And, being with child, she cried travailing in birth and was in pain to be delivered” (Rv 12:2). John, therefore, saw the Most Holy Mother of God already in eternal happiness, yet travailing in a mysterious childbirth. What birth was it? Surely it was the birth of us who, still in exile, are yet to be generated to the perfect charity of God and to eternal happiness. And the birth pains, show the love and desire, with which the Virgin from heaven above, watches over us and strives with unwearying prayer to bring about the fulfilment of the number of the elect.
This same charity we desire that all should earnestly endeavour to attain, taking special occasion from … feasts in honour of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” … Saint Pius X (1835-1914) Pope from 1903 to 1914 – Encyclical “Ad diem illum laetissimum”
PRAYER – O Mary, My Hope! By St John Damascene (675-749)
I salute you, O Mary!
you are the hope of Christians.
Receive the prayer of a sinner,
who loves you tenderly,
honours you in a special manner
and places in you the whole hope
of his salvation.
From you I have my life.
You reinstate me in the grace of your Son:
you are the sure pledge of my salvation.
I beseech of you, therefore, to deliver me
from the burden of my sins,
dispel the darkness of my mind,
banish from my heart the love of the world,
repress the temptations of my enemies
and so rule my whole life, that by your means
and under your guidance,
I may obtain everlasting happiness in heaven.