Thought for the Day – 8 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
“By virtue of her Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin obtained four distinct privileges. (1) She was preserved free from the stain of original sin. (2) She never experienced the rebellion of the passion against the spirit. (3) She was confirmed in grace, so that, in the words of St Augustine, (De natura er gratia, c 361), one could not mention sin and the name of Mary in one breath. (4) She was perfected in grace and enriched with all the supernatural gifts, to a degree far higher than any of the Saints and than the Angels themselves.
Such is our Mother Mary. We should rejoice with her and we should have perfect confidence in her and have recourse to her in all our needs. Since her intercession is so powerful with God, she can obtain anything from Him. Above all, she is able and eager to obtain for us, that which is more necessary and most important, namely, the avoidance of sin and absolute fidelity to God’s grace, in the execution of our duties.”
Quote/s of the Day – 8 December on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
“This Virgin Mother of the Only begotten of God, is called Mary, worthy of God, Immaculate of the Immaculate, One of the One.”
Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father
“Thou alone and Thy Mother, are in all things fair, there is no flaw in Thee and no stain in Thy Mother.”
St Ephrem of Syria (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Come, then and search out Your sheep, not through Your servants or hired men but do it Yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The very fact that God has elected her, proves, that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.”
St Jacob of Sarug (c 451-521) Bishop, Theologian, Poet, Writer
“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her Immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendour and attraction of human nature but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence, is born, this nature again, regains in her person, its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model, truly worthy of God…. The reform of our nature begins today and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.”
St Andrew of Crete (c 650-c 740) Bishop, Theologian, Hymnist
One Minute Reflection – 8 December on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 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 – “Son of God, grant me Your own admirable Gift, that I may celebrate the wondrous beauty of Your beloved Mother! The Virgin gave birth to a Son while preserving her virginity, she suckled Him who gives nourishment to the peoples, in her Immaculate breast she bore Him who carries the whole world in His Hands. She is Virgin and Mother, what will she not be hereafter? Holy in body, all beautiful in soul, pure of mind, upright in intelligence, perfect in feeling, chaste and faithful, pure of heart and filled with virtue.
May the hearts of virgins rejoice in Mary, since of her was born the One Who set humankind free from dreadful slavery. May the old Adam, wounded by the serpent, rejoice in Mary; it is Mary who gives Adam a posterity that allows him to crush the accursed serpent and who cures him of his mortal wound (Gen 3:15). Let Priests rejoice in the blessed Virgin; she has brought the High Priest into the world, Who gave Himself as a victim, putting an end to the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. … Let the Prophets rejoice in Mary, since in her, were fulfilled their visions, in her were realised their prophecies, in her were confirmed their oracles. Let all the Patriarchs rejoice in Mary since she received the blessing promised to them, she, who, in her Son, has brought them to completion. …
Mary is the new Tree of Life, who, instead of the bitter fruit picked by Eve, gives to mankind that Sweet Fruit on which the whole world is fed.” – St Ephrem (306-373) Deacon in Syria, Father and Doctor of the Church (Marian hymn).
PRAYER –O Mary, My Hope! By St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church 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. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
O Pure and Immaculate Blessed Virgin By St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
O Pure and Immaculate and likewise Blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgement, deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope most sure and sacred in God’s sight, to Whom be honour and glory and majesty and dominion forever and ever, world without end. Amen
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 8 December. Patronages – barrel makers, coopers, cloth makers, cloth workers, soldiers of the United States, Spanish infantry, tapestry workers, upholsterers, Argentina, Brazil, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guam, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Tanzania, Tunisia, United States, 68 Diocese, 8 Cities.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, nine months before the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on 8 September. I wish you all a Blessed and Holy Feast Day!
This festival began in the East, in the 8th Century, since mention is made of it by Saint John Damascen, who lived n 721. It was instituted in England in the year 1100 by Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury. Afterwards in the Diocese of Lyons in the year 1145. Pope Sixtus IV commanded, in the year 1576, the celebration of it throughout Christendom.
At the very first moment of conception in the womb of Saint Ann, Mary’s soul was flooded with the fullness of grace: “all fair, all beautiful.” The laws of man and of nature did not apply to Mary. Her soul was flooded with light so that she could make her acceptance of the Mystical Marriage with her God.
“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, you have wounded my heart…My sister, my Bride is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up…Thou art beautiful, O my Love, sweet and comely; terrible as an army set in array…One is my Dove; My perfect one is but one; she is the holy one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. How beautiful art thou, by dearest delights!…Put me as a seal upon they heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death…” – thus God speaks to her in the “Canticle of Canticles,” and Mary replies: “I found Him Whom my soul loved…”
Mary’s Suscipe – the most perfect act of surrender a creature ever made, an oblation which would have a permanent re-echo every moment of her life, her bridal consecration, her mystical union with God was spoken at the very first moment of her being. Fiat – Be is done to me…
There was never a questioning of God’s will in the life of Mary but it was always perfect acceptance of whatever He planned and wanted of her. Therein lies sanctity – doing God’s will, not ours, regardless. Yes, even the Motherhood of Mary as the “Mater Dei” depended on this, for Christ in the Gospels says:
“Who are My Mother and My Brethren? If anyone does the will of My Father, he is My Mother and My Brethren.”
You, who love the Blessed Mother so intimately should certainly desire, with all your heart, to imitate Mary’s Fiat in every instance of life. Strive for this initial complete consecration to the Will of God in everything, regardless. At the root, foundation of every life lived for God, there must be a “Suscipe” “Take O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my will…” and a Fiat in deepest love and conformity to God’s Holy Will. In return God will favour you with peace, joy of service but, also, as He did His own dear Mother, with suffering but, always, He will give you the grace to say with Mary, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Will.”
Mary is “our tainted nature’s solitary boast” and we are her children. Should not a daughter try to resemble her Mother in everything? Mary is the Treasure-house of God’s graces, she will give whatever we ask of her, if it be the divine Will.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, Immaculate One, pray for us!”
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 Patapius Bl Paul Yun Ji-chung St Rafael Román Donaire St Romaric of Remiremont St Sofronius of Cyprus