Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, DOGMA, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – Virgin Mary, all Nature is Blessed by You – St Anselm

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!”blessed virgin mary immaculate mother - pray for us - 2 sept 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, DOGMA, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote of the Day – 8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Quote of the Day – 8 December – 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 (c185-253)
(244)this virgin mother-origen-8dec2018

“Thou alone and Thy Mother
are in all things fair;
there is no flaw in Thee
and no stain in Thy Mother.”

St Ephrem (306-373) Doctor of the Church
(270)thou alone and thou mother - st ephrem 8dec2018

“Mary, a Virgin,
not only not only UNDEFILED
but a Virgin whom grace
has made INVIOLATE,
FREE from EVERY STAIN of SIN.”

St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor
Sermon 22, in the year 338m,ary, a virgin - st ambrose - 8dec2018

Posted in CONSECRATION Prayers, DOGMA, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 8 December – Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception

Our Morning Offering – 8 December – Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conceptionin-the-presence-of-god-almight-act-of-consecration-immaculate-conception-8-dec-2017

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.

V.Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin.

R. Give me strength against Your enemies.
Amenact-of-consecration-8-dec-2017

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN TITLES, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, VATICAN Resources, YouTube VIDEOS

8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Today, 8 December, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. I wish you all a Blessed and Holy Feast Day!

bartolomc3a9-esteban-murillo-1678
Murillo 1678

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.

IMM CONCEPTION - MARY Prado0048
Prado

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).

Francesco de Mura imm conception
Francesco de Mura

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.”

Imm Conception Jusepe de Ribera (1637) tumblr_mcpufmupix1rpq8j1o1_540
Jusepe de Ribera (1637)

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.ROOM OF THE IMM CONCEPTION.png

Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

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)imm conception - unknown

Posted in DOGMA, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and Memorials of the Saints – 8 December

Immaculate Conception (Solemnity)
Here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/the-feast-of-the-immaculate-conception-solemnity-8-december/

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
St Patapius
Bl Paul Yun Ji-chung
St Rafael Román Donaire
St Romaric of Remiremont
St Sofronius of Cyprus

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY EIGHT – 7 December

Mary, our teacher in everyday life

We must imitate her natural and supernatural refinement. She is a privileged creature in the history of salvation, for in Mary “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.”
But she is a reserved, quiet witness. She never wished to be praised, for she never sought her own glory. Mary is present at the mysteries surrounding the infancy of her Son but these are “normal” mysteries, so to speak. When the great miracles take place and the crowds acclaim them in amazement, she is nowhere to be found. In Jerusalem when Christ, riding a little donkey, is proclaimed king, we don’t catch a glimpse of Mary. But after all have fled, she reappears next to the Cross. This way of acting bespeaks personal greatness and depth, the sanctity of her soul….(Christ is Passing By, 173)

To become God-like, to be divinised, we must begin by being very human, accepting from God our condition as ordinary men and women, and sanctifying its apparent worthlessness. That is how Mary lived. She who is full of grace, the object of God’s pleasure, exalted above all the angels and the saints, lived an ordinary life.
Mary is as much a creature as we are, with a heart like ours, made for joy and mirth as well as suffering and tears. Before Gabriel communicates God’s plan to her, our Lady does not know she has been chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Messiah. She sees herself as a humble creature. That is why she can acknowledge, with full humility, that “he who is mighty has done great things” in her. (Christ is Passing By, 172)

We can’t forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their family, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things – what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God!
For that’s what explains Mary’s life – her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain but, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our mother, is for us both an example and a way. We have to try to be like her, in the specific circumstances in which God wants us to live. (Christ is Passing By, 148)

Let us Pray

We turn to Our Lady for protection, because we
can be quite sure that each of us, in our own
state in life – priest or lay-person, single, married
or widowed – if we are faithful in the daily
fulfilment of our duties, will achieve victory on
this earth, the victory of being always loyal to
Our Lord. And afterwards we will reach Heaven
and rejoice for ever in the friendship and love of
God, with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
(Prayer before Our Lady of Guadalupe, 24 May 1970)

Hail Mary full of grace!
It’s fair, gentle Lady,
for me to ask you for a present,
a proof of your affection –
contrition, compunction for my sins,
sorrow of love.
Hear me, O Lady, my life, my hope.
Take me by the hand
and if there is anything in me now
that is displeasing to my Father God,
make me see it,
and between the two of us,
we’ll tear it out.
Amenhail mary full of grace, pray for us - 3 may 2018

Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Again, all I can do is pray and beg of you all, your prayers too.   My country is in chaos, power is being ‘loadshedded’ on and off all day across the land.   Damage control is all we can do.   Much trauma to many systems and appliances.   The software I use to make my pics has also corrupted along with some other software.   I know others who have lost their telephone connections due to corrupted and burnt out telephone cables, etc etc.   Sorry!   Mary, our refuge and our strength!

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY SEVEN – 6 December

Mary, our refuge and our strength

When it comes to the scandal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, Mary is there, hearing with sadness how “the passers-by blasphemed against him, tossing their heads, ‘Come now, they said, you would destroy the temple and build it up in three days, rescue yourself; come down from that cross, if you are the Son of God’.”   Our Lady is there listening to the words of her Son, united to Him in His suffering, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” What could she do? She united herself fully with the redemptive love of her Son and offered to the Father her immense sorrow, which pierced her pure Heart like a sharp-edged sword.
Jesus is comforted anew by the quiet, loving presence of His Mother. Mary does not shout; she does not run about frantically. Stabat: she is there, standing next to her Son. It is then that Jesus looks at her and then turning His gaze to John He exclaims, “Woman, this is thy son.” Then He said to the disciple, “This is thy Mother.” In the person of John, Christ is entrusting all men to His Mother and especially His disciples: those who were to believe in Him.
Felix culpa the Church sings.   Happy fault, that has brought us so great and wonderful a Redeemer. Happy fault, we could add, which has merited that we should receive Mary as our Mother. Now we are safe. Nothing should worry us now, because Our Lady, the crowned Queen of heaven and earth, is omnipotent in her supplication before our Father God. Jesus cannot deny anything to Mary, nor to us, who are children of his own Mother. (Friends of God, 288)

Marvel at Mary’s courage: at the foot of the Cross, with the greatest of human sorrows – there is no sorrow like her sorrow – filled with fortitude. And ask her for that same strength, so that you too can remain beside the Cross. (The Way, 508)

Don’t let discouragement enter into your apostolate. You haven’t failed, just as Christ didn’t fail on the Cross. Take courage!… Keep going, against the tide, protected by Mary’s Immaculate and Motherly Heart: Sancta Maria, refugium nostrum et virtus!, you are my refuge and my strength. Hold your peace. Be calm… God has very few friends on earth. Don’t yearn to leave this world. Don’t shy away from the burden of the days, even though at times we find them very long. (The Way of the Cross, 13th Station, 3)

We can’t forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their family, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things – what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God!
For that’s what explains Mary’s life – her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain but, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our mother, is for us both an example and a way. We have to try to be like her, in the specific circumstances in which God wants us to live
(Christ is Passing By, 148)

Let us Pray

Say to her:

Mother, my Mother – yours,
because you are hers on many counts –
may your love bind me to your Son’s Cross,
may I not lack the Faith,
nor the courage,
nor the daring,
to carry out the will of our Jesus.
Amen
The Way, 497pieta carracci 1560-1609

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception – Apologies for the late arrival!

Sincere apologies for the late arrival of today’s Novena – I have been unable to post anything due to a national electricity crises!

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY SIX – 5 December

Holy Mary, our hope

Mary teaches us to hope.   She proclaimed: “All generations will call me blessed.”  Humanly speaking, how could she hope for such a thing?   Who was she, in the eyes of  the men and women of her time? The great heroines of the Old Testament – Judith, Esther, Deborah – won a measure of human glory even here on earth, for they were acclaimed and exalted by the people. Mary’s throne, by contrast, like that of her Son, is  the Cross. During the rest of her life, until she was taken body and soul into Heaven, what most impresses us about her is her quiet presence. St Luke, who knew her well, describes her as being close to the first disciples, in prayer. This was the way she lived to the end of her days on earth, she who was to be praised by all creatures for all eternity.
What a contrast between Our Lady’s hope and our own impatience! So often we call upon God to reward us at once for any little good we have done. No sooner does the first difficulty appear than we start to complain. Often we are incapable of sustaining our efforts, of keeping our hope alive. Why? Because we lack faith. “Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfilment.” (Friends of God, 286)

Let us be full of hope! This is the great thing about being a contemplative soul. We live by Faith, Hope and Love and Hope makes us powerful. Do you remember what St John says? “I am writing to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you and you have conquered the evil one.”  God is urging us on, for the sake of the eternal youthfulness of the Church and of all mankind.   You have the power to  transform everything human into something divine, just as King Midas turned everything he touched into gold!
Do not ever forget that after death you will be welcomed by Love itself. And in the love of God you will find as well all the noble loves which you had on earth. Our Lord has arranged for us to spend this brief day of our earthly existence working and, like His only-begotten Son, “doing good.”   Meanwhile we have to be on our guard, alert to the call St Ignatius of Antioch felt within his soul as the hour of his martyrdom approached.
“Come to the Father,” come to your Father, who anxiously awaits you.   (Friends of God, 221)

Let us Pray

Let us ask Holy Mary, Spes Nostra, our hope,
to kindle in us a holy desire that we may all
come together to dwell in the house of the
Father. Nothing need disturb us if we make up
our minds to anchor our hearts in a real longing
for our true fatherland. Our Lord will lead us
there with His grace and He will send a good
wind to carry our ship to the bright shores of
our destination.   (Friends of God, 221)

Teach us Holy Mother Mary,
teach us your holy hope!
This virtue that comes from the grace of God.
Intercede on our behalf that we may
be always guided by hope
that the great love of our Father,
will be our strength and our stay.
Pray for us Holy Mother of Hope.
Grant us your guiding hand.
AmenDAY SIX - IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA - HOLY MARY SPES NOSTRA OUR HOPE

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY FIVE – 4 December

Mary, Mother of Fair Love

“I am the Mother of fair love and of fear and of knowledge and of holy hope.”   These are he lessons which Mary reminds us of today.   The lesson of fair love, of living a clean life, of having a sensitive and passionate heart, so that we may learn to be faithful in our service to the Church.   This is no ordinary love.   It is Love itself.   There is no room here for betrayal, or calculation, or forgetfulness.   It is a fair, a beautiful love, because its beginning and end is God, who is thrice Holy, who is all Beauty, all Goodness and all Greatness.
But there is also a reference to fear.   For myself, the only fear I can imagine is that of turning away from Love.   God Our Lord, certainly does not want us to be inhibited, timid or lukewarm about our dedication to Him.   He wants us to be daring, courageous and refined.   When the sacred text speaks of fear here I am reminded of a complaint we find elsewhere in Scripture, “I searched for my heart’s love but found him not.”   This can happen, if one has not yet fully understood what it means to love God.   Then our hearts can be swayed by things which do not lead to Our Lord and so we lose sight of Him.   At other times it may be Our Lord who hides Himself. He knows the reason why. In such cases, He will be encouraging us to seek Him more earnestly and, when we find Him, we shall be able to cry out with joy, “I took hold of Him and I will never let Him go.” (Friends of God, 277)

The spotless purity of John’s whole life makes him strong before the Cross.   The other apostles fly from Golgotha:  he, with the Mother of Christ, remains.   Don’t forget that purity strengthens and invigorates the character.  (The Way, 144)

This heart of ours was born to love. But when it is not given something pure, clean and noble to love, it takes revenge and fills itself with squalor.   True love of God and consequently purity of life, is as far removed from sensuality as it is from insensitivity and as far from sentimentality as it is from heartlessness or hard-heartedness.   (Friends of God, 183)

Why don’t you give yourself to God once and for all… really…, now?  (The Way, 902)

Mary, the holy Mother of our King, the Queen of our heart, looks after us as only she knows how.   Mother of mercy, throne of grace, we ask you to help us compose, verse by verse, the simple poem of charity in our own life and the lives of the people around us;  it is “like a river of peace.”   For you are a sea of inexhaustible mercy: “ All streams run to the sea, but the sea is never full.”  (Christ is Passing By, 187)

Let us Pray:

At this very moment, you should trustingly beg
Our Lady, as you accompany her in the solitude
of your heart, without saying anything out
loud:

“Mother, this poor heart of mine
rebels so foolishly!
If you don’t protect me…”
Holy Mother, come to my aid,
help me here and now.
Help me always to love with a pure heart,
to love my Lord and my God,
to seek Him always!
For you, who I dearly love,
are my Mother,
amen.

And she will help you,
to keep it pure and to follow the
way to which God has called you.
(Friends of God, 180)DAY FIVE - IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA - MARY MOTHER OF FAIR LOVE

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY FOUR – 3 December

Mary, Woman of Faith

She teaches us to have faith. “Blessed art thou for thy believing,” were the words of greeting uttered by her cousin Elizabeth when Our Lady went up into the hill country to visit her.   Mary’s act of faith had been a wonderful one, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.”   When her Son was born she contemplated the greatness of God on earth:  a choir of angels was present and not only the shepherds but also important men of this world came to adore the Child.  Afterwards,however, the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt, to escape Herod’s murderous intent.   Then, silence, thirty long years of simple, ordinary life, just like that of any other home in a small village in Galilee. (Friends of God, 284)

Lord, I do believe!   I have been brought up to believe in You.   I have decided to follow You closely.   Repeatedly during my life I have implored Your mercy.   And repeatedly too  have thought it impossible that You could perform such marvels in the hearts of Your children.
Lord, I do believe but help me to believe more and better!
Let us address this same plea to Our Lady, Mother of God and our Mother and Teacher of faith:   “Blessed art thou for thy believing. the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfilment.”  (Friends of God, 204)

The Virgin did not merely pronounce her fiat, in every moment she fulfilled that firm and irrevocable decision.   So should we.   When God’s love gets through to us and we come to know what He desires, we ought to commit ourselves to be faithful and loyal and then be so in fact.   Because “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”   (Christ is Passing By, 173)

Don’t forget:  if God exalted His Mother, it is equally true that He did not spare her pain, exhaustion in her work or trials of her faith.   A village woman one day broke into praise for Jesus, exclaiming: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nourished you!”  Jesus said in reply:  “Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep  it.”   It was a compliment to His Mother on her fiat, her “be it done.”   She lived it sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silent sacrifice of each day.  (Christ is Passing By, 172)

Let us Pray

“Mother!” Call her again and again. She is
listening, she sees you in danger perhaps and
with her Son’s grace she, your holy Mother
Mary, offers you the refuge of her arms, the
tenderness of her embrace.   Call her and you
will find yourself with added strength for the
new struggle.
The Way, 516

Hail Mary, Holy Mother!
I cry unto you,
help and assist me,
lead me mother,
teach me and guide me.
AmenDAY FOUR - IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA - MARY WOMAN OF FAITH

Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY THREE – 2 December

Mary, Teacher of Prayer

The Lord will grant you the ability to discover many other aspects of the faithful response to grace of the blessed Virgin. And to know these facets of her life is to want to imitate them: her purity, her humility, her fortitude, her generosity, her fidelity… But now I want to speak to you of an aspect that in a way encompasses all the others because it is a condition for spiritual growth. I’m speaking of her life of prayer.
To take advantage of the grace which our Mother offers us today and to follow up at anytime the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the shepherd of our souls, we ought to be seriously committed to talking with God. We cannot take refuge in the anonymous crowd. If interior life doesn’t involve a personal encounter with God, it doesn’t exist – it’s as simple as that.
There are few things more at odds with Christianity than superficiality. To settle down to routine in our Christian life is to dismiss the possibility of becoming a contemplative soul.
God seeks us out, one by one. And we ought to answer Him, one by one: “Here I am, Lord, because you have called me.”
We are ordinary Christians. We work at the most varied professions. All our activity takes place amid everyday circumstances. Everything follows a customary rhythm in our lives.
The days seem the same, even monotonous . But don’t forget that our condition which is apparently so common has a divine value. God is interested in everything we do, because Christ wishes to become incarnate in our things, to vivify from within even our most insignificant actions.

Review these thoughts in your prayer. Take occasion of them to tell Jesus that you adore Him.  And thus you have a formula to become contemplatives in the middle of the world, amid the noises of the street, at all times and in all places.  This is the first lesson we should learn in the school of intimacy with Christ. And in this school, Mary is the best teacher, because the Virgin always kept this attitude of faith, of supernatural vision, regardless of what happened around her: “And his mother kept all these words in her heart.” (Christ is Passing By, 174)

Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour and on the events that they had taken part in.   She must have marvelled at all the great things that God, in His boundless mercy, had done for His people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards His people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.” The early  Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can, and we ought to do likewise. (Friends of God, 241)

Let us Pray

Let us ask the blessed Virgin to make us
contemplatives, to teach us to recognise the
constant calls from God at the door of our
heart. Let us ask her now:

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.”
AmenDAY THREE - IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA - MARY TEACHER OF PRAYER

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DEVOTIO, DOGMA, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Catholic Devotion for December – The Immaculate Conception

Catholic Devotion for December – The Immaculate Conception

The Solemnity of the The Immaculate Conception, is celebrated on 8 December.december month of the imm conception - 1 dec 2018

In 1854, Pope Pius IX’s solemn declaration, Ineffabilis Deus, clarified with finality the long-held belief of the Church that Mary was conceived free from original sin.   In proclaiming the Immaculate Conception of Mary, as a dogma of the Church, the pope expressed precisely and clearly that Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin.   This privilege of Mary’s, derives from God’s having chosen her as Mother of the Saviour, thus she received the benefits of salvation in Christ, from the very moment of her conception.

This great gift to Mary, an ordinary human being just like us, was fitting because she was destined to be Mother of God.   The purity and holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a model for all Christians.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of the Immaculate Conception of Mary:

490.  To become the mother of the Saviour, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role”.   The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.   In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

491.   Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception  . That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1844: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854.)

492.   The “splendour of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ – she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.”   The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.”

493.   The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia) and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.   By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.december-the-month-of-the-immaculate-conception

Immaculate Mary, Pray for the Church, the Mystical Body of your Son!immaculate mary - pray for us

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 28 November – The Memorial of St Catherine Labouré DC (1806-1876)

Thought for the Day – 28 November – The Memorial of St Catherine Labouré DC (1806-1876)original french MM

The Miraculous Medal has been called “a summary of the Church’s teaching on Our Lady, a mini-catechism of the faith for everyone.”   Indeed, the Marian vision that inspired the medal included some important symbolism!

For starters, the reference to Mary’s having been conceived without sin on the medal, shown in its original French in the photo above, was defined as a Dogma by the church in 1854, hence the reason that the Medal is actually officially known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception –  (Note that this refers to Mary’s conception, not to Jesus’ birth, a common misconception!)

Note also that Mary is shown in the photo above standing on a globe crushing the head of a serpent.   This is in line with scripture, from Genesis 3:15, which foretells Satan’s ultimate defeat at the hands of her Son.   (Granted, this is not readily visible here or indeed on many Miraculous Medals, particularly small ones!)

On the back of the medal (the picture on the right above) we see symbols of Jesus and Mary, in the Cross (the symbol of her Son’s victory over sin and death for us at Calvary) with the Letter “M” for Mary right underneath it.   Directly underneath that are two hearts, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both filled with great love for each other and for us too!   We see their sadness over our sins as well in this depiction.   On the left side are the thorns of our indifference and ingratitude piercing our Lord’s Sacred Heart even while it burns with love for us.   On the right side we see a sword piercing Mary’s heart, which is filled with sorrow as well as love (as described here).   Surrounding these poignant images we see twelve stars symbolising the twelve apostles.

On the front of the medal (left) we see our Lady’s hands outstretched with rays of light, symbolising grace, streaming from her fingers.   (Again, granted, this may be hard to see on a small medal!)   We are reminded here of St Louis de Montfort’s reference to her as the “treasurer and dispenser of God’s graces.”

We can see from all this that the Miraculous Medal is an important sacramental, indeed, as it can give us the graces Our Lady wishes us to have on behalf of her Divine Son. Indeed, she herself said to St Catherine when giving her the vision of the medal “Have a medal made according to this model.   Everybody who wears it will receive great graces by wearing it around the neck.   The graces will be abundant for persons who wear it with confidence.”   Remember, however, that the most important place of honour for Mary must be in our hearts, not around our necks.

It is important to note as well that, as with all sacramentals, the Miraculous Medal is not some “lucky charm”.   Keep in mind also, that in expressing devotion to Mary, we do not worship her, as many Christians in other denominations, especially some Evangelicals, believe, but rather honour her in her devotion to our Lord!   As the popular saying goes “to Jesus through Mary.”

Remember also her last words in Scripture, which could almost be her motto, in which she told the attendants at the wedding feast of Cana “Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you” (John 2:5).

Prayers such as the Hail Mary and the Memorare can also help do us worlds of good in receiving and sharing the graces she wishes to give us.   They are all meant to lead us to a closer relationship with Jesus!

Mary showed St Catherine an intriguing symbol in her Miraculous Medal vision.   The rays of light emanating graces came from sparkling jewels on Our Lady’s fingers.   St Catherine noticed, however that some of these jewels were dark and not giving forth any light.   Mary explained that “those stones which remain dark symbolise the graces people have forgotten to request.”   Don’t let such graces be lost on you!   And don’t ever be afraid to ask for her help in obtaining Christ’s mercy!

Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Pray for Us!mary the imm conception pray for us - 28 nov 2018

St Catherine Labouré, Pray for Us!st catherine laboure pray for us - 28 nov 2018

Posted in CATECHESIS, FRANCISCAN OFM, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 8 November – Pope Benedict on Blessed John Duns Scotus

Thought for the Day – 8 November – The Memorial of Blessed John Duns Scotus OFM (c 1265-1308)

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s

Catechesis on Blessed John Duns Scotus
General Audience – 7 July 2010

“The Immaculate Conception”

This morning, after several Catecheses on various great theologians, I would like to present to you another important figure in the history of theology.   He is Blessed John Duns Scotus, who lived at the end of the 13th century.   An ancient epitaph on his tombstone sums up the geographical coordinates of his biography:  “Scotland bore me, England received me, France taught me, Cologne in Germany holds me”.   We cannot disregard this information, partly because we know very little about the life of Duns Scotus.   He was probably born in 1266 in a village called, precisely, “Duns”, near Edinburgh.
Attracted by the charism of St Francis of Assisi, he entered the Family of the Friars Minor and was ordained a priest in 1291.   He was endowed with a brilliant mind and a tendency for speculation, which earned him the traditional title of Doctor subtilis, “Subtle Doctor”.

Mary is the subject of the Doctor subtilis’ thought.   In the times of Duns Scotus the majority of theologians countered with an objection that seemed insurmountable, the doctrine which holds that Mary Most Holy was exempt from original sin from the very first moment of her conception – in fact, at first sight the universality of the Redemption brought about by Christ might seem to be jeopardised by such a statement, as though Mary had had no need of Christ or His redemption.   Therefore the theologians opposed this thesis.   Thus, to enable people to understand this preservation from original sin Duns Scotus developed an argument that was later, in 1854, also to be used by Bl Pope Pius IX when he solemnly defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.   And this argument is that of “preventive Redemption”, according to which the Immaculate Conception is the masterpiece of the Redemption brought about by Christ because the very power of His love and His mediation obtained, that the Mother be preserved from original sin.   Therefore Mary is totally redeemed by Christ but already before her conception.   Duns Scotus’ confreres, the Franciscans, accepted and spread this doctrine enthusiastically and other theologians, often with a solemn oath, strove to defend and perfect it.

In this regard I would like to highlight a fact that I consider relevant.   Concerning the teaching on the Immaculate Conception, important theologians like Duns Scotus enriched what the People of God already spontaneously believed about the Blessed Virgin and expressed in acts of devotion, in the arts and in Christian life in general with the specific contribution of their thought.   Thus faith both in the Immaculate Conception and in the bodily Assumption of the Virgin was already present in the People of God, while theology had not yet found the key to interpreting it in the totality of the doctrine of the faith.   The People of God therefore precede theologians and this is all thanks to that supernatural sensus fidei, namely, that capacity infused by the Holy Spirit that qualifies us to embrace the reality of the faith with humility of heart and mind. In this sense, the People of God is the “teacher that goes first” and must then be more deeply examined and intellectually accepted by theology.

May theologians always be ready to listen to this source of faith and retain the humility and simplicity of children!   I mentioned this a few months ago saying: “There have been great scholars, great experts, great theologians, teachers of faith who have taught us many things.   They have gone into the details of Sacred Scripture… but have been unable to see the mystery itself, its central nucleus…. The essential has remained hidden!… On the other hand, in our time there have also been “little ones” who have understood this mystery.   Let us think of St Bernadette Soubirous; of St Thérèse of Lisieux, with her new interpretation of the Bible that is “non-scientific’ but goes to the heart of Sacred Scripture”

Dear brothers and sisters, Bl Duns Scotus teaches us that in our life the essential is to believe that God is close to us and loves us in Jesus Christ and, therefor,e to cultivate a deep love for Him and for His Church.   We on earth are witnesses of this love.   May Mary Most Holy help us to receive this infinite love of God, which we will enjoy eternally to the full in Heaven, when our soul is at last united to God for ever in the Communion of Saints.

Blessed John Duns Scotus, Pray for Us!bl john duns scotus pray for us - 8 nov 2018 no 2

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CATECHESIS, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOGMA, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Marian Thought for the Day – 3 May – Mary’s Month! – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide and the Feast of Sts Philip and James Apostles and Martyrs

Marian Thought for the Day – 3 May – Mary’s Month! – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide and the Feast of Sts Philip and James Apostles and Martyrs

On the Immaculate Conception
Mary is the “Virgo Purissima,” the Most Pure Virgin
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

BY the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin is meant the great revealed truth that she was conceived in the womb of her mother, St Anne, without original sin.

Since the fall of Adam all mankind, his descendants, are conceived and born in sin. “Behold,” says the inspired writer in the Psalm Miserere—“Behold, I was conceived in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me”.   That sin which belongs to every one of us and is ours, from the first moment of our existence, is the sin of unbelief and disobedience, by which Adam lost Paradise.   We, as the children of Adam, are heirs to the consequences of his sin and have forfeited in him, that spiritual robe of grace and holiness, which he had given him by his Creator at the time that he was made.   In this state of forfeiture and disinheritance we are all of us conceived and born and the ordinary way, by which we are taken out of it, is the Sacrament of Baptism.

But Mary never was in this state, she was by the eternal decree of God exempted from it. From eternity, God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, decreed to create the race of man and, foreseeing the fall of Adam, decreed to redeem the whole race by the Son’s taking flesh and suffering on the Cross.   In that same incomprehensible, eternal instant, in which the Son of God was born of the Father, was also the decree passed of man’s redemption through Him.   He who was born from Eternity was born by an eternal decree to save us in Time and to redeem the whole race and Mary’s redemption, was determined in that special manner which we call the Immaculate Conception.   It was decreed, not that she should be cleansed from sin but that she should, from the first moment of her being, be preserved from sin, so that the Evil One never had any part in her.   Therefore, she was a child of Adam and Eve as if they had never fallen, she did not share with them their sin, she inherited the gifts and graces (and more than those) which Adam and Eve possessed in Paradise.   This is her prerogative and the foundation of all those salutary truths, which are revealed to us concerning her.

Let us say then with all holy souls, Virgin most pure, conceived without original sin, Mary, pray for us.virgin most pure - pray for us - 3 may 2018

Posted in DEVOTIO, DOGMA, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote of the Day – 11 February – Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 26th World Day of Prayer for the Sick

Quote of the Day – 11 February – Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 26th World Day of Prayer for the Sick

“I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Our Lady of Lourdes to St Bernadette
25 March 1858i am the immaculate conception - 11 feb 2018

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CONSECRATION Prayers, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception – 8 December, The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception 
On The Feast of the Immaculate Conceptionact of consecration - 8 dec 2017

In the presence of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and with heaven and earth as our witness, we prostrate ourselves at your feet, O Mary, Our Lady.

We acknowledge you as our Mother, as the Immaculate Conception, living tabernacle of the Divinity, as Queen of angels and of men, as Mother of the Church and of the Catholic priesthood and as refuge of the afflicted.   That is why, small and weak as we are, we wish to consecrate to you our families, our persons, our works, our future, all that pertains to us and is in us and which God, in His immeasurable goodness, has entrusted to us for our good use.

We also consecrate to you the value of our good actions, past, present and future, leaving to you the entire and full right of disposing of us and all that belongs to us.   Mary, be our Mother:  sanctify us, purify us, correct us, guide us, pray for us and protect us.

Help us to perfectly fulfill the duties of our state of life.
Extinguish in us all self-love, which prevents your Divine Son, King and Sovereign Priest, from reigning in and around us.

Cover abundantly with your maternal protection all the parishes, chapels, schools, works and missions and may you forever impede the devil from reigning, in any manner in the Church which desires to be entirely yours for the greater glory of God, the protection of our Holy Father and the exaltation of our Mother, the Holy Catholic Church and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.in the presence of god almight - act of consecration immaculate conception - 8 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 8 December  – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

One Minute Reflection – 8 December  – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your strength and with all your mind ………………Luke 10:22luke 10 - 22

REFLECTION – Love for Christ pierced Mary’s heart in such a way that no part
of it was left unkindled.   Mary thus fulfilled the first commandment of love
in all its fullness and without the slightest imperfection…………St Bernardlove for christ - st bernard - 8 dec 2017

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help us to imitate Your Immaculate Daughter Mary in her love for You.   Grant us the grace to love You as much as she, all our lives and grant, that through her help and her prayers, we ourselves may come to You , cleansed from our sins. O Mary Immaculate, mother of our Lord, Pray for us! Amenimmaculate mary - pray for us

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Our Morning Offering – 8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Holy light on earth’s horizon,
star of hope to those who fall,
light amid a world of shadows,
dawn of God’s design for all,
chosen from eternal ages,
you alone of all our race,
by your Son’s atoning merits
were conceived in perfect grace.

Mother of the world’s Redeemer,
promised from the dawn of time:
how could one so highly favoured
share the guilt of Adam’s crime?
Sun and moon and stars adorn you,
sinless Eve, triumphant sign;
you it is who crushed the serpent,
Mary, pledge of life divine.

Earth below and highest heaven,
praise the splendour of your state,
you who now are crowned in glory
were conceived immaculate.
Hail, beloved of the Father,
Mother of his only Son,
mystic bride of Love eternal,
hail, O fair and spotless one!
Fr Edward Caswall (1814-1878)

holy light on earth's horizon - for the solemnity of the Immaculate Con - 8 dec 2017

PRAYER OF THE HOLY FATHER
POPE JOHN PAUL II
FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Tuesday, 8 December 1998

1. O Mary!
Here we are again at your feet on the day we celebrate your Immaculate Conception
and we beg you, as the beloved daughter of the Father,
during this year of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000,
to teach us to walk in unity to the Father’s house, to make all humanity one family.

2. O Mary!
From the very first moment of life,
you were preserved from original sin
through the merits of Jesus,
whose Mother you were to become.
Sin and death have no power over you.
From the moment you were conceived,
you have enjoyed the unique privilege of being filled
with the grace of your blessed Son,
to be holy as he is holy.
For this reason the heavenly messenger,
sent to announce the divine plan to you, greeted you saying:
“Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28).
Yes, O Mary, you are full of grace;
you are the Immaculate Conception.
In you is fulfilled the promise made to our first parents,
the primordial Gospel of hope at the tragic moment of the fall:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman
and between your seed and her seed” (Gn 3:15).
Your seed, O Mary, is the blessed Son of your womb, Jesus, the immaculate Lamb who took upon Himself
the sin of the world, our sin. Your Son, O Mother, has preserved you, to offer all humanity the gift of salvation.
For this reason, from generation to generation, the redeemed ceaselessly repeat the angel’s words:
“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28).

3. O Mary!
From East to West, from the very beginning, the People of God profess with faith that you are the all pure, the all holy, the sublime Mother of the Redeemer. The Fathers of the Church unanimously attest to it: pastors, theologians and the greatest confessors of the faith proclaim it. Then, in 1854 my venerable Predecessor, Pope Pius IX, officially recognised the truth of this your privilege.
In everlasting memory of that event, this column was erected here, in the heart of Rome, from where you watch over the city with a mother’s love.
Every year since then, on this solemn feast, the Church and the city of Rome come here with their Bishop to Piazza di Spagna, to honour you, a sign of sure hope for all men and women.
With this annual act of veneration, we profess that we want to return to the original, eternal plan of our Creator and Father, and with the Apostle Paul we repeat:
“Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph 13-4).

4. O Mary!
You are the witness to this primordial choice.
Guide us, O Mother, who know the Way!
Today the People of God and the whole city of Rome
entrust themselves to you, the Immaculate Conception.
Protect us always and lead us all on the ways of holiness. Amen!

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Solemnity – 8 December

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception – 8 December

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   It is a Solemnity and is universally celebrated on 8 December, nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on 8 September.   It is one of the most important Marian feasts in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated worldwide.immaculate conception info

By Pontifical designation and decree, it is the patronal feast day of Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.   By royal decree, it is also designated by as the Patroness of Portugal.   It is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church as well as a few other closely related Protestant Christian churches.

On this day since 1854, the Holy See through the Sacred Congregation of Rites grants the Spanish crown the expressed privilege of permitting blue vestments for their present and former territories.   Since 1953, the Pope as Bishop of Rome visits the Column of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna to offer expiatory prayers commemorating the solemn event.

The feast was first solemnized as a Holy Day of Obligation on 6 December 1708 under the Papal Bull Commissi Nobis Divinitus by Pope Clement XI and is often celebrated with Holy Mass, parades, fireworks, processions, ethnic foods and cultural festivities in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is generally considered a Family day, especially in many Catholic countries.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the subject of a lot of misconceptions (so to speak).   Perhaps the most common one, held even by many Catholics, is that it celebrates the conception of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   That the feast occurs only 17 days before Christmas should make the error obvious!   We celebrate another feast—the Annunciation of the Lord—on March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas.   It was at the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary humbly accepted the honour bestowed on her by God and announced by the angel Gabriel, that the conception of Christ took place.557px-the_immaculate_conception_by_giovanni_battista_tiepolo_from_prado_in_google_earth

HISTORY OF THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, in its oldest form, goes back to the seventh century, when churches in the East began celebrating the Feast of the Conception of Saint Anne, the mother of Mary.   In other words, this feast celebrates the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of Saint Anne;  and nine months later, on 8 September we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The feast arrived in the West probably no earlier than the 11th century and at that time, it began to be tied up with a developing theological controversy.   Both the Eastern and the Western Church had maintained that Mary was free from sin throughout her life but there were different understandings of what this meant.the-immaculate-conception-after-anton-raphael-mengsimmaculate-conception-mosaic

What Is the Immaculate Conception?
DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Because of the doctrine of Original Sin, some in the West began to believe that Mary could not have been sinless unless she had been saved from Original Sin at the moment of her conception (thus making the conception “immaculate”).   Others, however, including St Thomas Aquinas, argued that Mary could not have been redeemed if she had not been subject to sin—at least, to Original Sin.

The answer to St Thomas Aquinas’s objection, as Blessed John Duns Scotus (d. 1308) showed, was that God had sanctified Mary at the moment of her conception in His foreknowledge that the Blessed Virgin would consent to bear Christ.   In other words, she too had been redeemed—her redemption had simply been accomplished at the moment of her conception, rather than (as with all other Christians) in Baptism.

Who Was Born Without Original Sin?
SPREAD OF THE FEAST IN THE WEST
After Duns Scotus’s defense of the Immaculate Conception, the feast spread throughout the West, though it was still often celebrated at the Feast of the Conception of Saint Anne. On 28 February 1476, Pope Sixtus IV extended the feast to the entire Western Church, and in 1483 threatened with excommunication those who opposed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.   By the middle of the 17th century, all opposition to the doctrine had died out in the Catholic Church.immaculbimmaculateconceptionstatue

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN TITLES

DECEMBER is the Month of the Immaculate Conception

DECEMBER is the Month of the
Immaculate Conception

During Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also celebrate one of the great feasts of the Catholic Church. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8 December) is not only a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary but a foretaste of our own redemption. It is such an important feast that the Church declared the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception a Holy Day of Obligation in most countries.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: WHAT MANKIND WAS MEANT TO BE
In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life—a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God. The Eastern Fathers of the Church referred to her as “without stain” (a phrase that appears frequently in the Eastern liturgies and hymns to Mary); in Latin, that phrase is immaculatus: “immaculate.”

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION IS A RESULT OF CHRIST’S REDEMPTION
The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people mistakenly believe, a precondition for Christ’s act of redemption but the result of it. Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will, and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.
It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Saviour of the world as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.december - the month of the immaculate conception

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Memorial of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes/Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the 25th WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE SICK

Blessed Memorial of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes/Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception – 11 February 1858 – Patron of the ill and infirm, protection from disease, France, 6 cities and a Diocese.

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus.    A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents.   Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm.   Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”

During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.”    It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.”    Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil.   There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand.   Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous).  The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.

download

Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people.   People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world.   In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese.   The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.