Thursday, December 8, 2016 Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Ephesian, Chapter 1, Verse 3-6
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, 4 as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love 5 he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, 6 for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

The season of Advent is about preparing to celebrate the birth of our redeemer. God in his love has chosen us, predestined us to be his children and then in the fullness of time, redeemed us.
These are our darkest afternoons. But, surprise! For most of us, Thursday, December 8, will bring the turnaround. It’s a major winter milestone: the day of our earliest sunsetThis puzzles people, but in fact it’s a reliable yearly sequence. First comes earliest sunset, this week. Then there’s the solstice half a month later, the day with the fewest minutes of daylight. Finally, another two weeks later, in early January, we get our murkiest morning—the latest sunrise. So we’re now slam bang at the low point of afternoon sunshine. And since far more people are awake and aware of things at 4:30 PM than they are at 6 in the morning, in a very real sense you can forget about the solstice and the “official” shortest day of the year. So far as what most folks actually experience, NOW is the darkest time of the year.(

Mary as the new Eve is an essential part of God’s redemptive plan bringing light to a dark world.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception[1]

Mary who was conceived without sin on the Feast day of the Immaculate Conception is our example of courage in the presence of God and His angels.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  (Luke 1:30-31)

ON this and the following eight days the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men. The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times. Pope Pius IX., forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally, on December 8, 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin. It is, therefore, now no longer, as formerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith, that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.

Immaculate Conception Facts[2]

·         God gave Mary a pure soul incapable of sinning when she was received.  It prepared her to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  This teaching does not appear in Scripture.  It was decreed by Pope Pious IX on December 8, 1854.
·         Our Holy Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness for the United States - as decreed by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
·         Our Mother Mary is full of beauty because she is full of grace. - Pope Francis via twitter on Dec 30, 2013.
·         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. - Catechism of the Catholic Church

Immaculate Conception Top Events and Things to Do

·         Go to Mass.  It is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholic in the United States.
·         Study the Immaculate Conception in art.  One famous painting, The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
was completed by Spanish artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo in the 17th century.  It hangs in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
·         Watch the movie, Mary of Nazareth (2013)

[1] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896


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