solemnity of the immaculate conception
Luke, Chapter 1, verse 30:
the angel said to her, “Do not be AFRAID, Mary, for you have found favor
Mary had no fear of the world or man, yet, when the angel appeared she was immersed in holy fear. Let us follow Mary’s example and bravely face the day saying YES to God.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
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.
DECEMBER 8. 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 re markable 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. In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: “Hail, holy parent, who as a happy mother brought forth the King Who rules heaven and earth from eternity to eternity.” “My heart hath uttered a good word, I speak my works to the King.” Glory be to the Father, etc.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, to bestow on Thy servants the
gift of heavenly grace, that, for those to whom the Blessed
Virgin s maternity was the beginning of salvation, the votive
solemnity of her immaculate conception may procure increase
of peace. Amen.
EPISTLE. Prov. viii. 22-35.
The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before lie made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths: when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with Him forming all things ; and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times; playing in the world, and My delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear Me: Blessed are they that keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth Me, and that watcheth daily at My gates, and waiteth at the posts of My doors. He that shall find Me shall find life and shall have salvation from the Lord.
This lesson is, in the literal sense, a eulogy on the divine and uncreated wisdom, which before all things was in God; through which all things were made, disposed, and preserved; which rejoices in its works, and calls upon all its creatures, especially on men, to render to it love and obedience. Most of what is here said is also to be applied to Mary, of whom it may with truth be said that, as the holiest and most admirable of all creatures, she occupies the first place in the heart of God.
Therefore, the Church also refers to her those words of the wise man: “I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first born of all creatures.”
GOSPEL. Luke i. 26-28.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Immaculate Conception Facts
· 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 Catholics 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)
More Things to Do
· The dogma of the Immaculate Conception lends itself to fruitful meditation and should be taught to children. The doctrine of original sin, the sin of Adam and its effects on the human race, is a good beginning for study. For the best explanation of the teachings of the Church on this, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 386-412. Also you might read Pope Piux IX's bull, Ubi Primum (On The Immaculate Conception) proclaiming the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of Faith. Other reading from the Catholic Culture Library:
o On Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Marialis Cultus) by Pope Paul VI;
o Immaculate Conception Defined by Pius IX by Pope John Paul II;
o John Duns Scotus: Champion of the Immaculate Conception by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.;
o The Message of the Virgin of Lourdes by Bishop Donald Montrose, D.D.;
o The Immaculate Conception by Abbot Gueranger
· Mary as the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States. Visit or take a virtual tour of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, America's patronal church.
· This day would also be appropriate for parents to plan their approach on family sex education, as it is the privilege and duty of parents to teach their own children in this area.
· Make a Mary candle for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. See Celebrating for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for details and other ideas.
· Prepare an all-white meal for dinner and then discuss with your children the dogma of the Immaculate Conception with the visual aids of dinner showing the purity and the stainlessness of Mary's soul. Read Teaching the Immaculate Conception and Advent and the Immaculate Conception for discussion ideas.
Ideas for dinner:
Appetizers: Rice crackers and
Soups: cream soups, such as clam chowder, potato soup, cream of celery;
Main Course: chicken breasts, pasta with alfredo sauce;
Side Dishes: mashed potatoes, white rice, cauliflower with (or without) white cheese sauce, white bread (with crusts removed), white corn;
Dessert: White cake with white icing, meringue kisses, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, white chocolate.
· The special treat for this feast is Moravian Spritz, or gingerbread cookies, loaded with fine, aromatic spices. These are mixed on the vigil, December 7. Or make your favorite gingerbread cookie. Perhaps for this solemnity the family could make a gingerbread house or Gingerbread Bowls.
· Today, plant an Immaculate Conception Rose Bush. During this winter season, it is also a good time to plan a Mary Garden. Flower Theology by John Stokes, the website Mary's Gardens and the book Mary's Flowers, Gardens, Legends and Meditations by Mary's Gardens Associate, Vincenzina Krymow, are good beginnings for planning your garden.
· No room for a garden? No time to nurture nature? Read Flowers for the Fairest by Daniel Foley to read about flowers appropriate for Our Lady, and purchase a small bouquet or a few flowers...real or silk to display for feasts of Mary.
Why Is the Octave of the Immaculate Conception No Longer
On this octave day of the Immaculate Conception, it occurred to me that it was in 1956, six years before the Missal of 1962 was promulgated by Pope John XXIII, that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception lost its octave and became a feast celebrated in the course of one day.
A similar simplification occurred in 1955, when Pope Pius XII accepted the suggestions of Fr. Annibale Bugnini concerning the reform of Holy Week. Seven years later, Pope John XXIII himself would accept the suggestions of the same Fr. Bugnini to simplify Catholic pious devotions and remove the octaves from the Church calendar.
Why did John XXIII agree to Bugnini’s
proposition to reform this feast of the Immaculate Conception?
Several answers can be given to this
question. Here I want to stress just one point that I present as a hypothesis.
The answer seems related to the fact that John XXIII also failed to consecrate
Russia to the Immaculate Heart even though he knew he should do so. That was in
1960 after the Pope read the Third Secret and decided that “it was not for our
time,” even though Our Lady had explicitly asked the Pope to make it known at
that time. There is more that could be said but others have addressed the issue
of Fatima in great detail, so I will not repeat what they have already written.
I think that when we disobey the will of
God, we receive a curse from God rather than a blessing. St. Thomas Aquinas
taught that when a person receives such a curse, God allows increased demonic
activity and influence in his life, or if it happens to be a Pope in question,
that demonic power would extend to the Church and the world.
At La Salette, Our Lady told Melanie that
in the 1840s Satan and some of the other most powerful devils were released
from Hell to punish mankind for sins committed.
Bugnini, proposed the octave be
eliminated; John XXIII agreed: This fact was confirmed in a revelation received
by Pope Leo XIII more than a half century later. After Mass one day, he had a
vision of the confrontation between Jesus and Satan. The latter boasted that he
could destroy Christ's Church if he were only given more time, which was
granted to him. Shortly after this vision, the Holy Pontiff composed the St.
Michael prayer [click here] as well as wrote several encyclicals on the Rosary.
He also ordered that the St. Michael prayer, in addition to three Hail Marys,
the Hail Holy Queen, and a prayer for the Church should be prayed at the end of
every Mass for the conversion of sinners. These prayers were made optional in
1962, and abolished in 1965.
Where disobedience increases, degeneration increases, and as Fr. Patrick Perez pointed out in a recent talk in Indianapolis for the Catholic Family News Conference, this corrosion of the liturgy did not begin in 1969 with the New Mass. It did not begin even with the 1962 Missal. It began much earlier.
Why did it happen?
In 1929, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucy in Tuy, Spain, requesting the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She wanted the Consecration made not only to bring about millions of conversions to the Catholic Faith, but also so that those who adhered in substance to the Catholic Faith would be more faithful and zealous.
By failing to honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary and fulfill the requests that would establish devotion to her Heart throughout the world, as Our Lord desires, the last Popes in succession became guilty of greater and greater disobedience to the Divine Will.
Our Lady of Fatima
The Popes disregarded Our Lady's command to consecrate Russia.
Just as a disease that is not cured spreads, so it happens with a malady in the Church. The internal crisis in the Church becomes worse and worse so long as the right remedy is not applied to it.
As the power and influence of Satan and his minions increase, the temptations to sin become greater and it becomes more difficult to resist, although it is never impossible. We must always keep before us the horror of all sin, especially mortal sin, in order to keep up our resistance to the evil of our times. Wherever we go, we should consign Jesus and Mary to go with us. They witness our every action.
Now, if we further reflect that the season of Advent commemorates that time when Our Lady was preparing to give birth to the Redeemer, then we realize we should ask her protection in the name of the great love she had for her Son.
By honoring today, the octave of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception, we prove to her and to Almighty God that we will not accept any rebellion against the will of God, not even the trial balloon of the 1962 Missal. For already at that point in the game, Progressivism was preparing its great assault on the Church, which was Vatican II.
It is this kind of firm resistance to errors and concessions toward Progressivism that will help us to also resist temptation to mortal sin in our personal life, obtaining for us the graces necessary to remain firmly planted in the footsteps of Our Lady and Our Lord, far from Satan’s wicked instruments. The decree Maxima Redemptionis, which introduced the new rite in 1955, changed the times of the ceremonies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday to evenings.
It also suppressed the Last Gospel for the Masses of Holy Week, the psalm Judica me for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, initiated the practice of the priest facing the people in certain places, diminished the role of the priest in the readings, changed the Prayer for the Conversion of Heretics to the Prayer for Church Unity, introduced the vernacular in places, and many other such innovations.
Mary as the new Eve is an essential part of God’s redemptive plan bringing light to a dark world.
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, December 8, will bring the turnaround. It’s a major winter milestone: the day of our earliest sunset. This 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.
Jesse Tree Scriptures (The Symbols Are Only Suggestions)
December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896