FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – NOVENA / MASS PROPERS

December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception BVM

Novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception – Final day

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception 

In thy conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to the Father, whose Son Jesus, conceived in thy womb by the Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth.

MEDITATION

Early in the Christian era the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception was observed in several countries. St. Anselm, Bishop of Canterbury, introduced it in England. A great number of Popes favored the doctrine of Mary’s absolute sinlessness, and the adversaries of the Immaculate Conception were bidden to be silent and not publicly assert or defend their view. In 1477, Pope Sixtus IV prescribed the feast of the Immaculate Conception to be observed in the whole Church, and made it obligatory on priests to recite the special canonical office and to use the Mass formula published for the purpose. In 1846, the bishops of the United States assembled in plenary council in Baltimore elected the Blessed Virgin under the title of her immaculate conception Patroness of the Church in their country.

Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church

Finally, Pope Pius IX, after consulting with the bishops throughout the world, and having implored the Holy Ghost for His guidance in prayer and fasting, promulgated, on December 8, 1854, the dogma which teaches that the Blessed Virgin Mary was in her conception, by a special grace and through the merits of her divine Son, preserved from the stain of original sin. This doctrine was received throughout the world with ineffable joy; and, indeed, no one who loves the Blessed Virgin can help rejoicing at this her most glorious privilege.

The invocation, “Queen conceived without the stain of original sin,” was added to the Litany of Loreto. In 1866, at the Second Plenary Council in Baltimore, the feast of the Immaculate Conception was raised to the rank of a Holy day of obligation for the Church of the United States.

PRACTICE

In the inscrutable designs of His providence God ordained that the mystery of the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary should be proclaimed an article of faith as late as the middle of the nineteenth century. But, then, its proclamation was attended by circumstances that undeniably proved that the Holy Father in pronouncing the dogma had been inspired and guided by the Holy Ghost.

Let us praise God and thank Him for bestowing this glorious privilege on our beloved Mother, and let us often invoke her under her favorite title, the Immaculate Conception. St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that the devotion to this mystery is especially efficacious in overcoming the temptations of impurity. Therefore he was accustomed to recommend to his penitents thus tempted to recite three times every day the Hail Mary in honor of Mary immaculate. And the Venerable John of Avila assures us that he never found any one who practiced a true devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, who did not in a short time obtain the gift of that virtue which renders us so dear to her immaculate heart.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

O God, who through the immaculate conception of the Virgin didst prepare a worthy dwelling-place for Thy divine Son; grant that, as in view of Thy Son Thou didst preserve her from all taint, so Thou wouldst vouchsafe unto us that cleansed from all sin by her intercession we too may arrive at Thine eternal glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

LORD, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of divine grace, pray for us.
Mother most pure, pray for us.
Mother most chaste, pray for us.
Mother inviolate, pray for us.
Mother undefiled, pray for us.
Mother most amiable, pray for us.
Mother most admirable, pray for us.
Mother of good counsel, pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
Mother of our Redeemer, pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of justice, pray for us.
Seat of wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our joy, pray for us.
Spiritual vessel, pray for us.
Vessel of honor, pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.
Mystical rose, pray for us.
Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of ivory, pray for us.
House of gold, pray for us.
Ark of the covenant, pray for us.
Gate of heaven, pray for us.
Morning star, pray for us.
Health of the sick, pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
Help of Christians, pray for us.
Queen of angels, pray for us.
Queen of patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of prophets, pray for us.
Queen of apostles, pray for us.
Queen of martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of confessors, pray for us.
Queen of virgins, pray for us.
Queen of all saints, pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
Queen of the most holy rosary, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us, O Lord.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we can not obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

O living light of holiness, model of purity, Mary immaculate, virgin and mother! As soon as thou wast conceived thou didst profoundly adore thy God, giving Him thanks that in thee the ancient curse was revoked, and blessing came again upon the sinful sons of Adam. O make this blessing kindle in my heart love for God; and do thou fan this flame of love within me, that I may love Him constantly and one day in heaven eternally enjoy Him, there to thank Him more and more fervently for all the wondrous privileges conferred on thee, and to rejoice with thee for thy high crown of glory.

Ejaculation

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS OF THE AGES

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 8 (Holy Day of Obligation)

First Class with Common Octave 

Missa – Gaudens gaudébo

INTROIT

Isaiah 61.10

Gaudens gaudébo in Dómino, et exsultábit ánima mea in Deo meo: quia induit me vestiméntis salútis; et induménto justitiæ circúmdedit me, quasi sponsam ornátam monílibus suis.

Ps. 29: 2 Exaltábo te, Dómine, quoniam suscepísti me: nec delectásti inimícos meos super me.

Glória Patri.

Introit - Immaculate Conception

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels.

Ps. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.

Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as by the foreseen death of the same Thy Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain, so Thou wouldst grant to us also, through her intercession, to come unto Thee with clean hearts. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

EPISTLE

Proverbs 8. 23-35

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He 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 yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, not the poles of the world. When He prepared the Heavens, I was there 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 delight is 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.

GRADUAL

Judith 13. 23

Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. V. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel thou art the honor of our people.

ALLELUIA

Canticles 4. 7

Alleluia, alleluia.  Thou art all fair O Mary, and there is in thee no stain of original sin. Alleluia.

Hail Mary and the angel said

GOSPEL

 Luke 1. 26-28

At that time, 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.

OFFERTORY

Luke 1: 28

Hail Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, alleluia.

SECRET

Receive the saving Victim we offer to Thee, O Lord, on the solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: and grant that, as we confess that by Thy preventing grace she was kept free from every stain of sin; so, by her intercession, we may be delivered from all our offenses. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord…

PREFACE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God and that we should praise and bless, and proclaim Thee, on the solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary: ever Virgin: Who also conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost, and the glory of her virginity still abiding, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say with lowly praise:

The Sanctus

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

holy sacrifice of the mass 4

COMMUNION

Psalm 88.36-38

Glorious things are told of thee, O Mary, for He who is mighty hath done great things unto thee.

POSTCOMMUNION 

May the Sacraments which we have received, O Lord, our God, heal in us the wounds of that sin, from which Thou didst alone preserve the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary.  Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord…

Dec 8  Immaculate Conception

 THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – ST. ALPHONSUS

IT WAS BECOMING THAT THE ETERNAL FATHER SHOULD PRESERVE MARY FROM ORIGINAL SIN.

As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters (Cant. ii. 2)

Great indeed was the injury entailed on Adam and on all his posterity by his accursed sin. But from this general misfortune God was pleased to exempt the Blessed Virgin, as the predestined Mother of His only begotten Son and the first-born of Grace. She was to crush the serpent’s head and to be the sinless Mediatrix of peace between men and God. Hence the Eternal Father could well say of His beloved Daughter: As the lily among thorns, so is my beloved among the daughters, always immaculate and always beloved.

I.

It was most becoming that God should preserve Mary from original sin for He destined her to crush the head of the infernal spirit which, by seducing our First Parents, brought death upon all men. This the Lord foretold: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head (Gen. iii. 15). But if Mary was that Valiant Woman brought into the world to conquer Lucifer, certainly it was not becoming that he should first conquer her and make her his slave. Reason would indeed demand that she should be preserved from all stain and even momentary subjection to her opponent. How then could God permit that she should first be the slave of the infernal serpent? Praised and ever blessed be God, Who, in His infinite goodness, pre-endowed Mary with such great grace that, remaining always free from guilt of sin, she was ever able to beat down and confound the serpent’s pride.

Besides this it was wholly becoming that the Eternal Father should create Mary, “the one and only daughter of life,” free from the stain of original sin and always possessed by His grace, destined as she was to be the repairer of a lost world, Mediatrix of peace between men and God. “O Blessed Virgin,” says St. John Damascene, “thou wast born that thou mightest minister to the salvation of the whole world.” “Hail, reconciler of the whole world!” cries out St. Ephrem. “Hail, thou, who art appointed umpire between God and man!” cries St. Basil of Silucia.

Now it certainly would not be becoming to choose an enemy to treat of peace with the offended person, and still less an accomplice in the crime itself. St. Gregory says that, “an enemy cannot undertake to appease his judge who is at the same time the injured party; for if he did, instead of appeasing him, he would provoke him to greater wrath.” And, therefore, as Mary was to be the Mediatrix of peace between men and God, it was of the utmost importance that she should not herself appear as a sinner and an enemy of God, but that she should appear in all things as a friend, and free from every stain. Hence it was becoming that God should preserve her from sin, that she might not appear guilty of the same fault as the men for whom she was to intercede.

Ah, my Immaculate Lady, I rejoice with thee on seeing thee enriched with so great purity. I thank our common Creator for having preserved thee from every stain of sin. Thou art all fair and there is not a spot in thee! (Cant. iv. 7). O most pure dove, all fair, all beautiful, always the friend of God! Ah, most sweet, most amiable, immaculate Mary, disdain not to cast thy compassionate eyes upon the wounds of my soul. Behold me, pity me, heal me! The happy day when I shall go to behold thy beauty in Paradise seems a thousand years off, so much do I long to praise and love thee more than I now do, my Mother, my Queen, my beloved, most sweet, most pure, immaculate Mary! Amen.

II.

But above all it was becoming that the Eternal Father should preserve this His daughter unspotted from Adam’s sin, because He predestined her to be the Mother of His only-begotten Son. As Jesus was the first-born of God, the first-born of every creature (Col. i. 15), so was Mary, the destined Mother of God, always considered by Him as His first-born by adoption, and therefore He always possessed her by His grace. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways (Prov. viii. 22). For the honor, therefore, of His Son, it was becoming that the Father should preserve the Mother from every stain of sin. When David was planning the Temple of Jerusalem, on a scale of magnificence worthy of God, he said: For a house is being prepared not for man but for God (1 Par. xxix. 1). How much more reasonable, then, is it not, to suppose that the Sovereign Architect, Who destined Mary to be the Mother of His own Son, adorned her soul with all the most precious gifts that she might be a dwelling worthy of a God!

December 8 Immaculate Mother

We know that a man’s highest honor is to be born of noble parents. And the glory of children are their fathers (Prov. xvii. 6). How, then, can we suppose that God Who could cause His Son to be born of a noble Mother by preserving her from sin, would, on the contrary, permit Him to be born of one infected by it, and thus leave it always in Lucifer’s power to reproach Him with the shame of having a mother who had once been his slave and the enemy of God. No, certainly, the Eternal Father did not permit this; but He well provided for the honour of His Son by preserving His Mother always immaculate, that she might be a Mother worthy of such a Son. And the Holy Church herself assures us of this: “O Almighty and Eternal God Who by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin Mother Mary, that she might become a worthy habitation for Thy Son.”

Ah, my most beautiful Lady, I rejoice in seeing thee, by thy purity and thy beauty, so dear to God. I thank God for having preserved thee from every stain. O thou, who from the first moment of thy life didst appear pure and beautiful before God, pity me, who not only was born in sin, but have again since Baptism stained my soul with crimes. What grace will God ever refuse thee? Immaculate Virgin, thou hast to save me. Amen.

IT WAS BECOMING THAT THE SON SHOULD PRESERVE HIS MOTHER FROM ORIGINAL SIN.

In the second place it was becoming that the Son should preserve Mary from sin, as being His Mother. No man can choose his mother; but should such a thing ever be granted to any one, who is there who, if able to choose a queen, would wish for a slave? Or if able to choose a friend of God, would wish for an enemy? If, then, the Son of God alone could choose a Mother according to His own Heart and His own liking, we must consider, as a matter of course, that He chose one worthy of God. St. Bernard says, “that the Creator of men becoming man, must have Himself selected a Mother who He knew would be worthy of Him.” As it was becoming that a most pure God should have a Mother pure from all sin, He created her spotless. Here we may apply the words of the Apostle to the Hebrews: For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest; holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners (Heb. vii. 26). A learned author observes that, according to St. Paul, it was fitting that our Blessed Redeemer should not only be separated from sin, but also from sinners; according to the explanation of St. Thomas, who says, “that it was necessary that He, Who came to take away sins, should be separated from sinners, as to the fault under which Adam lay.” But how could Jesus Christ be said to be separated from sinners, if He had a Mother who was a sinner?

St. Ambrose says, “that Christ chose this vessel into which He was about to descend, not of earth, but from Heaven; and He consecrated it a temple of purity.” This agrees with that which St. John the Baptist revealed to St. Bridget, saying: “It was not becoming that the King of Glory should repose otherwise than in a chosen vessel exceeding all men and angels in purity.” And to this we may add that which the Eternal Father Himself said to the same Saint: “Mary was a clean, and an unclean vessel: clean, for she was all fair; but unclean because she was born of sinners, though she was conceived without sin, that My Son might be born of her without sin.” And remark these last words: “Mary was conceived without sin.” Not that Jesus Christ could have contracted sin; but that He might not be reproached with even having a Mother infected with it, who would consequently have been the slave of the devil.

The Holy Ghost says that the glory of a man is from the honor of his father, and a father without honor is the disgrace of the son (Ecclus. iii. 13). “Therefore it was,” says an ancient writer, “that Jesus preserved the body of Mary from corruption after death; for it would have been to His dishonor had that virginal flesh with which He had clothed Himself become the food of worms.” For, he adds: “Corruption is a disgrace of human nature; and as Jesus was not subject to it, Mary was also exempted; for the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary.” But since corruption of her body would have been a disgrace for Jesus Christ, because He was born of her, how much greater would the disgrace have been, had He been born of a mother whose soul was once infected by the corruption of sin? For not only is it true that the flesh of Jesus is the same as that of Mary, “but,” adds the same author, “the flesh of our Savior, even after His Resurrection, remained the same that He had taken from His Mother. The flesh of Christ is the flesh of Mary; and though it was glorified by the glory of His Resurrection, yet it remains the same that was taken from Mary.” And now if this is true, supposing that the Blessed Virgin had been conceived in sin, though the Son could not have contracted its stain, nevertheless His having united flesh to Himself which once had been infected with sin, a vessel of uncleanness and subject to Lucifer, would always have been a dishonor to Him.

Mary was not only the Mother, but the worthy Mother of our Savior. She is called so by all the holy Fathers. St. Bernard says: “Thou alone wast found worthy to be chosen as the one in whose virginal womb the King of kings should have His first abode.” St. Thomas of Villanova says: “Before she conceived she was already worthy to be the Mother of God.” The Holy Church herself attests that Mary merited to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, saying: “The Blessed Virgin, who merited to bear in her womb Christ our Lord”; and St. Thomas Aquinas, explaining these words, says, that “the Blessed Virgin is said to have merited to bear the Lord of all; not that she merited His Incarnation, but that she merited, by the graces she had received, such a degree of purity and sanctity, that she could worthily be the Mother of God”; that is to say, Mary could not merit the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, but by divine grace she merited such a degree of perfection as to render her worthy to be the Mother of a God; according to what St. Augustine says: “Her singular sanctity, the effect of grace, merited that she alone should be judged worthy to receive a God.”

And now, supposing that Mary was worthy to be the Mother of God, “what excellence and what perfection was there that did not become her?” asks St. Thomas of Villanova. St. Thomas says: “that when God chooses any one for a particular dignity, He renders him fit for it”; hence he adds: “that God, having chosen Mary for His Mother, He also by His grace rendered her worthy of this highest of all dignities.” “The Blessed Virgin was divinely chosen to be the Mother of God, and therefore we cannot doubt that God had fitted her by His grace for this dignity; and we are assured of it by the Angel: For thou hast found grace with God; behold thou shalt conceive (Luke i. 50). And thence the Saint argues that “the Blessed Virgin never committed any actual sin, not even a venial one. Otherwise,” he says, “she would not have been a mother worthy of Jesus Christ; for the ignominy of the Mother would also have been that of the Son, for He would have had a sinner for His mother.” And now if Mary, on account of a single venial sin, which does not deprive a soul of divine grace, would not have been a mother worthy of God, how much more unworthy would she have been had she contracted the guilt of original sin, which would have made her an enemy of God and a slave of the devil? And this reflection it was that made St. Augustine utter those memorable words, that, when speaking of Mary for the honor of Our Lord, Whom she merited to have for her Son, he would not entertain even the question of sin in her; “for we know,” he says, “that through Him, Who it is evident was without sin, and Whom she merited to conceive and bring forth, she received grace to conquer all sin.”

It was no shame to Jesus Christ that He was contemptuously called by the Jews the Son of Mary, meaning that He was the Son of a poor woman: Is not his mother called Mary? (Matt. xiii. 55). He came into this world to give us an example of humility and patience. But, on the other hand, it would undoubtedly have been a disgrace should He have heard the devil say: “Was not His mother a sinner? Was He not born of a wicked mother, who was once our slave?” It would even have been unbecoming had Jesus Christ been born of a woman whose body was deformed, or crippled, or possessed by devils; but how much more would it not have been so, had He been born of a woman whose soul had been once deformed by sin, and in the possession of Lucifer!

 MOST HOLY NAME OF MARY virgin-and-child-all-generations-will-call-you-blessed

Ah! indeed, God, Who is Wisdom itself, well knew how to prepare Himself a becoming dwelling, in which to reside on earth: Wisdom hath built herself a house (Prov. ix. 1). The Most High has sanctified his own tabernacle. God will help it in the morning early (Ps. xlv. 5, 6). David says our Lord sanctified this His dwelling in the morning early; that is to say, from the beginning of her life, to render her worthy of Himself; for it was not becoming that a Holy God should choose Himself a dwelling that was not holy: Holiness becometh thy house (Ps. xcii. 5). The Holy Church sings: “Thou, O Lord, hast not disdained to dwell in the Virgin’s Womb.” Yes, for He would have disdained to have taken flesh in the womb of an Agnes, a Gertrude, a Teresa, because these virgins, though holy, were nevertheless for a time stained with original sin; but He did not disdain to become Man in the womb of Mary, because this beloved Virgin was always pure and free from the least shadow of sin, and was never possessed by the infernal serpent. And therefore, St. Augustine says: “the Son of God never made Himself a more worthy dwelling than Mary, who was never possessed by the enemy, nor despoiled of her ornaments.” On the other hand St. Cyril of Alexandria asks: “Who ever heard of an architect who built himself a temple, and yielded up the first possession of it to his greatest enemy?”

Yes, says St. Methodius, speaking on the same subject, that Lord Who commanded us to honor our parents, would not do otherwise, when He became Man, than observe it, by giving His Mother every grace and honor: “He Who said, Honor thy father and thy mother, that He might observe His own decree, gave all grace and honor to His Mother.” Therefore we must certainly believe that Jesus Christ preserved the body of Mary from corruption after death; for if He had not done so, He would not have observed the law, which, at the same time that it commands us to honor our mother, forbids us to show her disrespect. But how little would Jesus have guarded His Mother’s honor, had He not preserved her from Adam’s sin! “Certainly that son would sin,” says the Augustinian Father Thomas of Strasburg, “who, having it in his power to preserve his mother from original sin did not do so.” “But that which would be a sin in us,” continues the same author, “would certainly have been considered un-becoming in the Son of God, Who, whilst He could make His Mother immaculate, did it not.” “Ah, no,” exclaims Gerson, “since Thou, the supreme Prince, choosest to have a Mother, certainly Thou owest her honour. But now if Thou didst permit her, who was to be the dwelling-place of the all-pure God, to be in the abomination of original sin, certainly it would appear that the law was not well fulfilled.”

“Moreover, we know,” says St. Bernardine of Sienna, “that the Divine Son came into the world to redeem Mary more than all other creatures.” There are two means by which a person may be redeemed, as St. Augustine teaches us: the one by raising him up after having fallen, and the other by preventing him from falling; and this last means is doubtless the more honorable. “He is more honorably redeemed,” says the learned Suarez, “who is prevented from falling, than he who, after falling, is raised up”; for thus the injury or stain, which the soul always contracts in falling, is avoided. This being the case, we ought certainly to believe that Mary was redeemed in the more honorable way, and the one more becoming to the Mother of God, as St. Bonaventure remarks, “for it is to be believed that the Holy Ghost, as a very special favor, redeemed and preserved her from original sin by a new kind of sanctification, and this in the very moment of her Conception; not that sin was in her, but that it might otherwise have been.” On the same subject Cardinal Cusano beautifully remarks, that “others had Jesus as a liberator, but to the most Blessed Virgin He was a pre-liberator”; meaning, that all others had a Redeemer Who delivered them from sin with which they were already defiled, but that the most Blessed Virgin had a Redeemer Who, because He was to become her Son, preserved her from ever being defiled by sin.

In fine, to conclude in the words of Hugo of St. Victor, the tree is known by its fruits. If the Lamb was always immaculate, the Mother must also have been always immaculate: “Such the Lamb, such the Mother of the Lamb; for the tree is known by its fruits.” Hence this same Doctor salutes Mary, saying: “O worthy Mother of a worthy Son”; meaning, that no other than Mary was worthy to be the Mother of such a Son, and no other than Jesus was a worthy Son of such a Mother; and then he adds these words: “O fair Mother of Beauty itself, O high Mother of the Most High, O Mother of God!” Let us then address this most Blessed Mother in the words of St. Ildephonsus: “Suckle, O Mary, thy Creator, give milk to Him Who made thee, and Who made thee such that He could be made of thee.” Amen.

Prayer for the Immaculate Conception Dec 8

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