Tag Archives: Immaculate Conception

Mary, the Immaculate Conception

“Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?” asks St Maximillian Maria Kolbe, the 20th century martyr and saint who founded a Marian movement. Accordingly, he teaches us, based on his prayer and experience, that the perfect love of the Holy Trinity meets an adequate response in the perfect love of the Immaculate, which is the name St Maximilian gives to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In another place he says, “In the union of the Holy Spirit with her, not only does love bind these two beings, but the first of them [the Holy Spirit] is all the love of the Most Holy Trinity, while the second [the Blessed Virgin Mary] is all the love of creation, and thus in that union heaven is joined to earth, the whole heaven with the whole earth, the whole of Uncreated Love with the whole of created love: this is the vertex of love.”

St Maximillian gave us a mature perspective of Mary under this title.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was declared and defined by Bl. Pius IX in 1854: “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.” (Ineffabilis Deus )

Since Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception let us pray for our nation today.

Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception has this as its sole significance: that no human being can set in motion salvation by their own powers alone, but that their Yes is wrapped around and supported by that divine love which comes first and before all else.

Joseph Ratzinger

May  Our Lady intercede for the United States of America!

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Immaculate Conception of Mary

IC BVMToday we honor Mary with a Solemnity, recalling the title she has carried as the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception. Under the title of the Immaculate Conception is placed the USA. So, let us pray for our country and for ourselves asking for the solicitude of the Divine Maternity. As always, we need to remember that anything we say about Mary needs to be true for her Son –it all has to cohere. Saint Anselm wrote, “Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.”

Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem writes:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God that can never be lost. You have won from God a most glorious favor, a grace long desired, a grace of great splendor, a saving grace, an unfailing grace, a grace that will last forever. Many before you have been holy, but no one has been as favored as you, no one as blessed as you, no one as perfectly sanctified as you, no one as highly praised as you. No one else has like you been possessed from the first by purifying grace, no one else has been enlightened like you, or exalted like you, for no one has approached so close to God as you, or been enriched with such divine gifts, or endowed with such heavenly grace.”

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

Pope’s prayer to Mary, the Immaculate Conception

immaculate conceptionWe know that Pope Francis has a devotion to the Mother of God. No doubt strongly influenced by his Argentinian/Italian and Jesuit background. In some ways he’s no different than most faithful Catholics who have a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Francis has become a frequent papal visitor to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major; yesterday, he went to this basilica and prayed in front of the Marian image of Salus Populi Romani. Thereafter, the Holy Father went to Piazza di Spagna for the traditional act of veneration of the Immaculate Conception. Having made the Act of Veneration of the Immaculate Conception, Francis prayed a special prayer he composed. Here is what he prayed, and this ought to be our prayer, too:

Oh Mary, our Mother,
today the people of God in celebration
venerate the Immaculate,
always preserved from the contagion of sin.

Accept the gift I offer on behalf of the Church in Rome
and throughout the world.

Knowing that You, our Mother, are completely free from sin
gives us great comfort.
Knowing that evil has no power over You,
fills us with hope and fortitude
in the daily struggle that we must fulfill against the threats of the evil one.

But we are not alone in this struggle, we are not orphans, because Jesus,
before dying on the cross,has given You to us as a Mother.

We, therefore, despite being sinners, are your children, sons of the Immaculate,
called to the holiness that shines through You
by the grace of God from the beginning.

Animated by this hope,
we pray today for Your maternal protection for us, for our families,
for this city, for the whole world.

May the power of God’s love,
that preserved You from original sin,
through Your intercession, free humanity from every spiritual and material slavery,
and make us win, in hearts and in events, God’s plan of salvation.

May grace prevail in us, Your children, over
pride and we can become merciful
as our heavenly Father is merciful.

In this time that leads us
towards the feast of the Nativity of Jesus,
teach us to go against the tide:
to divest ourselves, to lower ourselves, to give ourselves, to listen, to be silent,
to decentralize ourselves,
to make room for the beauty of God, the source of true joy.

Oh Immaculate, Our Mother, pray for us!

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Immaculate Conception

We in the USA honor the Virgin Mother with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. From an early church theologian, Origen, writes:
“The angel greeted Mary with a new address, which I could not find anywhere else in Scripture. I ought to explain this expression briefly. The angel says, ‘Hail, full of grace!’ The Greek word is κεχαριτωμένη. I do not remember having read this word elsewhere in Scripture. An expression of this kind, ‘Hail, full of grace!’ is not addressed to a male. This greeting was reserved for Mary alone.”

From a homily given in England today:

‘The Immaculate Conception’. It’s a lovely rolling phrase, isn’t it (we classicists might analyse its rhythm as a trochaic dimeter). And it’s a phrase, too, that can scare people silly. Is it sometimes the physicality – again, of conception – that disturbs them; conception, a process that occurs a little way south of the tummy button? Not the sort of thing the fastidious want to have dragged in front of their noses. C S Lewis points out that the devils too are fastidious in their horror at the flesh: Screwtape refers to a human as ‘this animal, this thing begotten in a bed’. Or perhaps people are scared of the word ‘Immaculate’; perhaps it suggests foreign religion – little old Irish women clutching their rosaries or Spanish ladies in black making their five successive First Saturday communions in honour of the Immaculate Heart (a devotion which Cardinal Ratzinger with his gentle irony once called ‘surprising for people from the Anglo-Saxon and German cultural worlds’). But ‘immaculate’ is a completely biblical concept in its Hebrew and Greek equivalents: it means spotless; and only what is without blemish is truly for God (for example, a spotless sacrificial lamb). Because: Mary is to be wholly for God, is to give God his body, to give God his endowment of genes, to give God the food of her breast: so Mary by God’s gift is to be the Immaculate, the one without blemish, the one in whom the Divine likeness has never been marred.

It is because Mary alone in the roots of her being is unmarked by sin that Mary alone is truly and wholly free. In our hearts, too, we should make her free and ‘fear not’; she is never to be locked up in the tourist industry as a statue of doubtful taste carried in processions by foreign peasants for the English to photograph from within their coaches; Mary is not to be detained at the pleasure of the Heritage business in a Merry England; she is not to be ‘the Madonna’ of the Art Historians imprisoned in glossy coffee­ table books.

If Mary is the Mother of God Incarnate, she is our Mother too, because we are in Christ, limbs of his body by our baptismal incorporation. Mary comes to us this day, and what would a true mother bring to hungry children except food; food for her children in exsilio; food packed for our journey. Mary comes to this place and to this moment of time; Mary comes, bright with all the beauties known by men and angels; Mary comes to set upon our lips the blessed fruit of her womb Jesus.

Fr John Hunwicke
Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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