Tag Archives: Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Immaculate Conception woodcut.jpgThe dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception was given to us by Pope Pius IX and proclaimed in the document, Ineffabilis Deus (1854), solemnly defining a clear and consistent teaching of the Church since 33 AD.

If you ask the question: What can you tell me about Mary as Patroness of America? Boston’s Archbishop (later Cardinal) Richard Cushing wrote an answer.

Famously, the 23 US bishops in 1846 (note: nearly a decade before the dogma’s definition) wrote to the Pope asking for Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception to be bestowed on the country’s young Church. The bishops wrote:

We take this occasion, brethren, to communicate to you the determination, unanimously adopted by us, to place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge throughout the United States, under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose Immaculate Conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church.

By the aid of her prayers, we entertain the confident hope that we will be strengthened to perform the arduous duties of our ministry, and that you will be enabled to practice the sublime virtues, of which her life presents the most perfect example.

Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of the United States
Sixth Provincial Council, Baltimore, 5 May 1846

With a look full of hope and compassion Mary says: fear not, God loves you personally

Pope Benedict made the annual visit to Spain’s Square, the Spanish Steps as it’s known, to lay a wreathe at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to offer a prayer of filial devotion and to encourage the faithful in our faith. His address follows:

B16 Dec 8 2010 Spanish Steps.jpg

Also this year
we have made an appointment here, in Piazza di Spagna, to render homage to the
Immaculate Virgin, on the occasion of her solemn feast. To all of you, who have
come in great numbers, as well as all those taking part through radio and
television, I address my cordial greeting. We are gathered around this historic
monument, which today is all surrounded by flowers, sign of the love and
devotion of the Roman people for the Mother of Jesus. And the most beautiful
gift, and most pleasing to her, that we offer is our prayer, the one we bear in
our hearts and which we entrust to her intercession
. They are invocations of
gratitude and supplication: of gratitude for the gift of faith and for all the
good that we receive daily from God; and supplication for our different needs,
for the family, health, work, for every difficulty that life has us encounter.

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Lawrence Lew’s Meditation on the Immaculate Conception

Lawrence Lew.jpeg

Here’s a meditation on today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception by the Rev’d Br. Lawrence Lew, OP, a friar of the English Dominican Province.

Brother Lawrence is one of the animators of the Dominican students’ blog, Godzdogz.
In the coming year Brother Lawrence will be ordained a priest.

Consecration of Persons to the Immaculate Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

This prayer of consecration was written by a friend of mine, Father Mark. As he notes, “and may be helpful when one experiences a need to entrust particular souls in difficulty to the Immaculate Conception. As he notes, when a priest prays it, he may want to don the stole and pray it before a blessed image of the Most Holy Virgin. This intercessory consecration is appropriate for the unbinding and healing of situations marked by habitual sin and moral suffering. The Immaculate Virgin Mary is ever-ready to intervene in the lives of her children. She is the Mother of Mercy and the Mediatrix of All Graces.”

In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Conception bw.jpg

Most holy Virgin Mary, — thou whom the FATHER didst preserve
from the first instant of thy conception from all evil and from the least
shadow of sin,
– thou whom the Precious Blood of JESUS didst render immaculate
and all-beautiful, even before that same Blood was formed in thy virginal womb
and poured out upon the altar of the Cross,
– thou whom the HOLY GHOST didst
fill full with every grace in view of the glorious motherhood of the Son of God
for which thou wast created, — thou art she who crusheth the head of the ancient
serpent, thou art she who alone overcometh the evil that is in us and around

To thee, O Mary, thy Son hath entrusted the liberation of souls enchained
by sin, the healing of wounded souls, and the sanctification of souls who have
suffered evil’s worst ravages.

Thou hast only to open thy immaculate hands over
them, and they are shot through with the rays of thy purity. Through thee,
entereth the light to shine in the darkest places. Through thee, souls are washed
in a downpour of graces. Through thee, the Holy Spirit succoureth the weakest
souls and giveth to the sterile a wonderful fecundity.

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Grace at work in Mary Immaculate

The privilege of Mary Immaculate does not consist solely in the absence of original sin, but much more in being “full of grace.” The Mother of Jesus gave to the world that very life which renews all things … and was enriched by God with gifts befitting such a role … She was adorned from the first instant of her conception with the splendors of an entirely unique holiness (Lumen Gentium 56).

Gabriel’s greeting, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” is the strongest testimony of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, who would not be “full of grace” in the complete sense of the word if she had been stained by sin for a single moment.

Thus the Blessed Virgin began life with a richness of grace which far surpasses that which the greatest saints acquire at the end of their lives. When we also consider her absolute fidelity and her total availability to God, we can faintly imagine to what heights of love and communion with God she attained far beyond all other creatures in heaven and on earth (Lumen Gentium 53).

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
Divine Intimacy

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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