Tuesday, December 1, 2015

For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

On December 8 Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of Mary as the Immaculate Conception. This feast, a holy day of obligation, honors the immaculate conception of Mary in the womb of St. Anne. Mary's conception was unique since it was at this moment that God preserved her from the stain of original sin. The Blessed Virgin, like all people, needed redemption, but she received it at conception, which preserved her soul completely from sin, making her “full of grace,” sinless.
In 1854 Pope Pius IX, defining the Immaculate Conception, wrote, “He [God] so wonderfully filled her, more than all angelic spirits and all the Saints, with an abundance of all heavenly gifts taken from the treasury of the divinity, that she, always free from absolutely every stain of sin, and completely beautiful and perfect, presented such a fullness of innocence and holiness that none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it."
As we honor our holy, pure, Immaculate Mother, let us pause to thank God for preserving her from original sin and sing Mary's praises in love and devotion. The following prayer was penned by St. Ephrem the Syrian, a Doctor of the Church who died in 373. He is one of the Fathers of the Church most often invoked in support of the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception.

Prayer of Praise to Immaculate Mary

O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen.
--Saint Ephrem the Syrian

God bless!

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