Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception by Peter Paul Rubens, 1627

Today, December 8, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Both to prepare her for her unique role as Mother of God and in honor of her unique relationship with Jesus, Mary was given the unique gift of being preserved from original sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne by the seed of her father, St. Joachim. Like all of us, Mary was saved from sin by the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. But Jesus is the Incarnate Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Since God does not exist in time, every moment being now, He was able to apply the graces won on the cross to Mary at the moment of her conception. And since she was His loving Mother, He chose to do so. Who would not give to his or her mother all that is within their power?

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception has been held by the Church for the centuries of her existence. It was proclaimed a dogma officially by Pope Bl. Pius IX in 1854. Four years later, in 1858, a 14-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, began receiving visions of a beautiful Lady at the grotto of Massabielle, just outside the town of Lourdes where she lived with her family. The beautiful Lady told her during one vision to wash in the nearby waters. Seeing no waters, she began to dig. From her digging sprung a pool of water. Many who have washed in the waters of Lourdes have experienced healing of various physical ailments. During another vision, the Lady instructed Bernadette to tell the priest to arrange for a procession and a chapel to be built at the sight. The priest refused to do so unless the Lady told her name. Bernadette asked at still another vision, and the Lady replied, “Je suis l’Immaculee conception.” (“I am the Immaculate Conception”). Eventually, the miraculous healings could not be ignored, nor the power of Bernadette’s consistent and unflinching testimony, despite pressures placed on her by the priest and the civil authorities. Today, Lourdes receives millions of visitors a year. Bernadette was canonized in 1933, not because she was the recipient of the visions, but because of her steadfastness in communicating faithfully the message of Our Lady of Lourdes with courage.

An Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart

O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners, I consecrate myself to thine Immaculate Heart.

I consecrate to thee my very being and my whole life; all that I have, all that I love, all that I am. To thee I give my body, my heart and my soul; to thee I give my home, my family, my country.

I desire that all that is in me and around me may belong to thee, and may share in the benefits of thy motherly benediction. And that this act of consecration may be truly efficacious and lasting, I renew this day at thy feet the promises of my Baptism and my first Holy Communion. I pledge myself to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits a Catholic who is duly submissive to all the directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.

I pledge myself to keep the commandments of God and His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord’s Day. I likewise pledge myself to make the consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all, Holy Communion, an integral part of my life, in so far as I may be able so to do.

Finally, I promise thee, O glorious Mother of God and loving Mother of men, to devote myself whole-heartedly to the service of thy blessed cult, in order to hasten and assure, through the sovereignty of thine Immaculate Heart, the coming of the kingdom of the Sacred Heart of thine adorable Son, in my own heart and in those of all men, in our country and in all the world, as in Heaven, so on earth.

Amen.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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