Category Archives: Our Lady

100th Anniversary of the first Apparition of the Mother of God at Fatima

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100 years since the Virgin proclaimed the greatness of our Faith and the importance of her Angelic Salutation of the Rosary. 100 years since she warned us to return to her Son in repentance so as to avoid the chastisements that would come, as a result of failing to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. To this day, they have failed to heed her warning and have reaped the results – two world wars, Communism with the host of evils that have resulted, and persecution of the Church by the Modernists that have attacked every aspect of the Church.

To describe this day in a Dickensonian manner: “It was the most beautiful of anniversaries and the most dire of anniversaries”.

What a true honor it should be for every Catholic to witness such a milestone in the history of the Church and the world.  Certainly we should give this day great honor and celebrate with appropriate jubilation.  However, we must not imitate the example of those clergy and laymen who wish to confine Fatima to a status of irrelevancy and unimportance.  At Fatima, Our Lady has given us the Message specifically meant for our times.  Catholics living in our age are called to foster a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to live a life of sacrifice, like she asked for at Fatima. In doing our part, hopefully we can help to hasten the coming peace, when the Pope and Bishops finally open Our Lady and consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

Our sacrifice need not be unpleasant, rather it should be a cross of joy!  If not taken with love, it is no sacrifice at all.  Although we may have much to suffer, Our Lady has assured us that “the grace of God will be your comfort”.  We will save so many souls by our sacrifices!  The great sacrifice in our day is definitely the fact that faithful Catholics are so thoroughly spurned by not only the world, but also most of the hierarchy in the Church.  We also hear constantly of wars and rumors of wars, as Our Lady predicted.  Finally, the Blessed Mother could not be accurate in stating that Russia will spread her errors across the entire world.  This exactly has happened.  Communism is not primarily based off of physical protection, but atheistic materialism.  Who could not deny that the entire West has fallen prey to this evil?  Just consider, for example, the candidate France has chosen to lead them.  Alas, the Eldest Daughter of the Church!

Despite this grave situation, we must nevertheless possess a great Hope.  Our Lady is our last hope in these times. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart is fast approaching!  We must remain faithful to our 5 decades daily and our First Saturday devotion.  Be sure to ask your traditional pastor for permission to fulfill the First Saturday conditions on Sunday if your chapel does not offer Mass on Saturday or if you are unable to attend on this day. Our Lord and Our Lady have permitted this so that all Catholics, even in these difficult times, may practice this devotion.  We can save so many souls if we just make use of the means God gives us. Above all, we must beg Heaven for the Holy Father to finally consecrate Russia with the world’s bishops.  But let us be assured; Tradition continues to grow and the great restoration is approaching!  

We both wish to express our appreciation to our pastor for the beautiful Rosary procession he has planned for tomorrow in commemoration of this anniversary.  We also commend those in Tradition who will be appropriately acknowledging the height of this day.  I wish to highlight one particular example for the edification of our readers.  On this day, Bp. Bernard Fellay will be traveling to the Philippines to consecrate a new church for St. Bernard’s Noviciate in Iloilo.  After 15 years of celebrating Mass in a garage, the Noviciate has built a magnificently beautiful building to honor the Blessed Sacrament.  A couple of photos will follow this post. 

A short poem in honor of Our Lady (with thanks to Fr. Alain Lorans, SSPX): 

Mary Immaculate, Star of the morning,
Chosen before the creation began,
Chosen to bring, for Thy bridal adorning,
Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.

Sinners, we honor Thy sinless perfection;
Fallen and weak, for Thy pity we plead;
Grant us the shield of Thy Sovereign protection,
Measure Thine aid by the depth of our need.

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Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima, ora pro nobis!

~Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition

Our Lady is not appearing in Medjugorje

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The Bishop has spoken. Once again, Bishop Ratko Peric of the Diocese of Mostar Dustar of Crotia has condemned the apparitions in Medjugorje, to the complete disregard of the supporters of this farce.  The obvious diabolical workings of Medjugorje are obvious to see, for those who have the authentic Faith. From the apparitions’s heresy of religious indifferentism to her “accidental” appearing under the guise of a demon, it is plain to see that these are not the fruits of a true apparition.  This entire affair can be summed up in one sentence: Satan or an angel of his is appearing in Medjugorje.

And now for the article, taken from SSPX.org

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/not-real-apparitions-medjugorje-28400

“On February 26, 2017, Ratko Perić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, published a letter on the subject of the Marian apparitions that have allegedly occurred in Medjugorje since 1981.

This detailed, precise clarification appeared in Italian on the diocesan website. Meanwhile Pope Francis appointed, on February 11 (the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes), a “special envoy from the Holy See” for the shrine in Medjugorje: Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga (Poland).

His mission, between now and next summer, is “to gain and in-depth knowledge about the pastoral situation of this institution and above all about the needs of the faithful who travel to it on pilgrimage and, based on it, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.”

Bishop Perić mentions all the investigations conducted until now on the “Medjugorje phenomenon”: Mostar Diocesan Commission (1982-1984), the Expanded Commission (1984-1986), the Commission of the Episcopal Conference in Zagreb (1987-1990), the Commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican (2010-2014), and the evaluation by the same Congregation (2014-2016). “We believe that everything has been placed into the hands of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.” The position of the Curia in Mostar, Bishop Ratko Perić explains, has been clear and determined throughout this period: “This is not about real apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” He concludes his long letter by recalling the statement made by Bishop Pavao Žanić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno from 1980 to 1993, in Medjugorje on July 25, 1987, so as to be able to declare that “Our Lady has not appeared in Medjugorje!”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared on March 3 on the website of the Italian television network TGCom24 that “some have exaggerated the importance of these phenomena, as though they were almost a dogma.” And he recalled that “even if the Church makes a declaration in favor of these sorts of events, no Catholic is obliged to go there or to believe in them.”

In 2010, the historian Yves Chiron wrote a very well-documented study on Medjugorje (published by Via Romana) in which he presented for the first time in French the text of the conference given by Bishop Perić in 2004, in which the Bishop of Mostar analyzed the facts, emphasized the contradictions and recalled the judgment: “constat de non supernaturalitate” [“it is clearly not supernatural”].

Sources: cath.ch / imedia / radiovatican / md-tm – DICI no. 351 dated March 17, 2017

On a personal note, today is my Birthday. I am thankful that half of my 20 years have been in service to God and the Church as a Catholic.

~Damsel of the Faith

The great Sign of Revelation is appearing in the heavens

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“And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.”  ~Revelation 12:1-2

A little known astronomical event of great importance began on November 20, 2016. Jupiter “the King planet” enters the body of the constellation Virgo (the virgin). Jupiter spends the next 9 ½ months within the “womb” of the constellation, Virgo, the time a baby spends in its mother’s womb. Jupiter will exit Virgo on September 23 of this year. At this time, the sun will be aligned with Virgo, alluding to the “Woman clothed with the sun” the moon will literally be beneath her feet. Twelve stars will be above her head, comprised of the nine stars of the constellation Leo, in addition to the planets Mercury, Venus & Mars.

This has never happened before in the history of mankind. Could this be the sign of Revelation? This is happening at a crucial year, being the centennial of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, the Woman with power over the heavens & the earth.

The Son of God foretold…

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves…”   ~Luke 21:25

What are you thoughts?

~Damsel of the Faith

 

The Triumph of Our Lady cometh

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The triumph of the Immaculate Heart will result as an act of providence, for the beginning of the Age of Mary, where she will be exalted and glorified by all mankind, who will each and every one become a fervent Catholic. Then will she have completed what she was sent by God to this Earth to do – show herself as our loving Mother, pleading for souls, so as to save us from the pit of hell and take us to the glory of Heaven. Please God, let this restoration happen soon.

“According to my reading of history, the epochs in which Faith is the strongest, piety the most robust, and the church wins her grandest victories, whether in individuals or in nations, are precisely those in which devotion to Our Lady, or the worship of her virtue, is the most diffused, the most vigorous and flourishing.”  ~Dr. Orestes Browning

~Damsel of the Faith

Happy New Year 2017!

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From Steven and I here at Damsel of the Faith blog, we wish all of our readers a happy and holy New Year! As my pastor reminded me today, Happy 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, as well. Let us continue to pray that the Consecration of Russia happens soon, for it is very late and God is much offended with the state of the Church and the world.

Give thanks to God for all the blessing received this past year. Te Deum Laudamus!

“It would be a monstrous ingratitude to receive daily many blessings of the Divine goodness, and not to acknowledge your gratitude, if not in deeds, at any rate, in words and canticles. Besides that, if this gratitude is due to Him, it is no less advantageous to ourselves. God has no need of us, but we have every need of Him. The thanksgiving which we offer to Him adds nothing to what He is, but it helps us to love Him more, and to repose a greater confidence in Him. For if the remembrance of benefits we have received from men induces us to love them more, there can be no doubt that, meditating on the graces which Almighty God has showered upon us, we should naturally feel more desire to love Him, more prompt to obey Him.” ~St. John Chrysostom

~Damsel of the Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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A blessed Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to all!

For our readers, a wonderful article on this great miracle of Our Lady(originally posted on sspx.org):

“I am your mother”: Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 11, 2014

As a good and solicitous mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, protects her children.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is observed in the United States of America on December 12th, commemorating as a third class feast the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in December 1531 and the subsequent miracle of her image being impressed upon his tilma (a rough cloak woven from vegetable fibers).

This miraculous image spoke to the Aztecs in their symbolic—or glyphic—language on many levels. But primarily the imagery showed who the Lady of Tepeyac was and her power exemplified by being “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” This important symbolism was further confirmed by the name she gave to Juan Diego’s in his Nahuatl tongue, “Coatlaxopeuh“—rendered in Spanish as “Guadalupe“—meaning “the one who crushes the serpent“—here not just in reference the Devil, but a specific Aztecan deity.

The results of this singular miracle was nothing less than miraculous itself as the native Indians of Mexico began to convert to the One, True Catholic Faith by the millions. Previously these varied peoples had suffered under the scourge of the Aztec religion, one of the bloodiest forms of paganism known to mankind (for example, the human sacrifice of over 10,000 in a single day to dedicate a new temple).

Remarking on the tilma‘s imagery, Our Lady radiates peace and serenity with her consoling demeanor and posture, yet with a calm strength she overwhelms the violent and bloodthirsty gods of the Aztecs, vividly demonstrated by her blocking out the sun god and standing upon the moon god, the pagan religion’s two most powerful deities.

The solicitude expressed on the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the souls of all Americans (whether they reside in the regions of the North, Central or South)—thus the appropriateness of her title as “Empress of the Americas” is perhaps even more profoundly comprehended when we consider her consoling words to Juan Diego summarized as: “Trust in me: I am your mother“.


“I am your mother”

The following words of Our Lady of Guadalupe have been extracted from the Nican Mopohua, a 16th century historical account of the apparitions and miraculous event written in Nahuatl by Antonio Valeriano. These words of the Blessed Virgin Mary were spoken to Juan Diego over the course of several days. The historical context has been omitted so the reader may concentrate on Holy Mother’s consoling message of solicitude.

First apparition; December 9

Juanito, dearest Juan Diego.

Juanito, my dearest son, where are you going?

Know and understand well, you my most humble son, that I am the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”

Second apparition; December 9

Hark, my little son, you must understand that I have many servants and messengers, to whom I must entrust the delivery of my message, and carry my wish, but it is of precise detail that you yourself solicit and assist and that through your mediation my wish be complied. I earnestly implore, my son the least, and with sternness I command that you again go tomorrow and see the bishop. You go in my name, and make known my wish in its entirety that he has to start the erection of a temple which I ask of him. And again tell him that I, in person, the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, sent you.”

Fourth apparition; December 12

Hear me and understand well, my little son, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.

Climb, my dear son, to the top of the hill; there where you saw me and I gave you orders, you will find different flowers. Cut them, gather them, assemble them, then come and bring them before my presence.

My dear little son, this diversity of roses is the proof and the sign which you will take to the bishop. You will tell him in my name that he will see in them my wish and that he will have to comply to it. You are my ambassador, most worthy of all confidence. Rigorously I command you that only before the presence of the bishop will you unfold your mantle and disclose what you are carrying. You will relate all and well; you will tell that I ordered you to climb to the hilltop, to go and cut flowers; and all that you saw and admired, so you can induce the prelate to give his support, with the aim that a temple be built and erected as I have asked.”

To read further about the historical context of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we suggest the contemporaneous account of Bernal Diaz, The Conquest of New Spain. You can also read about some Jesuit missionary work in Black Robes in Paraguay, which was so successful that it led to a political crisis and the subsequent suppression of the order.

Lastly, have you ever heard of the lesser-known miraculous image and message of Our Lady of Quito from Ecuador in Central America? Was she referring to Archbishop Lefebvre and his priestly society when she spoke “of a prelate who will absolutely oppose this [20th century] wave of apostasy and impiety—saving the priesthood by forming good priests“? As Archbishop Lefebvre stated during his 1988 Episcopal Consecrations sermon:

I do not say that prophecy refers to me. You may draw your own conclusions. I was stupefied when reading these lines but I cannot deny them, since they are recorded and deposited in the archives of this apparition.”

Our Lady as the woman “who will crush the head of the serpent” is also the destroyer of all heresies and error and consoled by this truth of her motherly protection, we confidently approach her with the words: Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

Celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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“Today is the most solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, proclaimed a dogma in 1854 and confirmed later by Our Lady at Lourdes, France in 1858, with the words “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  From the first moment of conception, Our Lady was free from all stain of original sin, meaning she never sinned throughout her life. What a profound thought.  Let us honor Our Lady today and make reparation for the blasphemies hurled at her from those Catholics who do not love and honor her, unbelievers and protestants.  A Blessed Feast to all!”

In no way could I add to the Damsel’s exquisite and succinct introduction from last year.  We again wish everyone a Happy and Blessed Feast this day!  May our chosen selections for this post move our readers to only a greater appreciation for the Feast!  Our readers are also encouraged to read the previous blog posts on the Immaculate Conception, which contain many important prayers and meditations.

Of particular importance to our American readers(from sspx.org):

United States of Mary

On May 13, 1846 the 23 bishops of the United States who were gathered in the residence of Archbishop Samuel Eccleston for the third private meeting of the Council of Baltimore adopted a decree by which they chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as Patroness of the United States.

With enthusiastic acclaim and with unanimous approval and consent, the Fathers [of the Council] have chosen the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the Patroness of the United States of America…”

In the fourth private meeting of the Council, held on May 15, they agreed to ask the Holy See for permission to add the word “Immaculate” in the orations and preface of the Divine Office and Mass of the Conception of Mary; and also to add in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin the invocation: “Queen, conceived without sin, pray for us.”

On February 7, 1847, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Our Lady in her Immaculate Conception as Patroness of the United States.

For our readers’ edification, a most beautiful version of I’ll Sing a hymn to Mary by Ros Ni Dhubhain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQDj0g_16bo

Finally, a brief catechism and meditation for this great Feast from Fr. Leonard Goffine:

On this day and the ensuing eight days, the Catholic Church celebrates with special solemnity the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What does the Catholic Church understand by the Immaculate Conception?

By the Immaculate Conception she does not understand that great grace by which Mary preserved herself pure from every, even the least, actual sin; for, as concerns this, the Church has long since declared that Mary never sinned: nor does she understand by it her continual virginity, for it has been for a long time a doctrine of faith that both before and after the birth of her divine Son Mary remained a pure virgin; nor yet that she was sanctified before birth; as were the Prophets Jeremias and John the Baptist, who were both conceived in sin, but by a special grace of God were released from it before their birth; neither does she understand by it the conception of Christ from the Holy Ghost, that is, that Mary unstained conceived the Son of God of the Holy Ghost; and without the assistance of man, for this was always the unalterable doctrine of the Church: she does understand by it that exalted favor, that unshared privilege, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moments of her conception, by a special grace and favor on the part of God in reference to the merits of Jesus, our Saviour, was preserved from every stain of original sin.

What has until now been held by the Church in regard to this privilege?

The Catholic Church has always been of the pious opinion that Mary, the blessed Mother of the Redeemer, was conceived immaculate, that her most pure soul had never from the first moment of her existence the least shadow of sin. This doctrine was embraced by all the saints, the most learned and most faithful children of the Church. We have testimony of this, as far back as the times of the apostles, in a document concerning the sufferings of St. Andrew, in which it is said: “As the first man was created from the spotless earth, so was it necessary that the perfect man (Christ Jesus) should be born of an immaculate virgin.” St. Justin, who died a martyr in the year 167 after Christ, compares the Blessed Virgin to Eve, before she sinned and while she was still a virgin. St. Amphilochus says: “He who created the first Eve free from shame, created the second without spot or stain.” Origen, one of the Fathers of the Church, writes that she was neither surprised by the personated serpent, nor infected by his poison, and calls her a pure and immaculate mother. St. Ephrem calls her the undefiled, the strong, the inviolate, the most chaste virgin, far removed from all spot and stain. The Abbot St. Sabbas says of Mary: “On thee who never took part in any guile, I place my hope. No one but thou, O Lady, is without fault, and besides’thee no one is unsullied and spotless.” St. Ambrose calls Mary a virgin who by the grace of God remained always free from all shadow of sin. St. Augustine says: “When there is mention made of sin, the Virgin of whom on account of our Lord no question is to be asked, must be excepted.” St. Proclus says, “that the holy Mother of God was made by the purest God free from all stain.” St. Fulgentius says: “The wife of the first man was led astray and her soul soiled by the malice of sin, but in the mother of the second (Christ) the grace of God preserved the soul as well as the body inviolate.” St. Paschasius Radbertus testifies: “It is certain that Mary was free from original sin;” and St. Peter Barman says: “The flesh of the Virgin taken from Adam, would not submit to the stain of Adam,” and before him the pious Doctor Alcuin wrote of Mary: “Thou art beautiful as the moon and free from all spot and every shadow of changeableness!” And St. Ildephonsus says: “It is certain that Mary was free from original sin.” An immense number of saintly men and theologians maintained the same. Many of them argued with the greatest keenness and the most indefatigable zeal the part of the Blessed Virgin; the teachers at the universities of Paris, Salamanca, Coimbra, Naples, Cologne, Mayence, Ingolstadt, &c., made it their duty by vows to inculcate this great privilege of the most favored Virgin, and to defend it by speech and by writings. Celebrated orders of monks, especially the orders of St. Benedict, St. Francis and St. Ignatius, made it their duty to advance this pious faith of the Immaculate Conception among the people. A great number of popes and bishops also honored the Immaculate Conception, and forbade the contrary doctrine to be taught. Even kings, princes and emperors counted it a great honor to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception of the Queen of Heaven. Finally, the Catholic Church gave definite expression to this universal belief, by declaring in the Council of Trent, that in the resolutions relating to original sin, the Virgin Mary was not included, and she confirmed the festival of the Immaculate Conception, introduced in the tenth century by St. Anselm, the worthy son of the great St. Benedict, and since that time observed in all the Churches.

This veneration for the Immaculate Conception, this pious view held by the whole Catholic Church was not yet a matter of faith, that is, the Catholic Church had not yet laid down this great privilege of the Mother of God as a dogma. We were not commanded to believe it, although to preach or teach against it was forbidden. But when, in the course of time, a large number of the faithful, among whom were archbishops, bishops, whole religious orders, as well as great monarchs, besought the pope as head of the Church to pronounce concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, that is, to elevate the belief so widely spread throughout the Catholic Church to a dogma, the pope could no longer hesitate to raise his voice in regard to this most important affair.

What did the supreme pastor of the Church, the pope, then do in regard to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin?

Pope Pius IX. who, as he himself testified, had in many ways experienced the assistance of the great Queen of Heaven, was urged by his love and childlike veneration for the Blessed Mother of our Lord, to set the last brilliant diamond in her crown of glory by declaring the Immaculate Conception an article of faith. Not wishing to be precipitate, he first addressed a circular to all the primates, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, of the whole Catholic world, February 2, 1849, requesting them to send him reports of the devotion of their clergy and the faithful concerning the Immaculate Conception, and the extent of their desire in the matter, that the case might be decided by the Apostolic See; at the same time he urged them to pray with him that God would give him the necessary enlightenment, and to call upon the clergy and the faithful for their prayers. When this was done, five hundred bishops in different parts of the world declared that they and their flocks firmly believed that Mary, the most favored Virgin, was preserved from every stain of original sin, and that they earnestly desired that the pope might raise this pious opinion to a dogma of the Church. Then the holy father, filled with delight, invited the bishops of the different countries to Rome, to consult with him upon the matter. About one hundred and fifty bishops, and a large number of learned men and superiors of spiritual orders, met at Rome and the whole subject was once more maturely examined; and at last, the 8th of December, 1854, the day on which the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception, was appointed as the day on which the pope, the supreme head of the Church, the mouth of the apostles, should solemnly announce the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

On this day the holy father ascended the Apostolic Chair in the splendid Church of St. Peter at Rome, and surrounded by the assembled cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, the clergy and the people he once more invoked the light of the Holy Ghost, and amid the perfect silence which reigned in that immense church, the holy father in a loud voice and with the most profound reverence and emotion read the decree by which he solemnly pronounced and established, that:

“It is an article of faith that the Blessed Virgin Mary by a special grace and privilege of God, on account of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, was from the first instant of her conception protected and preserved from every stain of original sin.”

Thus has the head of Catholic Christianity drawn aside the veil, which until then obscured the full glory of the Queen of Heaven, which now shines in stainless loveliness radiant over the whole world. The truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate is no longer a pious opinion, but an article of faith which every Catholic who wishes to remain a child of the Church, must profess with heart and with lips.

But, perhaps the decision of the pope concerning the Immaculate Conception is a new doctrine?

By no means; it is an old belief, established upon the holy Scriptures and laid down in the bosom of the Church, but not solemnly pronounced and made public previously. The pope cannot make a new article of faith, but he can and must announce that, as a revealed truth, which is established by the holy Scriptures and has been everywhere and at all times believed as a revealed truth by all true Christians. But if there is a truth founded on the holy Scriptures and tradition, of which the pope, the representative of Christ on earth, speaks officially, then every Catholic is bound to believe and openly to acknowledge the same. As we have already seen, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has been believed since the time of the apostles, and it is also established by the Scriptures. In the oldest of the sacred Books, in the Book of Genesis, (iii. 15.) is one of the most weighty passages on this subject which reads: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. After the fall of the first man, God spoke to the serpent, Satan, announcing that a woman would come and crush his head, that is, destroy his power; and all Catholic interpreters and holy Fathers agree that this woman is the Blessed Virgin. Mary is, therefore, placed by God Himself as Satan’s enemy, and must have been free from original sin from the first moment of her conception, otherwise she would have been, as St. Paul, the Apostle, says, a child of God’s wrath and under the power of Satan. In the gospel of St. Luke, (i. 28.) it is further said: And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women. The angel, by the direction of God, called Mary full of grace, that is, more than any of the just endowed with God’s sanctifying grace, as the holy Fathers agree. But would Mary be full of sanctifying and all other graces, had she for one moment of her life been without grace and burdened with sin? Would God have permitted the Blessed Mother of His only begotten Son, from whom He received flesh, to be touched by sin, even though for an instant, and be in the power of Satan? No; God’s hand preserved her; by His grace and by the infinite merits of her divine Son she remained free from every stain of sin, and the Church most justly applies to her the words of holy Scripture: Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. (Cant. iv. 7.)

What instructive meaning has the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin for every Catholic?

The Immaculate Conception teaches Catholics to know in some measure the infinite sanctity of the holy Trinity which makes sin so hateful and detestable to Him. The Heavenly Father could not see His beloved daughter for one moment stained by sin. The Divine Son could not ‘ wish to choose for His mother a virgin upon whose soul there was a vestige of sin. The Holy Ghost whose most pure bride Mary is, was not willing that her heart, His dwelling-place, should ever be for one instant soiled by sin. Behold how God detests sin! The Immaculate Conception also teaches us the inestimable treasure of sanctifying grace. Mary received this priceless treasure from God even in the first moment of her conception, without it she would never have become the Mother of the Saviour. Thou, my Christian, hadst not this treasure at thy conception, it is true, but thou didst receive it in holy baptism; there God’s hand arrayed thee in the white garment of innocence; there He sanctified thy soul, and the Holy Ghost selected it for His dwelling-place. Mary preserved this inestimable treasure until death, she was always blooming as a pure lily, the breath of sin never soiled her loveliness. Ask thyself: Do I still possess this treasure, which was given to me in holy baptism; have I preserved my soul’s beauty from the poison of sin, have I soiled it, destroyed it, lost it? Oh, if thou hast lost this precious gift, how unhappy art thou! if thou hast had this great misfortune to have stained thy garment of baptismal innocence by sin, Mary, the peerless virgin, has borne for thee the Saviour whose precious blood cleanses from every sin, whose infinite merits will restore to thee sanctifying grace, if thou art contrite and dost confess thy sin. But for the Saviour this treasure would be forever lost to thee, and thy soul forever forfeited. But for this Saviour Mary would not have been preserved from original sin, would not have received sanctifying grace at her conception. We can here learn the necessity of salvation through Christ, gratefully thank God who has given it to us, and praise Mary who had the grace to conceive and give birth to Him. In the Immaculate Conception.  O Christian, thou canst learn to know something of the priceless value of virginity. Jesus chose a pure and immaculate virgin for His mother, who should be the mirror of all virginal souls, her most pure and immaculate image should be continually presented to the corrupted world to show how virginity is esteemed in the eyes of our Lord.

INTROIT 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. (Isai. Ixi. 10.) I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my Enemies to rejoice over me. f/fr.xxix.) Glory ect.

COLLECT O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as Thou didst through the foreseen death of Thy same Son, preserve her from all stain, so Thou wilt also grant that we may reach Thee cleansed through her intercession. Through the same Jesus etc.

LESSON (Prov. viii. 22—35.) The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing, 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 as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: he had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present; 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 delights were 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 door. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

EXPLANATION AND APPLICATION This lesson is first a panegyric on the divine, uncreated Wisdom, the eternal Son of God, who at all times and before all things was with God and in God, by whom was made everything that was made, ordered and preserved; who rejoices in His works, loves them, and who admonishes man to love and imitate Him, and promises him eternal and temporal happiness. The Church causes this lesson to be read on this day, because the greater part of it can be applied to Mary; for it can truly be said of her, that she, as the most holy and excellent of all creatures, possessed the first place in the heart of God. For this reason the Church applies to her the words of the wise man: I came out of the mouth of the most High, the first-born before all creatures. (Ecclus. xxiv. 5.) For, as St. Richard says, she is the most worthy of all; no one has received so full a measure of purity, and of all supernatural gifts; in no creature are the marvels of divine goodness so visible as in her. Admire, devout soul, this master-piece of Almighty God, and make frequent use of the words of St. Chrysostom:

“Hail Mother of God and our Mother! Hail O Heaven in which God Himself dwells! O Throne of grace from which the Lord distributes His graces! Pray always to Jesus for us, that on the Day of Judgment we may receive forgiveness and eternal salvation.”

GOSPEL. (Luke i. 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 amongst women.

Why is this gospel read today?

Because it has a significant relation to the Immaculate Conception, and proclaims the great honor shown to the Blessed Virgin by these words: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why did the angel call Mary full of grace?

Because Mary was filled with grace, even before she came into this world; because she always increased in grace; because she was to bear the Author of all grace; that we may consider how Mary obtains for us the treasures of divine grace.

Mary was filled with grace even before her birth. As we are all conceived in sin, being children of a sinful ancestor, we are, therefore, burdened by sin before our birth. Mary was free by the privilege of the Immaculate Conception from all sin; her soul, pure and adorned with sanctifying grace, came forth from the hands of the Creator, and without the least prejudice to its purity and sanctity was united to her most pure body, from which the Saviour was to take His humanity. She could not from the first instant of her existence be wanting in that original sanctity and justice, which were the most beautiful adornments of our natural ancestress, Eve.

But Mary from the first moment of her conception was not only in grace but full of grace, because God appointed her for the highest dignity, of being the Mother of His only-begotten Son, and had consequently endowed her with the full measure of corresponding plenitude of graces and gifts of the Holy Ghost; according to the opinion of many learned men, the measure of grace which the Blessed Virgin received at her Immaculate Conception, was greater than that which all the angels and blessed possess now in glory. Mary ever increased in grace: But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forward and increaseth even to perfect day. (Prov. iv. 18.) These words of the Holy Ghost are verified especially in the life of the Blessed Virgin. What abundance of grace did she not receive, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, and the divine Son, who is Himself the infinite plenitude of grace, was conceived in her most pure body! Above all this, there yet came that rich supply of grace by which her zealous, constant, perfect and faithful cooperation made Mary increase every moment in grace. Thus St. Bonaventure says: “As all the waters meet in the sea, so all the graces were united in Mary.”

Why did the angel say to Mary: The Lord is with thee?

Because God is with the Blessed Virgin in an extraordinary manner. It is well to notice particularly, that the archangel Gabriel did not say to Mary as the angel did to Gideon: The Lord be with thee, (Judges vi. 12.) but: The Lord is with thee. These words are not, therefore, the wish that the favor, the blessing, the protection of God may be with Mary, but the positive declaration that the Lord really is with her, not simply because of His omnipotence and omnipresence by which He is with all His creatures, nor merely because of His goodness, love and intimacy by which He is with all the just. He is with her in a peculiar manner, since she by her dignity of being the Mother of God came into such close relationship with the Triune God that our intellect can conceive nothing nearer. She became the chosen Mother of the Son of God, the dearest, the most favored daughter of the Heavenly Father, and the pure, beloved bride of the Holy Ghost. “God the Father was with her,” says St. Bonaventure, “as with His most noble Daughter; God the Son was with her as with His most worthy Mother; God the Holy Ghost was with her as with His most pure Bride.”

Why did the angel say to Mary: Blessed art thou amongst women?

Because he desired to honor her as the most blessed of her sex, since she alone was chosen of all the others to be the Mother of God; because the first woman brought the curse, but Mary, the salvation of the world.

Mary, Mother of God! An honor, indeed, which in its exaltation is second only to divinity. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God! Mother and Virgin at the same time, what a wonderful prerogative! Though the greatest and most glorious of all mothers, she is the purest and most spotless of virgins, the queen of virgins.

But not only on account of her double glory as Mother of God and as a Virgin, Mary is the most blessed of her sex, but because it was given to her to mediate for us and for the whole world. She is that woman, promised to our first and sinful parents in Paradise, who would crush the serpent’s head; she gave to her Son the body with which He, by His death on the cross, accomplished the great work of salvation.

ACT OF PRAISE “Praised and blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!”

(Pope Pius VI. granted an indulgence of one hundred days to those who, with contrition and devotion repeat the above act of praise.)

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”