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ON this day, so dear to every Catholic heart, we celebrate, in the first place, the moment in which Almighty God showed Mary, through the distance of ages, to our first parents as the Virgin Mother of the divine Redeemer, the woman destined to crush the head of the serpent. And as by eternal decree she was miraculously exempt from all stain of original sin, and endowed with the richest treasures of grace and sanctity, it is meet that we should honor her glorious prerogatives by this special feast of the Immaculate Conception. We should join in spirit with the blessed in heaven, and rejoice with our dear Mother, not only for her own sake, but for ours, her children, who are partakers of her glory and happiness. Secondly, we are called upon to celebrate that ever-memorable day, the 8th of December, 1854, which raised the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady from a pious belief to the dignity of a dogma of the Infallible Church, causing universal joy among the faithful.
Reflection. —Let us repeat frequently these words applied by the Church to the Blessed Virgin: "Thou art all fair, O Mary? and there is not a spot in thee" (Cant. iv. 7).
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
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. Ps. 29, 2. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me. Glory be …
O God, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy dwelling for Thy Son, we beseech Thee that Thou, Who, by the death, foreseen by Thee, of the same Thy Son, didst preserve her from all stain, wilt grant us also, by her intercession, to come to Thee pure in heart. Through the same.
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[The preaching of wisdom. Her excellence.]
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 be 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 doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.
Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, by the Lord, the most high God, above all women, upon the earth. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel, thou art the honor of our people.
Alleluia, alleluia. Thou art all fair, O Mary, and there is in thee no stain of original sin. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[The conception of John the Baptist, and of Christ. The visitation and canticle of the Blessed Virgin. The birth of the Baptist and the canticle of Zachary.]
And in the sixth month, 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 among women.
Hail, Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Alleluia.
Receive, O Lord, the saving oblation which we offer Thee on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and grant that, as we confess her to have been preserved, by Thy prevenient grace, from all taint of evil, so, through her intercession, we may be free from all sin. Through our Lord.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O Mary; for He that is mighty hath done great things unto thee.
May the sacrament which we have received, O Lord, our God, heal in us the wounds of that sin from which, by a singular privilege, Thou didst preserve immaculate the conception of blessed Mary. Through our Lord.