Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception, celebrated December 8th, is a Solemnity in the Catholic Church.  This feast is one of only three Solemnities, and thus is one of the highest ranking Marian celebrations in our liturgical year (the other two being the feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st and the feast of the Assumption on August 15th.)

God’s preservation of Mary not only from personal sin but from original sin from the moment of her conception is a dogma of faith in the Catholic Church.  It wasn’t always so, and from the 7th century through to St. Thomas Aquinas and on to Blessed John Duns Scotus right up to Pope Pius IX the discussions continued.

Since the entire Marian month of December is devoted to the Immaculate Conception, I would like to delve a little more deeply into this topic in a few upcoming posts, to follow the discussion as it evolved through the centuries and to highlight subject matter such as Mary’s pre-redemption.

But for today, on Mary’s beautiful feastday, I leave you with this passage from Henri Nouwen’s, “The Genesee Diary” – an entry he wrote on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1974:

In this feast it seems that all the quiet beauty of Advent suddenly bursts forth into exuberance and exultation. In Mary we see all the beauty of Advent concentrated. She is the one in whom the waiting of Israel is most fully and most purely manifested; she is the last of the remnant of Israel for whom God shows his mercy and fulfills his promises; she is the faithful one who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled; she is the lowly handmaid, the obedient servant, the quiet contemplative. She indeed is the most prepared to receive the Lord.

It seems that there is no better time to celebrate this feast than during these Advent days. It is the celebration of the beauty of her who is ready to receive the Lord. It is like admiring the palace where the King will enter, the room to which the bridegroom will come, the garden where the great encounter will take place.

[Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Genesee Diary, pg. 174]

Say But the Word

Continuing the theme of the birth of Jesus in our souls as at Bethlehem, here is an excerpt from Meister Eckhart:

…the Father goes on begetting his Son in himself without ceasing, and Father and Son breathe forth with equal power their holy Breath, both Son and Holy Ghost abiding with the Father in the essence, and in the vision of this Trinity of Persons lies the whole happiness of creatures which are able to participate in his divine felicity…. The soul becomes the heavenly habitation of the eternal Deity, and he performs his godly work in her, whence she receives the nectar which is denied to such as have not reached this fiery celestial mind.  For her heavenly Sire begets in her his Son whom she lures out of his Father’s heart, and Father and Son breathe into her their holy Breath, the Son never leaving his Father’s heart but proceeding forth from his Father in such fashion that he ever abides in his Father’s heart.  Thus the Father dwells in the soul; he clasps the soul to his breast, and in this embrace of the Father she conceives within her his Son as a proceeding Person and at the same time is aware of his presence with the Father in his essence…. He can speak but one word, and that Word is eternal:  it is his only-begotten Son.  That is the Word he speaks to the soul, giving birth to his Son in her, and in this birth the Father and Son inspire her with their Holy Ghost which teaches her all things.

Thus the soul gets all things from the Father and has gotten all things in the Son and knows all things in the Holy Ghost and so, possessed of all things, she is resting in God without end.

From:  The Sermons and Collations of Meister Eckhart, Chapter LXVIII [The Powers of the Soul], pgs. 170-171)

Born in Our Hearts

I’ve noticed that ever since my consecration to Mary, when I have questions I’m pondering (see comments of previous post), I am led almost straight-away to answers/helpful insights, such as this.  Thank you, Father Schineller.

Direct to YouTube for this video is here.

From the YouTube Channel “americamag”. (America is a national Catholic weekly magazine published by Jesuit priests and their lay colleagues).

E’en So, Lord Jesus