Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception

In “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”, we find the locutions received by Father Stefano Gobbi from the Blessed Virgin, covering the period of July 1973 to December 1989.  As I was looking through the book tonight, I saw that every single year contains an entry for December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, save for 1973, 1974 and 1976.

The following are excerpts taken from the message of December 8, 1988 entitled “A Sign of Hope and of Consolation”:

[note:  red highlights are the way I’m feeling now.]

The exemption from every stain of sin, even the original one, has made it possible for my soul to be completely filled with the life of God; for my mind to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of Wisdom who has opened me to a comprehension of the divine Word; for my heart to be molded into the most perfect form of love; for my body to be enwrapped in the immaculate light of a virginal purity…

Because I am ‘all beautiful’ – tota pulchra – I am for you a sign of hope in the days in which you are living, when my Adversary has succeeded in making everything ugly, through the stain of sin and of impurity.  You are living under the sign of his great bondage, which is depriving you of the reflection of all spiritual beauty.  Souls are being darkened by sins, which prevent the glory of life and of union with God from reaching them.  Bodies are being brutalized by the takeover of the passions and of impurity.  Man is being crushed under the weight of a civilization without God, which disfigures in him the image of his original dignity.  The world is being darkened by a persistent rejection of God.  A dense darkness has now descended to obscure everything…

Because I am ‘all beautiful’ – tota pulchra – I am for you also a sign of consolation.  You are living in the time of the great tribulation and sufferings and trials are increasing for everyone.  The wicked are continuing with obstinacy along the road of evil and of sin, without accepting my repeated urgings to conversion and to a return to the Lord.

The good are becoming tepid and as it were paralyzed by the unhealthy surroundings in which they live…

Today I call upon you all to look at me, your Immaculate Mother, as a sign of sure hope and of consolation, and to allow yourselves to be enfolded in my light, in these days of profound darkness and universal obscurity so that, led and guided by me, you may go to all places in order to illumine the earth.

I’m so glad it’s Advent. I just want to walk with Mary and ask for her help so that these “highlighted red parts” stop weighing down my heart and soul. Mary, thank you for being my hope and consolation.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

As we honour Mary today on this beautiful solemnity of her assumption into heaven, I share with you the Morning and Evening Poem for August 15th, by Thomas E. Burke, C.S.C. (as found in “Hail Mary.  A Marian Book of Hours”, compiled by William G. Storey, D.M.S.):

If flowers are too stainless to remain
Concealed in the dark caverns of the earth,
But must be lifted up by God again
To know a second birth – a glad rebirth!
How could Christ leave her body in the tomb
Who was above all other women blest,
Who gave him refuge in her virgin womb,
And fed him on the lilies of her breast?
Is she not fairer far than any flower?
What bloom could ever boast her loveliness?
What fragrant rose in its sequestered bower
Has ever vied with her in spotlessness?
Truly the Lord, her God, the Holy One,
Has placed his tabernacle in the sun!

Today I celebrate my 5th anniversary of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I can hardly believe it’s been five years already. (Or has it only been five years… mystery of mysteries… I’ll explain in my next post…)

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Our Lady stated that her Heart is the hope of the world. She expressly requested the practice and spread of devotion to her Immaculate Heart [at Fatima], saying that it is in the designs of the Divine Mercy to help the world through this Heart.

Mary,

Your heart is a shrine of peace, for it is the heart of the Mother of the Prince of Peace, a heart never for a moment disturbed by evil passion, a heart whose gifts to mankind are mercy, love, and peace. To all of us your immaculate heart after that of Jesus is most loving and most merciful. How many afflicted hearts are consoled in you! How many frail hearts are strengthened by you! How many are now in heaven because of the protection given them by your merciful heart! We obtain everything for our peace of soul in time and eternity from the Father through the Heart of Jesus and everything from Jesus through your heart. You are truly the “Queen of Peace.”

[From: Mary My Hope, Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D., pgs. 61-62 and 65-66]

With a special intention at this time for Syria, dear Mother.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

On this feastday of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the fourth anniversary of this blog, I would like to thank Our Lady for all she has done for me.  I ask for her continued protection and aid — for all I may do here, for myself, my family and everyone who may come here to learn more about our Mother, about consecration to her, or for prayer, support and encouragement.

Presentation of Mary

SHORT PRAYER ON THE PRESENTATION OF MARY

Heavenly Father, the Blessed Virgin Mary was dedicated to You by her parents when she was three. In the temple, she joined the girls who spent their days praying, reading Scripture, and serving the temple priests. Her holiness was very evident, and the high priest thought that You probably had great plans for her. I ask Mary to pray for the plans You have for my life. Where I have strayed onto a road of my own choosing, give me her hand to guide me back to where You want me. Where I need to wait for a new plan to begin, give me the grace to remain patient and say, “Your will be done.” Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for me. Amen.

[This prayer was found at the website of Saint Michael Center]

[Artwork:  The artist was known as “Meister des Marienlebens” (the Master of the Life of the Virgin), working circa 1463-1490]

One cannot help but notice that in the painting, those gathered around the temple steps have removed their eyes from Mary. They are focused either on another event, two puppies playing, or looking around to see what other people’s responses are to that event. In reality, we know that this is a heartrending moment for Saints Anne and Joachim, and as parents, many of us know that we wouldn’t have taken our eyes off that child until she was no longer in sight, and even then, we probably would have been running around the temple walls, tears in our eyes, trying to catch a final glimpse of her through the windows.

I’m sure the artist knew that too, and wasn’t disparaging Saints Anne or Joachim, or Mary’s family and friends as they gathered near the temple steps to give Mary over to her new life. He created a scene which is so far removed from how we know in reality Mary’s loving parents would have been acting that it captures our attention and causes us to reflect.

How easily we are distracted from what is truly important. How easily we turn our focus to the events around us, and to individual or global reactions to those events. Mary is our Mother, daily leading us to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, and helping us to know the heart of the Father. How often will she have to turn her head and look back, to see if we are still watching her, still near her, still focusing our eyes and hearts on her?

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

At Mass this morning, our pastor mentioned in his short homily that he had heard a talk given once, which he couldn’t go into detail about in such a limited time, but that he wanted to just share with us something he had found very interesting. 

He related how, with Noah, the rainbow signified an ark (arc) of promise; with Moses, the Ark of the Covenant signified God’s presence; and with Mary (and through her), since she herself is the Ark of the New Covenant, we have not only God’s presence but union with Him.

So this is what I’ll be reflecting on as I go about my day, this beautiful feastday of our Lady’s, which is the fourth anniversary of my consecration to Mary.  This 33-day renewal period has been a real challenge for personal reasons at home – I’ve been scattered, distracted, and living with much emotional upheaval, but plodded through with Mary’s encouragement and, I suspect, much help from the Holy Spirit.  I am eternally grateful.

From:  “In the End My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph”, page 79:

“To the souls who are consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary…. She [Mary] will bring all hearts into union and lead them into the embrace of Jesus.  Each one of us will become the sign of unity to all the world.”

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

As I posted yesterday at Contemplative Haven, this year the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary seem to have an extra special significance for our times and for the darkness in the world these days.  For one thing, they are not falling in June as they usually do, and for another, they are coinciding this year with the First Friday and First Saturday of the month. I hope you will have time to read the post at Contemplative Haven as a backdrop to my post here today, because reparation is as central to the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as I mentioned that it is to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is entirely and divinely appropriate and ordained, isn’t it, since the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are the Two Hearts United, after all.

Mary revealed her Immaculate Heart to the children at Fatima, and it was through the Fatima apparitions that reparation came to the fore, with the institution of the First Five Saturdays.

As Father Joseph Homick wrote in his  most recent book, A Place Prepared by God [see book image in the right-hand sidebar]“Reparation to the Heart of Mary is required simply because Jesus loves her so much and will not tolerate that she be reviled by evil or ignorant people….  Now in the glory of Heaven, Jesus wants the world to know that He loves his Mother as well, and therefore that reparation must be offered by his faithful people for those who wound her heart with their sins and their callous disregard for her whom God has loved so much and exalted so highly.”  [page 210]

Of course, our Mother’s Immaculate Heart is far more than a reminder to us of the need for reparation.  As Father Joseph so beautifully put it:  “The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the place prepared by God as a refuge for his children as they make their difficult way to Heaven along the narrow and hard but life-giving path to the Kingdom.  What a marvelous place of beauty, purity, holiness and joy, and what a source of wisdom, courage, and peace!  The Lord is so good to us to share with us this treasure of his.  He knows how much we need her, even if we have not come to the fullness of that awareness ourselves.  We will find her waiting for us when we do.”  [pages 209-210]