Today’s feast day is traditionally celebrated on December 8, but due the Second Sunday of Advent falling on that date, the liturgical calendar moves the solemnity to today. I offer the following for your reflection today.
First: a beautiful prayer to our Mother Mary, the Immaculate Conception, as found in Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, (60):
Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps,
to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love,
especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross,
when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus,
that he may be light for our path.
And may this light of faith always increase in us,
until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!
Second: A paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 491):
Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. [Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854): DS 2803.]