Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Immaculate Conception

My favorite place to pray in Washington, D.C., where I lived for many years, is the Irish Chapel in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  There’s no fancy sanctuary or big mosaic...there’s not even an altar in this chapel.  Just a statue of the Blessed Virgin with the Christ child playing on her lap in the middle of a gurgling fountain. 

But on the wall, not far away, is a 1200 year old Celtic Prayer that boldly states: There is no hound as fleet of foot, nor young soul so quick to win the race, nor horse to finish the course, as the Mother of God to the death bed of one who needs her intercession.  It’s like the line in the Memorare: Never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. 

Two hundred and twenty years ago, sixteen years before the founding of the See of Boston, the first Catholic Bishop of America in his first Pastoral Letter announced the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate as the first patron of America and recommended “...a fervent and well-regulated devotion to the Holy Mother of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; that you will place great confidence in her in all your necessities.”  Bishop Carroll went on to recommend “a zealous imitation of her virtues and a reliance on her motherly superintendence.”

And so, as sons and daughters of America, we are sons and daughters of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and we are bound to an imitation of her virtues.


To seek littleness, and faithfulness and love.