Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

The following homily was preached by Father Raymond Van De Moortell at Mass this morning.

On December 8, 1854, Blessed Pius IX in his papal bull, Ineffabilis Deus, proclaimed the dogmatic truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. “ From the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, Blessed Mary, ever Virgin was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

The entire expanse of creation, all those in heaven and earth sing this day: Tota pulchra es, O Maria, et macula non est in te. "You are all that is fair, all that is lovely, and beautiful, O Mary. There is no stain of sin in you."

Applying to the Most Holy Virgin the words of the eternal Wisdom: Iam concepta eram. “I was already conceived”-- from all eternity, the Holy Virgin was in the mind of God. As the Book of Proverbs recounts: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything. From of old, before the earth was made, the depths were not as yet, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out.” I knew you.

She who bore the Redeemer of the world, should it not be the fact that she is the all sinless one, the most perfect act of adoration and praise, the all immaculate dwelling of the Most High? At the moment of her birth she was filled with the Holy Spirit, and yet again even more so - if even such is possible - at the moment when the Angel Gabriel came to announce that she would be the Mother of the Savior. Behold what the Angel says to her: 
“Mary you are full of grace, overflowing with grace, and the Holy Spirit shall descend upon you and overshadow you. The Child to be born will be called the Holy One, the Son of God.”

The Holy One, the Son of God – is this not He whom we also receive in Holy Communion? Yet with such a profound difference! She the sinless one - we the sinners. Knowing who and what we are, we say each day, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death

What lesson can we draw from Blessed Mary ever Virgin and her Immaculate Conception? We must strive with all our might to avoid sin, to flee from the tarnish and stain of sin – sin which separates us from God. What lesson can we learn? She tells us: She tells us in all the mysteries she shares with Christ her son: at Nazareth: “Let it be done to me according to your word.” With Elizabeth: “My whole being proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” At Bethlehem: pondering the word of God, keeping it in mind, constantly turning it over and over again and again in her heart. In the temple as she receives the prophecy of Simeon: “Your soul also a sword shall pierce that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” At Cana in Galilee: “Do whatever He tells you!” On Calvary, at the foot of the Cross: “Behold your Mother!”

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, 
Immaculate Mary, conceived without sin, 
pray for us sinners who have recourse to Thee. 
Pray for us 
that we made be made worthy 
of the promises of Christ.