Saturday, December 8, 2012

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Father Jerry Gauvreau C.C.
Annunciation of the Lord Parish,
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Immaculate Conception Dec. 8th

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly a most beautiful Solemnity we celebrate today, especially in the Church’s Year of Faith.

Our Blessed Mother Mary not only shows us how to have Faith in God but also how to step out into expectant Faith all the while believing in ourselves!

In 1830, Our Blessed Mother appeared to a young girl by the name of Catherine Laboure.

In these apparitions, it was Mary who revealed or instructed Catherine to have the Miraculous medal made –  Catherine spoke to her Spiritual Director and it was then proposed to the Archbishop (of Paris) who agreed and allowed the medal to be made.

For a more detailed explanation see the book: 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC pg. 169,170

Back of the medal: letter M with a Cross above it and a crossbar below it - 12 Stars (apostles) circling this and under the letter M there are 2 hearts – Sacred Heart with crown of thorns & Immaculate Heart, pierced by a sword. 

On the front of the medal; Mary as the Immaculate Conception with the date 1830 and circling Mary are words inscribed which say: “Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” (recourse-turning to thee – turning to someone for help)

The Miraculous medal back then was actually known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception but due to so many cures and miracles people started to call it the Miraculous Medal.

At the time of Our Lady appearing to St. Catherine in 1830 the Immaculate Conception of Mary was widely believed throughout the Church but it wasn’t a dogma of our faith.

Around 1847 it was Pope Pius IX who consulted with the Cardinals and the theologians of the church to help him discern whether or not the Immaculate Conception should be defined as a dogma of the Church - the Cardinals agreed and then over 603 bishops of the world were asked for their input – 543 agreed (4 said no and the rest abstained) on Dec.8th 1854.

The definition itself reads as follows: "We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first  instant of her conception by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Just 4 years later in 1858 this dogma of our Faith was confirmed in the Marian Apparitions to St. Bernadette in Lourdes.  After persistent  requests from St. Bernadette as to who she was Mary said to her:  “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Just to re-cap:  The apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to St. Catherine back in 1830 about the Miraculous Medal prepared us for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, and the apparitions at Lourdes to St. Bernadette in 1858 confirmed it.

Turn to Mary today with open hearts for it is when we have open hearts that the Lord will fill them up with Himself

Last night at the CCO Summit – which consisted of a talk, Eucharistic Adoration, praise and worship and confessions, the young lady who spoke challenged all of us to Prepare Him room – "are we doing it?” she asked

Mary said Yes – why can`t we?  What’s holding us back?

A few years ago in one of Our Blessed Mother’s messages (during Lent) from Medugorje, Mary, Our Lady Queen of Peace  said: "our freedom is our weakness." 

This Advent and in the church’s Year of Faith I would like all of us to use our freedom as our strength – choose Jesus!

I encourage everyone today to turn to our Blessed Mother Mary. In fact, each day we need to beg her to obtain the graces we need to totally surrender our hearts to Jesus, to say yes to him just as she did.  Pope Benedict XVI says: Mary is Mother of the Yes.

I think many sons & daughters would learn plenty from their mother-  no question Jesus did.  We need to pay attention or start paying attention to what Our Blessed Mother is telling us. At the Wedding Feast of Cana, Jesus turned water into wine.

Mary instructed the servers to do whatever Jesus told them to do.  This is certainly a good word for us today!

If you’re not sure what this “do whatever he tells you to do”  is for your own life - just ask Mary for help – ask Mary to help you love the Lord Jesus with all your heart as she did.

Fr. Dennis Lemieux from MH in his book, the Air We Breathe encourages us to: sit at the feet of Mary today, to contemplate her and to ask her in silence and prayer to teach us what we need to know about loving God – Amen!
Father Jerry Gauvreau C.C.

After Mass the Knights of Columbus led us in a beautiful Rosary for Life. Click Here to pray this rosary


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