Dec. 8: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Published December 8, 2015 by Unprodigal Daughter

Tuesday

stbernadette

Today is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. You heard me correctly–Mary’s conception is what we celebrate on December 8th. It is a common mis-conception (pun intended) that we are celebrating Christ’s conception today, but really it is about Mary (if you are interested, watch this clip of a priest interview Catholics on the street about the Immaculate Conception–you will see that you are not alone in your confusion!). 

Why do we have so many feast days about Mary? It seems like we give her a disproportionate amount of attention sometimes, but she receives that attention because the events surrounding her life help us better understand Christ’s nature.

On December 8th, we remember that God protected Mary from original sin from the moment of her conception. That seems unfair, but God wanted a holy vessel for Christ to be born in, so Jesus’ saving power had to stretch to before his human birth! That’s right, Mary was saved by Christ’s death, even though she was sinless.

As we remember how Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God and was free from original sin, let us also remember who she was as a person. She was brave–Mary was a young, unmarried teenage girl accepting the burden of pregnancy in a culture that may be hostile towards her. She was sassy–Mary did not ask for permission from any father, brother, or fiancé before she visited her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country–she just did it. She was strong–even after the birth of Christ she accepted the burden of being a refugee in Egypt–she had to flee to protect her baby. Finally, Mary was a faith-filled prophet and disciple. Mary was the first to accept Christ’s divinity, and she said yes to God immediately (Old Testament prophets were more hesitant over responding to God’s call). 

Opening Prayer

Blessed, most pure Virgin, you chose to manifest yourself shining with life, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes.
To the child, St. Bernadette, you revealed yourself, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
And now, Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Healer of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy.
By your appearance in the Grotto of Lourdes, it became a privileged sanctuary from which you dispense your favors.
Many have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and physical. I come, therefore, with confidence in your maternal intercession.
Obtain for me, O loving Mother, this special request. Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, pray for me.
Obtain from your Divine Son my special request if it be God’s will.
Amen.

(taken from http://www.marypages.com/PrayerstoMary.htm)

Daily Readings

Reading 1: GN 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

______________________________
Responsorial Psalm: PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

________________________
Reading 2: EPH 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

_________________________

Gospel LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

(taken from USCCB.org)

_________________________________

Multimedia

If you are interested in St. Bernadette’s vision of Mary (the one where Mary says “I am the Immaculate Conception”), enjoy this clip by Bishop Robert Barron.

Additional Activities

If you are looking for an ongoing activity, try praying the novena of the Immaculate Conception.

If you are an adult who likes coloring or have a small child, here is a beautifully detailed coloring sheet of the Immaculate Conception.

Here is a make-your-own-Mary-shrine-activity.

Closing Prayer

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, To thee do we send up our sighs, Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: