May 2nd. – Instruction II. THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

May 2nd. – Instruction 2. The Immaculate Conception.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

May 2nd. – Instruction 2. The Immaculate Conception.

Thou art all fair.” – Cant. iv. 7.

OF all the creatures who ever came forth from the creative hand of God, Mary only is regarded as perfect and beautiful. The holy man Job, speaking of the heavens, says they are not pure before the adorable majesty of God.” He adds that even the angels are not stainless in His eyes.” As for men, all have inherited the iniquity of their first father, Adam, and from their birth have been an object of horror in the eyes of God, until the waters of baptism purified their souls from the original fault and gave them a place among the children of grace and adoption. The Blessed Virgin alone has enjoyed the rare privilege of being perfectly pure and beautiful from the first moment of her conception. I do not think it necessary to enumerate the proofs which Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Fathers furnish regarding the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This truth is now a dogma of our faith which we are obliged to believe. It is just as obligatory as all the other articles of our creed, under pain of eternal reprobation. I wish to speak only of the sentiments which this solemnity in spires, and to strengthen you in the confidence you should have in Mary Immaculate.

In her Immaculate Conception Mary has been preserved from sin, filled with treasures of grace, and raised above all other creatures.

1. Mary preserved from sin. – God has such an aversion for sin that He has not permitted this Virgin whom He has chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of His Son to be subject to the slightest stain. All the children of Adam inherit this stain of sin and suffer its lamentable consequences. But the Blessed Virgin, destined to be the Mother of Jesus Christ and called to co-operate with Him in the redemption of the world, will be preserved by a special decree from this hereditary fault. From her conception she is the object of sweetest contemplation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We could almost say that the great Creator has made her all-beautiful just to console Himself for the guilt and universal defection of the human race. It is a thought replete with happiness that God can contemplate in the Blessed Virgin a perfect purity which He could not find among all the other children of men. It is, however, our unquestionable duty to labor earnestly to preserve or re-establish in ourselves the purity we have received in baptism. We can accomplish this by penance. Have we committed grievous, wilful sin? Let us hasten to efface and expiate our sins by the means which Christ Our Saviour has left us by the sacraments, by tears, by fasting, by almsgiving, by the multiplication of good works which we can daily perform. Are we exposed to commit sin? Then we should surround ourselves with precautions. We must promptly avoid the occasions, avoid persons and places and circumstances which are dangerous, have recourse to vigilance and prayer. This is the counsel of the Gospel: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

We must remember that we cannot worthily honor the privilege of Mary conceived without sin if we remain voluntarily under the shameful slavery of sin.

2. Mary possessed all the treasures of grace. – The magnificent words which the angel addressed to Mary when announcing the mystery of the Incarnation, Hail, full of grace,” were literally true on the day of her Immaculate Conception. At the same time that she was preserved from the stain of original sin her soul was filled with all the treasures of grace. These graces were so abundant, according to the doctors of the Church, that she received more benedictions and favors than all the human race could possibly receive. These blessings Mary has manifested by all the eminent virtues she practised during her life. Therefore, she has become the accomplished model of all Christians in every condition of life. When a child she hastens to the temple to consecrate herself to the service of God and to learn His sacred word. In youth she lives in recollection, prayer, and labor. As the spouse of Joseph she is submissive and obedient to him. As Mother of the Saviour of the world she lives and breathes only for Him. During the public life of her Son she manifests the greatest desire to hear His words. And what virtues did she not practise during the passion of our blessed Lord! Patience, resignation, compassion. We cannot celebrate the Immaculate Conception better than by opening our hearts to the graces which God is always disposed to grant us. If the Immaculate Conception has obtained for Mary greatest graces from God, baptism, which is our conception to grace, is the assurance of all the favors which God has prepared for us in the other sacraments. The worthy reception of these sacraments will make us participants in the countless mercies of God. Let us endeavor to receive them with fullest faith and joy and heartfelt gratitude.

3. Mary is exalted by her Immaculate Conception above all other creatures. – Having been preserved from sin and filled with every grace, Mary, by her Immaculate Conception, has been exalted above all other creatures. After God, the Blessed Virgin occupies the first place. In heaven she is queen of angels, archangels, and all the other glorious hierarchies. On earth she is also venerated as the queen of patriarchs and prophets, of martyrs, confessors, and virgins. The Church of Christ, her Son, never ceases to proclaim her praises. After the devotion to our blessed Lord and Saviour, there is no devotion more dear to truly Christian hearts than devotion to the Blessed Virgin. It is true to say that the Immaculate Conception is the principle, the foundation, of the grandeur and excellence of Mary. Oh, let us love to honor our blessed Mother, and with all our hearts and souls extol her Immaculate Conception! Let us place our fullest confidence in her who has been exalted above all other creatures only to exercise with God her great power in our behalf. Let this short invocation frequently fall from our lips:

“O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”

Let us ask of the Immaculate Conception to be saved from sin, from the slightest stain of which she had the happiness to be preserved. Let us ask for a faithful correspondence to grace, the fulness of which she has received, and that by the practice of those virtues which characterized her life on earth we may merit to contemplate her in glory throughout the ages of eternity.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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That Temporal Miseries Are to Be Borne with Patience after the Example of Jesus Christ.

  O Holy Victim! O Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world! Grant that I may suffer with Thee, and die with Thee, by uniting my sufferings to those which re-opened heaven to us after sin had shut it against us. Amen.. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVIII prayer.

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May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty

O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.

A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)

The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.

Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).

Immaculate Mary

Immaculate, Mary!
Our hearts are on fire.
That title so wondrous
Fills all our desire!
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

We pray for God’s glory,
May His Kingdom come.
We pray for His Vicar,
Our Father, and Rome.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

We pray for our Mother,
The Church upon earth.
And bless, sweetest Lady,
The land of our birth.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

O Mary! O Mother!
Reign o’er us once more:
Be all lands thy “dowry”
As in days of yore.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

Immaculate Mary,
your praises we sing;
You reign now in splendor
with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria!
Ave, ave, Maria!

In heaven, the blessed
your glory proclaim;
On earth we, your children,
invoke your sweet name.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria!
Ave, ave, Maria!

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