Pray Always

"Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.
For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." -Matthew 7:7-8

“We ought always to pray.” –Luke 18:1

“Pray always” –Romans 12:12

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Novena to the Immaculate Conception - Day 8

Novena for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Nov. 29th-Dec.7th) 

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – December 8th

Day 8 – December 6 – Feast of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra


O Mary, Mother of God and Mother of us, thou who by a singular privilege, in virtue of the foreseen death of our Redeemer, wast redeemed from the first moment of thy conception and preserved immune from every spot of Original Sin, we firmly believe in this thy privilege and we proclaim it aloud, saying: "Thou art all fair, O Mary, and in thee there is no stain"; thou art the Immaculate; thy raiment is white as snow; thy face shines like the sun; in thee we marvel at the brightness of eternal light and the spotless mirror of Divine beauty. Like the Divine Redeemer, thou art wholly and utterly fair, for in Him there can be no stain and thou art His most perfect reflection.

We all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast that recalls this singular privilege of thine, O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, and we unite ourselves to thee in magnifying and thanking Our Lord, Who through thee hath done such wondrous deeds, and hath given us in thee good cause for rejoicing.

We would be ever worthy to love thee and to sing thy glories, O Mary, our Immaculate Mother, but we are by nature sons of wrath, and only by grace can we become thy children and acceptable unto thee. From thee we hope for assistance in obtaining the pardon of our sins, the strength to overcome our wicked passions, and to escape the snares. laid for us by the world and the devil. Wherefore, O Immaculate Mother, Mary, inspire in us an intense hatred of sin, perfect contrition for the sins we have committed, and a lively fear of falling again into sin; make our hearts and our bodies immaculate, lest we be confounded forever; and so, being cleansed of sin, with our passions under control, and the enemies of our salvation overcome, with pure hearts burning with love of thee, may we be able to sing to thee with unfaltering voices: "Thou art all fair, O Mary, and in thee there is no Original Stain; thou art our glory, thou art our joy."

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O Mary; for He that is mighty hath done great things unto thee. (The Roman Missal) Ave Maria…

God, who didst glorify the blessed Bishop Nicholas with innumerable miracles; grant, we beseech thee, that, by his merits and prayers, we may be saved from the fires of hell.  Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.  Amen.

Reading –

Taken from the second half of the conclusion of the Discourse on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

The second reason, and which is stronger than the first, that convinces us that Mary was exempt from original sin, is the celebration of her Immaculate Conception commanded by the universal Church.  And on this subject I see, on the one hand, that the Church celebrates the first moment in which her soul was created and infused into her body: for this was declared by Alexander VII, in the above-named bull, in which he says that the Church gives the same worship to Mary in her Conception, which is given to her by those who hold the pious belief that she was conceived without original sin.  On the other hand, I hold it as certain, that the Church cannot celebrate anything which is not holy, according to the doctrine of the holy Pope St. Leo (Ep. Decret. 4, c. 2), and that of the Sovereign Pontiff St. Eusebius: "In the Apostolic See the Catholic religion was always preserved spotless" ("In Sede Apostolica, extra maculam semper et Catholica servata religio"—Decr. Causa 24, q. 1, c. 1, c. In sede).  All theologians, with St. Augustine (S. 310, 314, Ed. B), St. Bernard (Epist. 174), and St. Thomas, agree on this point; and the latter, to prove that Mary was sanctified before her birth, makes use of this very argument:  "The Church celebrates the nativity of the Blessed Virgin; but a feast is celebrated only for a saint: therefore the Blessed Virgin was sanctified in her mother's womb" ("Ecclesia celebrat Nativitatem Beatae Virginis; non autem celebratur festum in Ecclesia, nisi pro aliquot Sancto: ergo Beata Virgo fuit in utero sanctificara"—P. 3, q. 27, a. 1).  But if it is certain, as the angelic Doctor says, that Mary was sanctified in her mother's womb, because it is only on that supposition that the Church can celebrate her nativity, why are we not to consider it as equally certain that Mary was preserved from original sin from the first moment of her conception, knowing as we do that it is in this sense that the Church herself celebrates the feast?

Finally, in confirmation of this great privilege of Mary, we may be allowed to add the well-known innumerable and prodigious graces that our Lord is daily pleased to dispense throughout the kingdom of Naples, by means of the pictures of her Immaculate Conception*.  (*These effects of the divine mercy have shown forth in a no less wonderful manner in France and elsewhere, especially in 1832 and during the following years, by means of the miraculous medal of which every one has heard.  Since the time when St. Alphonsus wrote this discourse and the dissertations that one may read on the same subject in his other works (Theol. Mor. L. 7, c. 2—Opera dogm. sess. 5), the devotion to "Mary conceived without sin" continued to grow throughout the Catholic world, being sustained and favored more and more by the Holy See, and by the signal marks of her heavenly protection.  Finally, yielding to the multiplied solicitations of the Bishops, of the clergy, of the religious Orders, of the reigning sovereigns, and of the laity, Pope Pius IX, during the Pontifical  Mass celebrated in the Basilica of the Vatican, December 8, 1854, in the presence of the bishops assembled from all parts of the world, solemnly pronounced the decree by which he defined as an article of faith, that the Blessed Virgin Mary had been protected and preserved from every stain of original sin from the first instant of her conception, in accordance with the text the Bull published the following day:  Definimus doctrinam, qua tenet Bealissimam Virginam Mariam in prima instanti suae conceptionis fuisse, signulari omnipotentia Dei gratis et privilegia, intuitu meritorum Christi Jesu, Salvatoris humani generic, ab omni originalis cuple labe preservatam immunem, esse a Deo revelatam, atque indcirco ab omnibus fidelibus firmiter constanterque credendam.  This glorious event was hailed at Rome, as well as by the whole world, with extraordinary demonstrations of joy and gratitude.  What pleasure, what delight must it have given in heaven to our saint, who during his life here below labored with so much zeal to bring about such a declaration, and who protested with an oath, as we see in the prayer that concludes this discourse, that he was ready to shed his blood in so beautiful a cause!—ED.)  I could refer to many which passed, so to say, through the hands of Fathers of our own Congregation; but I will content myself with two which are truly admirable.

Prayers for each day.

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