Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Happy Feast Day Cathedral

The Immaculate Conception

Most of what we know about Mary's parents, SS. Anne and Joachim, is derived from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of St. James and the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary. St. Anne is the patron of childless people, pregnant women, and grandmothers (her Feast Day is 26 July); St. Joachim is the patron of grandfathers. (In the painting above, St. Anne sits in the chair, and her husband stands at her right. Cleophas is seen in the right-hand corner reading, and Jesus, Mary and Joseph are in front).

As said, at the very moment of Mary's conception in St. Anne's womb, God filled Mary with grace and preserved her from the stain of sin so she might be a pure vessel by whom Christ could enter the world; "Immaculate Conception," then is a title for Mary -- a title reflecting her being and which reveals that the New Adam saved the New Eve from the stain of original sin in an act foretold in the first Book of Scripture:

Genesis 3:15
I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

Adam and Eve, Mary and Jesus -- the only four persons with human natures who were, in their first moments, without sin (and, of course, Mary and Jesus remained sinless).

Mary is the All Holy, and it had to be this way: Christ took from her His very Flesh and Blood -- the Flesh that was scourged for us, the Blood that was spilt for us, the Bread of Life that saves us!

Symbols for the day are any of the usual Marian symbols (the color blue, her crown of 12 stars representing the 12 Tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles), but especially those which emphasize her purity, such as lilies and her Immaculate Heart.

There are no special practices today that I know of, but, as with all Marian Feasts, it is a good day to pray the Magnificat, the Litany of Loreto, the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, the Akathistos Hymn to the Theotokos, the Ave Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Ocean), the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, etc. (You can download the Litany of Loreto in Microsoft Word .doc format, in English or in Latin.)

....taken from

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