Saturday, December 5, 2009

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Jean Bellegambe
Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary
Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse
December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. "This day does not refer to Mary's conceiving Jesus by the Holy Ghost, but to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, by Mary's father, St. Joachim. What makes her conception immaculate is not that she was conceived by the Holy Ghost of a virgin, as was Christ Our Lord, but that from the very moment of her conception, she was filled with grace by God, Who knew, in His omniscience, that she would say "yes" to the Angel Gabriel and become the Mother of the Savior. Exactly nine months from now, on September 8, we will celebrate Mary's birthday... ...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)." from Fish Eaters. Here are some ideas for celebrating this solemnity:
Prayer
- Attend mass as this a Holy Day of Obligation - Complete the Immaculate Conception Novena and pull away the fabric on your candle from above to reveal baby Jesus and then cover it back until Christmas - Pray the Magnificat and the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary
Food
- Have an all white meal symbolizing Mary’s purity, possibly of French food, since Mary declared to St. Bernadette that she was the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes, France. For meal ideas, visit Catholic Cuisine's posts for the immaculate Conception - Make gingerbread cake or cookies or decorate a gingerbread house, because the aroma of gingerbread reminds us of the passage in the Book of Sirach, 24:20-21 that describes Mary smelling like spices:
"I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon and aromatical balm; I yielded a sweet odor like the best myrrh; and I perfumed my dwelling as store, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odor is as the purest balm."
Activities
- Take a virtual tour of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - Color Charlotte's coloring page of the Immaculate Conception - Watch the DVD The Princess of Lourdes, since Mary declared to St. Bernadette that she was the Immaculate Conception

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