Our Advent journey continues in these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to remain watchful and alert as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Lord. This Wednesday we especially honor our Mother Mary as we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and affirm our belief that Mary was blessed among women and was preserved from original sin from the moment of her conception. It is a holy day of obligation.
Pope Francis, reflecting on the feast of the Immaculate Conception stated, “… what Mary had from the beginning, will be ours in the end, after we have passed through the purifying ‘bath’ of God’s grace. What opens the gates of paradise to us is God’s grace, received by us with faithfulness.” He further noted, “The uncontaminated beauty of our Mother is incomparable, but at the same time it attracts us. Let us entrust ourselves to her and say ‘no’ to sin and ‘yes’ to Grace once and for all.”
This prayer titled “The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary” from the Catholic News Agency encourages us to seek the intercession of Mary as we continue on our journey of faith:
Father, you prepared the Virgin Mary
to be the worthy Mother of your Son.
You let her share beforehand in the salvation,
Christ would bring by His death,
and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.
Help us by her prayers to live in your presence without sin.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
forever and ever. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer and try our best to avoid the temptations that can so quickly overwhelm us, please be aware that we will have additional opportunities during this season of Advent to avail ourselves of the great Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament is here to heal us spiritually and get us closer to the Lord who loves us. Please check the Parish bulletin or the Parish website for additional times and dates for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
During this great season of Advent, as we take to heart the profound words of Our Holy Father, I hope that through our devotion to Mary, through our prayers and spiritual reflections, through our acts of charity, and through the healing provided by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we will truly be spiritually prepared as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Christ Child.
Fr. Neil Herlihy