†Today, we honor St. Pio of Pietrelcina, who still speaks to us, if we listen, about devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God.
The following is his beautiful meditation on the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
“From all eternity, Almighty God took delight in what was to be the most perfect work of His hands, and anticipated this wonderful plan with an outpouring of His grace. Man, created innoent, fell by disobeying Him; the mark of original sin remained engraved on his forehead and that of his progeny who will bear its consequences until the end of time.
A woman brought ruin, and a woman was to bring salvation. The one, being tempted by a serpent, stamped the mark of sin on the human race; the other was to rise, through grace, pure and immaculate. She would crush the head of the serpent who was helpless before her and who struggled in vain under her heel; for she was conceived without sin and through her came grace to mankind.
Protected by grace by Him Who was to be the Savior of mankind that had fallen into sin, she escaped all shadow of evil. She sprang from the mind of God as a pure ray of light, and will shine like a morning star over the human race that turns to her. She will be the sure guide who will direct our steps toward the Divine Sun which is Jesus Christ. He makes her radiant with divine splendor and points to her as our model of purity and sanctity. No creature surpasses her, but all creation defers to her through the grace of Him Who made her Immaculate. He Whom she was to carry in her womb was the Son of God participating with the Father and the Holy Ghost in the glory of her conception.
Clothed in light from the moment of her conception, she grew in grace and comeliness. After Almighty God, she is the most perfect of creatures; more pure than the angels; God is indeed well pleased in her, since she most resembles Him and is the only worthy repository of His secrets.
In the natural order she preceded her Divine Child, Our Lord, but in the divine order Jesus, the Divine Sun, arose before her, and she received from Him all grace, all purity, all beauty. All is darkness compared to the pure light that renews all creation through Him Whom she bore in her womb, as the dew on the rose.
The Immaculate Conception is the first step in our salvation. Through this singular and unique gift Mary received a profusion of Divine Grace, and through her cooperation she became worthy of absorbing infinitely more.
The three Divine persons imbue this sublime creature with all her privileges, her favors and her graces, and with all her holiness.
The Eternal Father created her pure and Immaculate and is well pleased in her for she is the worthy dwelling of His only Son. Through the generating of His Son in His bosom from all eternity, He forecasts the generation of His Son as Man in the pure womb of this Mother and He clothed her from her conception in the radiant snowy garment of grace and of most perfect sanctity; she participates in His perfection.
The Son Who chose her for His Mother poured His wisdom into her from that very beginning, by infused knowledge she knew her God. She loved and served Him in the most perfect manner as He had never been loved and served on this earth.
The Holy Ghost poured His love into her; she was the only creature worthy or capable of receiving this love in unlimited measure because no other had sufficient purity to come so near to God; and being near to Him could know and love Him ever more. She was the only creature capable of containing the stream of love which poured into her from on high. She alone was worthy to return to Him from Whom came that love. This very love prepared her for that “Fiat” which delivered the world from the tyranny of the infernal enemy and overshadowed her, the purest of doves, making her pregnant with the Son of God.
St. Pio’s Prayer to the Immaculata
My most pure Mother, my soul so poor, all stained with wretchedness and sin cries out to thy maternal heart. In thy goodness deign, I beseech thee, to pour out on me at least a little of the grace that flowed into thee with such infinite profusion from the Heart of God. Strengthened and supported by this grace, may I succeed in better loving and serving Almighty God Who filled thy heart completely, and Who created the temple of thy body from the moment of thine Immaculate Conception.
Oh, my Mother, how ashamed I feel in thy presence, weighed down as I am with faults! Thou art most pure and immaculate from the moment of thy conception, indeed, from the moment in eternity when thou wert conceived in the mind of God.
Have pity on me! May one compassionate look of thine eyes revive me, purify me and lift me up to God; raising me from the filth of this world so that I may go to Him Who created me, Who regenerated me in Holy Baptism, giving me back my white robe of innocence that original sin had so defiled. Dear Mother, make me love Him! Pour into my heart that love which burns in thine for Him. Even though I be clothed in misery, I revere the mystery of thine Immaculate Conception, and I ardently wish that through it, thou may purify my heart so that I may love thy God and my God. Cleanse my mind that it may reach up to Him and contemplate Him and adore Him in spirit and in truth. Purify my body that I too may be a tabernacle for Him and be less unworthy of possessing Him when He deigns to come to me in Holy Communion. Amen.
† St. Padre Pio, pray for our priests, pray for the Church!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!
† St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, protect our families!
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!