Today, December 8, we honor the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Savior and by His infinite goodness and mercy, our Mother, too.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception is an affirmation of just how much God hates sin. And so, it is an antidote for the heresy of modernism. Last year, Pope Francis essentially rejected the dogma of the Immaculate Conception when he remarked in a homily (see here) that perhaps Our Lady may have doubted the promise made at the Annunciation that “He shall reign forever” as she witnessed Our Lord’s crucifixion. Francis said that Mary may have thought, “lies, I was deceived”. This means that the Vicar of Christ speculated that Mary may have sinned against the Holy Spirit, by doubting the truth of God. Now, for the pope to sin personally is one thing, but to preach sin in a homily is quite another. The pope’s remark brings to mind what Our Lord Jesus Christ told Sister Lucia about the need for reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On May 29, 1930, during Sister Lucia’s weekly Eucharistic Holy Hour, Our Lord told her that the reason He demanded the First Saturdays of Reparation was because of the five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the first of these was “Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception”. (The True Story of Fatima, from Father Gruner’s Fatima Center.)
When I first read that revelation, it seemed that it referred to protestants who deny Mary’s Immaculate Conception; it never crossed my mind that our Holy Father the Pope would blaspheme against Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Conception. But it helped me to understand why, so long ago, the Angel of Fatima was crying out, “Penance, penance, penance!”. Even though the pope’s blasphemy passed by unobserved by most mainstream commentators, true Catholics need to come to her defense. Pope Francis’s errors must be pointed out and reparation to Our Lady is of the utmost importance. Also, it helps us to defend Our Blessed Mother if we are well-informed and knowledgeable about basic Church doctrines such as the Immaculate Conception.
St. Anselm, a Doctor of the Church, tells us, “It was just that this holy Virgin be adorned with the greatest purity which can be conceived after God Himself, since God the Father was to give to her, as her Child, that only-begotten Son, whom He loved as Himself, as being begotten to Him from His own bosom, and this in such a manner that the selfsame Son of God was by nature the Son of both God the Father and this blessed Virgin. This same Son chose her to be substantially His Mother and the Holy Ghost willed that in her womb He would operate the conception and birth of Him from whom He Himself proceeded.”
In his treatise, The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Liguori remarks, “How can we believe that God, when He was able to give His Son a noble Mother by preserving her from sin, would have consented that He should be born of a mother defiled with sin, thus permitting Lucifer to reproach Him with the opprobrium of being born of a mother who once was his slave and an enemy of God! ” Indeed, of two things we can be absolutely certain, firstly, that God is generous and merciful and secondly, that God hates sin, which destroys His grace in us. Mary could in no way have been “full of grace” as the Angel Gabriel said to her, if she had any sin at all.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was infallibly proclaimed on December 8, 1854 by Blessed Pius IX in his Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus. He is the same Pope who issued the Syllabus of Errors, which is so despised by today’s hierarchy. Here is a brief quote or two from Blessed Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus. The entirety may be found at Papal Encyclicals Online.
“From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for His only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, He would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of His divinity that this Mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.”….
“…By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”
“Hence, if anyone shall dare — which God forbid! — to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.”
“Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears …. She presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.”
The message of Fatima, explains why the Church has from time immemorial proclaimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary will crush the head of satan and counter all heresies. In Our Lady’s Matins, the Nocturne for today, we pray:
“Rejoice, O Virgin Mary for thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies.”
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
There has never been a better time to pray Our Lady’s rosary and confound the devil!
~ posted by evensong ~