Sunday, December 8, 2013

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways,

 before He made any thing from the beginning.

 I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made.

The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived.

Neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out:

 The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: 

before the hills I was brought forth:

 He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world.

 When He prepared the heavens, I was present: 

when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths:

When he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters:

When He compassed the sea with its bounds, 

and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: 

when He balanced the foundations of the earth;

 I was with him forming all things: 

and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times;

 Playing in the world: 

and my delights were to be with the children of men.

Now therefore, ye children, hear me: 

Blessed are they that keep my ways.

 Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not.

Blessed is the man that heareth me,

 and that watcheth daily at my gates, 

and waiteth at the posts of my doors.

He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord:

(Prov. 8, 22-35)

Sons, Kevin, Dominic, and Br. Philip, singing with their friends in the Mater Dei Men's Choir 

Given to the world on the fiftieth anniversary of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Piux IX:

AD DIEM ILLUM LAETISSIMUM (On the Immaculate Conception)
Pope Pius X
Encyclical promulgated on 2 February 1904

An exerpt:

5.  ...Can anyone fail to see that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary for uniting all mankind in Christ and obtaining through Him the perfect adoption of sons, that we may be holy and immaculate in the sight of God? For if to Mary it was truly said: "Blessed art thou who hast believed because in thee shall be fulfilled the things that have been told thee by the Lord" (Luke i., 45); or in other words, that she would conceive and bring forth the Son of God and if she did receive in her breast Him who is by nature Truth itself in order that "He, generated in a new order and with a new nativity, though invisible in Himself, might become visible in our flesh" (St. Leo the Great, Ser. 2, De Nativ. Dom.): the Son of God made man, being the "author and consummator of our faith"; it surely follows that His Mother most holy should be recognized as participating in the divine mysteries and as being in a manner the guardian of them, and that upon her as upon a foundation, the noblest after Christ, rises the edifice of the faith of all centuries.

6. How think otherwise? Could not God have given us, in another way than through the Virgin the Redeemer of the human race and the Founder of the Faith? But, since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Ghost and bore Him in her breast, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary. Hence whenever the Scriptures speak prophetically of the grace which was to appear among us, the Redeemer of mankind is almost invariably presented to us as united with His mother. The Lamb that is to rule the world will be sent—but He will be sent from the rock of the desert; the flower will blossom, but it will blossom from the root of Jesse. Adam, the father of mankind, looked to Mary crushing the serpent's head, and he dried the tears that the malediction had brought into his eyes. Noe thought of her when shut up in the ark of safety, and Abraham when prevented from the slaying of his son; Jacob at the sight of the ladder on which angels ascended and descended; Moses amazed at the sight of the bush which burned but was not consumed; David escorting the arc of God with dancing and psalmody; Elias as he looked at the little cloud that rose out of the sea. In fine, after Christ, we find in Mary the end of the law and the fulfillment of the figures and oracles.

7. And that through the Virgin, and through her more than through any other means, we have offered us a way of reaching the knowledge of Jesus Christ, cannot be doubted when it is remembered that with her alone of all others Jesus was for thirty years united, as a son is usually united with a mother, in the closest ties of intimacy and domestic life. Who could better than His Mother have an open knowledge of the admirable mysteries of the birth and childhood of Christ, and above all of the mystery of the Incarnation, which is the beginning and the foundation of faith? Mary not only preserved and meditated on the events of Bethlehem and the facts which took place in Jerusalem in the Temple of the Lord, but sharing as she did the thoughts and the secret wishes of Christ she may be said to have lived the very life of her Son. Hence nobody ever knew Christ so profoundly as she did, and nobody can ever be more competent as a guide and teacher of the knowledge of Christ.

* Find the whole encyclical here.

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