samedi, décembre 08, 2007

Sermon for the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the opening of the new Jubilee Year promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of The Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, in 1858. A Jubilee Year is a beautiful gift from the Church which allows the faithful to receive an abundance of graces. It is for us, now, an invitation to penetrate deeper into the great mystery of the Immaculate Conception.
I am the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady presented herself as such to a young French shepherdess who did not even understand the meaning of these words. She reported them to her pastor, Father Peyramale, who was until then skeptical about the dependability of apparitions of Our Lady. But now, Bernadette Soubirous told him the name of the Lady who appeared to her, a name that she did not understand.
Four years earlier, Pope Blessed Pius IX had promulgated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary has been preserved from any sin, especially original sin, by a special privilege given by God. She was conceived without any sin. Bernadette was the chosen one of Mary who confirmed the Pontifical dogma. Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
It is a title of glory for our blessed Mother, which also brings more light about the reality of our condition, especially now in a time of naturalism. This dogma reminds us of an important fact already taught by the Scriptures, but yet forgotten by many. Original sin is a real fact that affects each human being, except Mary who has been preserved from it. It reminds us of the motive of the Incarnation, which is the remedy to sin. By assuming our nature, Christ wanted to restore it. By becoming a man, He began the work of the recapitulation of mankind. As Eve collaborated with Adam in the work of the first sin, Mary, the new Eve was chosen to collaborate with Jesus, the new Adam in the work of restoration. The Immaculate Conception is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the book of Genesis. Mary is the one who would crush the head of the serpent. (Gen.3:15)

The Immaculate Conception, by Gian-Domenico Tiepolo

By promulgating the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in a time when rationalism attacked the foundation of the faith, Blessed Pius IX raised the voice of the Church to defend and to glumly reaffirm the existence of the supernatural order. God had created men, but they turned away from Him. The Incarnation was the answer of God: rendering good for evil! How much do we need to understand this!
The gift of the Incarnation came through Mary. From all eternity, the Father had prepared a temple which would become the house of the Son for nine months. And when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman. (Gal.4:4)

Today we honor this woman in a very special manner. We give thank to God for the gift of the Immaculate. We rejoice because of the beauty of this creature who is now our mother, the new Eve, who brought back peace, harmony and beauty into the world by giving her Son. If only we could see the world through the prism of Mary!
She really is the pearl of the whole creation. Bernadette was absolutely delighted when she saw her. Then, the things of the earthly world were just secondary and she had no other desires than to see her again.
Tota pulchra es! Thou art all beautiful, o Mary! The beauty of Mary is the remedy against the ugliness of sin. Where sin abounded, grace did more abound. (Rom 5:20) And grace was given in abundance to Mary. Ave Maria gratia plena! We have already a lot of matter for our daily meditation with this sentence. Hail Mary, full of grace!

Yes, Mary is full of grace and we give thanks to God for this, because she wants to share this grace with us, her children. Let us now proclaim with the Church and all generations that she is blessed. Let us pray also so that all the Christians can recognize her as such and can fulfill the words inspired by the Holy Ghost to her: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Luke:1:48)

Tota pulchra es Maria et macula originalis non est in te!

Aucun commentaire: