Feast of the Immaculate Conception | iPray with the Gospel
The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you! … Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed by Bl. Pius IX in 1854. Four years later Our Lady appeared in Lourdes to a fourteen-year-old girl named Bernadette. Our Lady asked for a chapel to be built but Fr. Peyramale, the local parish priest, insisted that the Lady would have to reveal her name before doing anything. On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, during the apparition Bernadette asked the Lady her name and after joining her hands at the breast and looking up to Heaven she said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” St Bernadette didn’t understand those words but when she told Fr. Peyramale, the priest was left dumbfounded: the Lady had indeed answered his request for her name.
At the end of a gifted violinist’s concert, when people in the audience were leaving the theatre they found a lovely little girl approaching them and asking: ‘Did you like it?’ When they answered affirmatively, she replied with satisfied pride in her eyes, grinning from ear to ear: ‘She is my mum!’ And we can feel today just like that child, as millions of Angels and Saints and Holy Souls and people contemplate the Immaculate Conception, the supreme masterpiece of Almighty God, the most beloved, the most admired, revered, cherished, esteemed, impressive, extraordinary, magnificent, sublime creature… Rejoice: She is your Mother!
My Mother, Immaculate Conception, I ask you today for the virtue of holy purity, for me and for everyone: Blessed be your purity, May it be blessed for ever, for no less than God takes delight In such exalted beauty. To you, heavenly Princess, Holy Virgin Mary, I offer on this day my whole heart, life, and soul. Look upon me with compassion; do not leave me, my mother.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).