Feast of the Immaculate Conception
8 December 2019
“O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Refuge of Sinners, and our Most Holy Mother”. So prays St Maximilian Kolbe, one of her greatest devotees. O Immaculata! “Our tainted nature’s solitary boast”, to quote a great English poet. O God’s masterpiece, conceived before time in His eternity, conceived in time in the womb of St Anne. O Immaculata, the only member of our race to not have known sin. How can we approach without trembling this awesome mystery of thine immaculate purity? How can we even begin to understand the immense tranquillity of thy virginal soul, never troubled by even the faintest blemish? How can tarnish lips dare to sing thy praises?
How canst Thou understand us, who ever battle with the infernal serpent whom Thou hast crushed under Thy feet? Can we really have Thee for our Mother? Can an Immaculate Mother have children so infected with vice and sin? What sentiments does the sight of our wretchedness inspire within the delicate recesses of that Heart which was shaped by God Himself, and made worthy to conceive and give birth to His own Son?
And yet, we know that that same Son gave Thee to us to be our Mother. And His word is our hope. How grateful we are to Thee for being our Mother in the order of grace. We know that nothing that concerns us is foreign to Thee. We are certain that Thou dost look down upon each of us with a loving maternal gaze, that Thou dost feel the deepest compassion for our woes, for Thou art the refuge of sinners, Thy heart is open to receive us at every moment, whatever may be the degree or the depth of our unworthiness. Indeed, as a mother is more attentive to the child who is most in need, so the greatest sinner here today is the one upon whom her immaculate gaze rests with the most intense merciful maternal love. And Thy gaze purifies. It brings to repentance, it reconciles with God, it leads to a new life, it strengthens against the assaults of the enemy and the onrush of the passions. What else could explain the very existence of this monastery, composed of sinners upon whom Mary has cast her most pure eyes, and whom she has chosen to serve her Divine Son in the shelter of a blessed cloister?
O Immaculata, Thou who art Queen of Heaven and Earth, look down upon us. Look down upon the Church of Thy Son, today scattered, confused, wounded, bewildered, afraid. May Thy virginal foot once again crush the head of that ancient serpent who still today leads souls astray from the safe harbour of truth to the mirky and deadly waters of error and vice.
O Immaculata, to Thee God has entrusted the entire order of mercy. We come and cast ourselves at Thy Feet and beg Thee to make use of all our powers of soul and body, of our whole life and death to accomplish that prophecy of old: “She will crush thy head”. Let this community be a fit instrument in Thine immaculate hands for introducing and increasing Thy glory in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of Jesus Christ our Lord. Look down with compassion upon all those who are dear to our community, those who are closest to it, who have sacrificed much to help it be established. Bless all our friends, helpers and benefactors, – past, present and to come – and give them much peace, joy, and eternal salvation.
O Immaculata, bless all the shepherds of the flock of Thy Son, our Holy Father the Pope, all bishops and priests. Touch their minds and hearts with real compassion for the woes of Holy Church. Give them to teach our holy faith with the clarity and conviction souls need to hear. Keep pure those who are faithful. Raise up those who have fallen or compromised with error and evil. Grant them to preach fearlessly the timeless truths which alone can bring peace and lasting prosperity to our world. O Immaculata, look down with love upon all those honoured with the name of Christians, that they may live worthily and be an example for all those who are still in the darkness of sin and error, in schism, heresy or false religions. Dear Mother, look down with favour upon all Thy children, and lead them all to the only Ark of Salvation, the Holy Catholic Church, and from there to the lasting peace of our eternal home where Thou dost now behold with ineffable transports of joy the Divine Essence, the beatific vision of God Himself, Father Son and Holy Spirit, to whom be honour and glory now and forever. Amen.