Novena Before the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8)
Begins on November 29
NOVENA BEFORE THE SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – December 8th Begins on November 29
Day 1 The Immaculate Mother of God and us, in the eternal mind of the Most Holy Trinity Taken from the Spiritual Readings on the Most Blessed Virgin Mary From all eternity, the wisdom and love of God were pleased to decide that the Son of God would, by the power of the Holy Spirit, receive in time a human body from the most pure Virgin, and that this Virgin-Mother would be the Blessed Virgin Mary. For the sake of Mary’s elevaton to the almost-infinite dignity of Mother of the God-Man, God decided to pour upon her the fullness of His grace, of which the first grace was to preserve her from original sin, in other words: the Immaculate Conception. What was decided in eternity was fulfilled in time. Reflection: God, in His designs and fatherly Heart, also cradled me from all eternity. He foresaw me, He chose me, and called me to life, to human and womanly dignity. He showered me with natural and supernatural graces that I would resemble the Immaculate. He saw me, so to speak, in her; and through her, He wants to help me to come close to Him. A moment of reflection. Prayer: O God, by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, you prepared a worthy dwelling place for your Son, and, by the power of the merits of Christ’s foreseen death, you preserved her from all stain. Grant us, through her intercession, to come to you without sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to you.
Day 2 The Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us to avoid sin and to desire holiness. Taken from the Spiritual Readings on the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Be holy for I am holy; thus God spoke to the people. His holiness radiates also in the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, showing how much He detests sin, not permitting Mary to be stained with original sin even for a moment. This holiness of God, together with His everlasting love, caused that the Most Blessed Virgin be preserved even from the smallest sin and from the least infidelity, so that she was all beautiful, all pure, and all holy. Reflection: Many Christians do not even thank God for the grace of baptism that washed from their souls the stain of original sin. Many Christians not only feel no disgust for sin, but love sin, are attached to sin, and even, according to the words of the prophet, drink in iniquity like water and dress sin in a robe of virtue. But as for you, do not follow them; pass dangers by; watch for evil inclinations; pray fervently to the Most Merciful Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Receive the holy sacraments often and worthily; remember judgement and eternity. A moment of reflection. Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, to take away the sins of the world, you received a human body in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and you preserved her from all stain of sin; through her intercession, cleanse us from all sin and keep us in your grace, that we would be always pleasing to you and obtain eternal life, you who live and reign forever and ever. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to you.
Day 3 The Immaculate Conception teaches us to value greatly the grace of God, and to cooperate with it. Taken from the Meditations on the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Above all other creatures, God loved the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and wanted to elevate her to supreme heights. What did He give her? How did He honor Mary? Yes, He created her in the Holy Spirit, meaning that He kept her free from original sin, from even the smallest venial sin; meaning that from the first moment of her conception, He gave her sanctifying grace, and richly endowed her with all other graces, yes, so that she was full of grace. The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, always obedient to the will of God, always and everywhere followed each inspiration and cooperated with every grace, and this cooperation was fully willing, sacrificial, whole and persevering; because of this, every act, even the smallest, was perfect and pleasing to God. Reflection: Admire here the wisdom of God and praise the Most Blessed Virgin Mary as full of grace, and do not judge that God was ungenerous toward other people. Rejoice in the exaltation of the Mother of God and your Mother; and thank God for the privileges given to her, as well as for the sanctifying grace given to you at Baptism. A moment of reflection. Prayer: O God, by the Holy Spirit, you filled the Virgin Mary with your most pure love. Through her intercession, pour into our hearts a love so sincere and strong that no creature can separate us from you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Day 4 The Immaculate: Model and Mistress of our striving towards perfection. Taken from The Spiritual Life If God had given us the command to be perfect as He Himself is perfect, we could complain, Lord, how can I imitate you in perfection, since I do not see you and so do not know your life? God foresaw this complaint and He sent His Son to earth. But even now, we may complain: Am I able to imitate Him, when He is omnipotent and holy and I am wretched and sinful? So God gave us an example in which Christ’s virtues are faithfully reflected. It is She, the most Blessed Virgin Mary. Look in spirit on this most pure Virgin, filled with the wisdom of God. She is most beautiful, most gently, full of grace, full of holiness, shining with all virtues, and is blessed with all gifts and is most amiable to God. Above all, she is the ideal woman and the model and mistress of virgins. Reflection: Strive to imitate this great example of perfection, and ask the Most Blessed Virgin for this grace. Meditate and look intently into her life, which is the mirror for all; ponder her virgins, which are like a ladder leading to heaven. She is the Mistress of Souls. Unlike her direction, and from her book, the rosary, you will learn perfection easily. She ardently desires that all of her students love God perfectly. A moment of reflection. Prayer: O God, by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, you prepared a worthy dwelling place for your Son, and, by the power of the merits of Christ’s foreseen death, you preserved her from all stain. Grant us, through her intercession, to come to you without sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to you.
Day 5 The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Exemplar and Mistress of Religious Life Taken from the Meditations on Religious Life for Women Religious and the Constitutions of the Congregation: The Most Blessed Virgin Mary consecrated herself to God with unspeakable love, and by this love, renounced all that which might hinder perfect union with God – her own glory, comfort and personal gain. Her life was one of continuous renunciation: she was modest in daily life, and this life was characterized on one hand with the spirit of simplicity, poverty and industriousness, and on the other with peace, orderliness and piety. Mary is the model of all virtues, particularly that of the observance of the evangelical counsels that is the essence of religious life. The Sisters are to unite their total dedication to God with great honor and love towards the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the first and most perfect Servant of the Lord – our Mother, Mistress and Queen. Reflection: O Heavenly Mistress, how little I have applied myself in your school, and this is only through my own fault – O what an imperfect religious I am! You are also my merciful, sweet Mother; so remove from me the shoddy garment of the old man, and adorn me in the beautiful robe of your virtues. Yet, since the outward garment is not enough to please your Divine Son, you therefore, with His grace, transform my inner self; make of it what St. Gertrude so fervently asked: Take my heart and give me the Heart of Jesus. Blessed is he who listens to you, Mother, and follows in your footsteps. A moment of reflection. Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, to take away the sins of the world, you received a human body in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and you preserved her from all stain of sin; through her intercession, cleanse us from all sin and keep us in your grace, that we would be always pleasing to you and obtain eternal life, you who live and reign forever and ever. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to you.
Day 6 Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Guide for the life of the Sister of the Sacred Heart Taken form the Constitutions of the Congregation, 1925: The Heavenly Protector of the Congregation is the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. The Sisters’ devotion to her most be most ardent, since she is their most loving Mother, their most glorious Queen, their most perfect Mistress, who is able and who wants to implore for them the most abundant graces, particularly a rapid progress in religious perfection. As a proof of their devotion, love and submission to Mary, the Sisters offer in the morning all their actions to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary; thus, this devotion and love will reign not only in their hearts, but will grow and increase throughout the whole world. Reflection: O Most Pure Queen of Virgins, grant, through your intercession that youth in our country and everywhere will be modest; married people will be chaste; and families will be holy. May priests and religious be like true angels on earth; may virgins consecrated to God grow to a greater army and be faithful spouses of your Son, so that all mankind will be pure and worthy of eternal glory. A moment of reflection. Prayer: O God, by the Holy Spirit, you filled the Virgin Mary with your most pure love. Through her intercession, pour into our hearts a love so sincere and strong that no creature can separate us from you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Day 7 Immaculate Mary, our Advocate and Mother Taken from the Statutes of the Congregation The Immaculate Virgin is the spiritual Mother of the Congregation and our intercessor with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Hence, abiding by the directives of our Father Founder, we ought to love her as our Mother, honor her as our Queen, serve her, invoke her intercession and follow her as our Mistress. With childlike love, we turn to the Mother of God who shows us the depths of the mystery of the Divine Heart. In union with her, we contemplate the history of our salvation in the mysteries of the Rosary. Through her hands we offer ourselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for his exclusive possession. We willingly participate in devotions celebrated in her honor. Reflection: What will I give you, Mary, for giving me Jesus, for the pains that you bore for me; for the graces you obtained for me; for the care with which you constantly surround me? A moment of reflection. Prayer: O God, by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, you prepared a worthy dwelling place for your Son, and, by the power of the merits of Christ’s foreseen death, you preserved her from all stain. Grant us, through her intercession, to come to you without sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to you.
Day 8 The Immaculate Mother of Fair Love, Examplar of our love for God and neighbor Taken from the Meditations on Religious Life for Women Religious: The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived immaculately, had a righteous spirit, not infected with a wrongful self-love. Seeing in each person, even the most sinful, the image and child of God, she love him for God alone, as God Himself ordered. Who can express how she showed this love in thought, word and action; how greatly she suffered over the misery and blindness of people; how ardently she desired the enlightenment and redemption of their souls. After the Annunciation, this flame [of love] increased, because the ardor of love came directly to her heart from the Heart of God and so inflamed it, that, forgetting herself, she thought only of how to do good for people, especially how to give them Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Reflection: Do I faintly resemble the Mother of Fair Love? A moment of reflection. Prayer: O God, by the Holy Spirit, you filled the Virgin Mary with your most pure love. Through her intercession, pour into our hearts a love so sincere and strong that no creature can separate us from you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Day 9 Our gratitude to the Immaculate Mother for graces that come through her intercession. Taken from the Spiritual Readings on the Most Blessed Virgin Mary O Mother of Mercy, who can count how many souls owe gratitude to you for their conversion! Who can put into words how many times you obtained the grace of sorrow or victory for me over temptations! In heaven, I will know clearly and then I will drench your feet with tears of gratitude and will sing with you the eternal Te Deum to the glory of the Blessed Trinity. Surrender to this most gracious, most merciful and most amiable Mother; surrender with childlike trust, for although she is the Mother of all, still she cares especially for those who love her most ardently. A moment of reflection.
Act of Offering to the Mother of God Mother of God, Immaculate Mary, I consecrate to you my body and soul, all my prayers and works, joys and sufferings, all that I am, and all that I possess. With an eager heart, I abandon myself to you with docile love. I surrender all my liberty to you. Make use of me for the salvation of souls and for the help of the Church whose Mother you are. From now on, I want to do everything with you, through you, and for you. I know that I can do nothing by my strength alone; however you can do everything that is the will of your Son, and you are always victorious. Help of Christians, obtain the grace that my family, parish, religious Congregation and our entire nation will be your true Kingdom and the true Kingdom of your Son. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to you.
December 8 The Immaculata prepares us to take and to renew our religious vows Taken from the Homilies of our Blessed Father Founder to the Sisters:
Servants of the Lord and at the same time daughters of Mary, intone now the hymn of gratitude, repeating after your Heavenly Mother, My soul magnifies the Lord, for he has looked on the lowliness of His servant and has done great things for me. Yes, thank the Lord for that immeasurable grace of calling you to His service. Deeply humble yourself, for you are unworthy of that grace. Today, renew your vows, and add the promise that from now on this service will be more faithful. O Lord, to you I give myself anew; may each Sister say in spirit: I want to be yours, without taking back, yours for the rest of my life and for eternity. I turn to you, Guardian of Religious Souls and Mother Most Amaiable. Wrap me in your mantle against the storms of temptations and lukewarmness, and take me by the hand, leading me up the steep paths to the heights of perfection, that imitating your Saints and loving the Heavenly Spouse throughout my entire life, I will greet Him with a hymn of joy and sing this hymn in the temples of glory. Follow the Formula for the Devotional Renewal of Vows. For the greater glory of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, also for my more faithful following of Christ, I renew my vows to live in chastity, poverty and obedience, according to the Constitutions of the Congregation of the Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. By this, I desire to commit myself more fully to the service of God and the Church in this our religious family, so that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our Father Saint Francis and our Father St. Joseph Sebastian, I may attain perfect charity and participate in the saving mission of Christ.
For your personal devotion:
Mary Immaculate, Star of the Morning, Chosen before the creation began, Chosen to bring, for your bridal adorning, Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.
Here, in an orbit of shadow and sadness Veiling your splendor, your course you have run; Now you are throned in all glory and gladness, Crowned by the hand of your Saviour and Son.
Hear in your Mercy, the voice of our crying; Bend to this earth where your footsteps have trod; Stretch out your arms to the living and dying, Mary Immaculate, Mother of God.
You are fair, O Mary: the original stain is not in you. You are the glory of Jerusalem. You are the joy of Israel. You are the great honor of our people. You are the advocate of sinners. O Mary, O Mary, Virgin most prudent, Mother most merciful, pray for us. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Official Act of Consecration to Mary Written by St. Maximilian Kolbe
O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter, you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin. R. Give me strength against your enemies.
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