This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.
8th December, The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady
Having decided from all eternity to make Mary Mother of the Incarnate Word (Epistle), God willed that she should crush the head of the serpent from the moment of her conception. He covered her "with a mantle of holiness" (Introit) and, "preserving her soul from all stain, He made her a worthy dwelling place for His Son" (Collect). The feast of the "Conception" of the Virgin was, from the eighth century, celebrated in the East on 9th December, from the ninth century in Ireland on 3rd May, and in the eleventh century in England on 8th December. The Benedictines with St Anselm, and the Franciscans with Duns Scotus (1308) favoured the feast of the "Immaculate Conception", which in 1128 was kept in the Anglo-Saxon monasteries. In the fifteenth century Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan, erected at the Vatican the Sistine Chapel in honour of the Conception of the Virgin. And on 8th December 1854, Pius IX officially proclaimed this great dogma, making himself the mouthpiece of all the Christian tradition summed up in the words of the angel: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women" (Gospel). "Thou art all beautiful O Mary, and the original stain is not in thee" says in truth the alleluia verse. Like the dawn which announces the day, Mary precedes the Sun of Justice which will soon illumine the world of souls. Bringing to us her Son, it is she who first appears in the liturgical cycle. Let us ask God "to heal us and to deliver us from all our sins" (Secret, Postcommunion) in order that by the graces which specially belong to the feast of the "Immaculate" we may become more worthy of receiving Jesus in our hearts when He comes into them on 25th December.
Devotion to the Mother of God holds an important place in the liturgy of Advent. The period going from Advent to Candlemas constitutes a real liturgical season or Month of Mary.
Gaudens gaudébo in Dómino, et exsultábit ánima mea in Deo meo: quia induit me vestiméntis salútis; et induménto justitiae circúmdedit me, quasi sponsam ornátam monílibus suis. *Exaltábo te, Dómine, quoniam suscepísti me: nec delectásti inimícos meos super me.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. *I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.
(Isaias 61:10 and Psalm 29:2 from the Introit of Mass)
Deus, qui per immaculátam Vírginis Conceptiónem dignum Fílio tuo habitáculum præparásti; quaesumus, ut qui, ex morte ejúsdem Fílii tui praevísa, eam ab omni labe præservásti, nos quoque mundos ejus intercessióne ad te pervenire concédas.
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as by the foreseen death of the same Thy Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain, so Thou wouldst grant to us also, through her intercession, to come unto Thee with clean hearts.