On February 11, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI offered the following reflection on the profound interconnectedness of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Eucharist and salvific suffering. Continuing in the tradition of his predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI underscores the totality of Mary’s “fiat,” or “yes,” to the divine will of the Father concerning her unique participation in the redemption of humanity with her Son, beginning at the annunciation and brought to completion at the foot of the cross. It is precisely for this reason that Holy Mother Church ascribes to Mary the exalted title of “Co-Redemptrix,” standing, as it were, at the foot of each sick child’s cross.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. On 11 February, the memorial of the Blessed Mary Virgin of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick will be celebrated, a propitious occasion to reflect on the meaning of pain and the Christian duty to take responsibility for it in whatever situation it arises. This year this significant day is connected to two important events for the life of the Church, as one already understands from the theme chosen ‘The Eucharist, Lourdes and Pastoral Care for the Sick’: the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions of the Immaculate Mary at Lourdes, and the celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress at Quebec in Canada. In this way, a remarkable opportunity to consider the close connection that exists between the Mystery of the Eucharist, the role of Mary in the project of salvation, and the reality of human pain and suffering, is offered to us. (more…)
The following reflection, which reveals the Holy Spirit of God as the “Uncreated Immaculate Conception” and His spouse, Mary, as the “Created Immaculate Conception,” was written by St. Maximilian Kolbe on February 17, 1941 – literally hours prior to his being arrested and detained by the Nazi’s and shipped off to a concentration camp, where he would eventually die as a martyr of charity.
Who Then are You, O Immaculate Conception
by St. Maximilian Kolbe
“IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. These words fell from the lips of the Immaculata herself. Hence, they must tell us in the most precise and essential manner who she really is.
Since human words are incapable of expressing divine realities, it follows that these words: “Immaculate,” and “Conception” must be understood in a much more profound, much more beautiful and sublime meaning than usual: a meaning beyond that which human reason at its most penetrating, commonly gives to them.
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In 1854, Pope Pius IX infallibly declared, in the papal document, Ineffabilis Deus, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate, without any taint of original sin. The official pronouncement reads as follows:
“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, was preserved immune from all stain of sin, by a singular grace and privilege of the Omnipotent God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ,the Savior of the human race, was revealed by God and must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”
Let us pray to the Immaculate Conception that, through our total consecration to her, she clothe us with all of the virtues that make her so pleasing in God’s sight: her faith, hope, charity, purity and humility. O Queen of heaven and earth, prepare us for the coming of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, this Christmas, as we look forward to the Second Glorius Coming of Our Lord, which will coincide with the Triumph of your Immaculate Heart in each soul and in the wold. Amen.