Posted by: fvbcdm | December 8, 2011

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8 Dec 2011)

This morning, as we gathered in our house chapel to celebrate Mass on this beautiful solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, we were very much aware that Our Lady under that title is the patroness of our country.  One of our Vietnamese brothers spoke of the new chapel of Our Lady of Lavang which has just recently been installed in the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.  Another reminisced over a beautiful retreat that he once made at this time of year at the Trappist monastery in South Carolina and some of the insights that he gained about the conception of Our Lady in preparation for the conception of her Divine Son.  And I had nothing quite so striking to add to our meditations, but I did remember and share with my brothers a memory that comes back from my childhood.  

At Our Lady of Good Counsel School in New Orleans where I was educated in grade school by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, we sang hymns and parts of the Mass every morning.  In those days, everything at Mass was in Latin, and Sister Matthias would explain to us what the Latin words meant so that we would comprehend what we were singing. I remember to this day a Latin antiphon which says: “Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te”.  I was only seven when I learned those Latin words and their meaning, but somehow they made an impression.  You never know what is going to impress children.  They mean “You are all beautiful, O Mary, and the original stain is not in you.”  Today, Catholics throughout the world are singing those same words or ideas in many languages, and those in our country are celebrating our patronal feast day.  

And I am very aware that the same Virgin Mother of Jesus whom we honor in her Immaculate Conception, we also honor as Our Lady of Fatima: she who bears a Muslim name and is mentioned in the Koran, the holy book of Islam.  So I prayed to her at Mass this morning that she will use her powerful intercession with God to bring peace into our world, especially by the conversion of Islam to an adoration and love of her divine Son, and to a deep veneration of her, who is all beautiful, without any stain, either of original or actual sin.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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