The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Today, December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Today is a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States which means all Catholics must attend Mass under penalty of mortal sin (the same as Sundays).
In honor of Our Lady’s feast and title, I want to share a meditation by St. Alphonsus Liguori.
Saint Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, commonly known as Saint Alphonsus Liguori, had a deep devotion to Our Lady.
He was a prominent moral theologian of the eighteenth century and is a Doctor of the Church.
St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote The Glories of Mary — which is now one of the most widely used manuals of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1st. It was indeed befitting the three divine persons to preserve Mary from original sin. It was befitting the Father, for Mary was his first born daughter. As Jesus was the first-born of God: “Primogenitus omnis creaturae,” so Mary, being destined to become the mother of Jesus, God always considered her as his adopted first born daughter, and therefore always possessed her by his grace: “Dominus possedit me in initio viarum suarum.” It was, then, befitting the honor of the Son that the Father should preserve the mother from every stain of sin. It was also fitting, because he destined this his daughter to crush the head of the infernal serpent which had seduced man, as we read: Ipsa conteret caput tuum. How could he then permit that she should first be his slave? Moreover, Mary was also destined to be the advocate of sinners; and for this reason also it was meet that God should preserve her from sin, that she might not appear guilty of the very sin of those for whom she was to intercede.
2d. It was befitting the Son that his mother should be immaculate. He chose her himself for his mother and it cannot be believed that a son who has it in his power to choose a queen for his mother, would choose a slave. How then could we believe that the eternal Word would wish his mother once defiled by sin, and once an enemy of God, when it was in his power to have an immaculate mother and one always the friend of God? Moreover, St. Augustine says: The flesh of Christ is the flesh of Mary: “Caro Christi caro est Mariae.” The Son of God would have felt horror at taking flesh from St. Agnes, St. Gertrude, or St. Theresa, because those holy virgins, before baptism, were stained by sin, and the devil would have been able to reproach him for being clothed with a flesh which once had been subject to him. But he felt no horror at becoming man in the womb of Mary: “Non horruisti virginis uterum,” Mary having always been pure and immaculate. Besides, St. Thomas says that Mary was preserved from every actual sin, even venial, for otherwise she would not have been a fitting mother of God; but how much less fit would she have been, if she had been defiled by original sin, which renders the soul odious to God!
3d. It was befitting the Holy Spirit that this his most beloved spouse should be immaculate. The redemption of men who had already fallen into sin being decreed, he wished that this his spouse should be redeemed in the most noble manner, namely, by being preserved from falling into sin. And if God preserved the body of Mary after her death, how much more ought we to believe that lie would preserve her soul from the corruption of guilt? For this reason the divine spouse called her an inclosed garden, a sealed fountain (Cant.) for the enemies never entered the blessed soul of Mary. Therefore he praised her, calling her all fair, always beloved, and spotless. Ah, my most lovely Lady, it is my delight to see thee so dear to thy God through thy purity and beauty. I thank God for having preserved thee from every sin. Ah, my queen, since thou art so loved by the most Holy Trinity, do not disdain to cast thy eyes upon my soul so defiled by sin, that thou mayest obtain for me, from God, pardon and eternal salvation. Look upon me and change me. Thou, by thy sweetness, hast drawn so many hearts to love thee, draw also my heart, that henceforth I may love no other than God and thee. Thou knowest that in thee I have placed all my hopes; my dear mother, do not abandon me. Assist me always by thy intercession, in life and especially in death; make me then to die invoking thee, and loving thee, that I may come to love thee forever in paradise.