Tag Archives: Mary

Meekness as a remedy

I had a little epiphany while I was teaching today and thought it needed to be shared. I know I’ve been neglecting the blog for quite a while, but perhaps Lent is a good time to pick it up again. My students have been encouraging me to write more, and it’s good for the soul!

Today I was discussing Dante’s Purgatorio with my Medieval Lit. class, specifically the canto in which Dante meets the souls in Purgatory who are being purified of the sin of Wrath (Anger). He uses Mary’s gentle words to Jesus when she finds Him in the temple as a child as an example of Meekness, the opposing virtue that serves as a “remedy” to Wrath. My students were confused about what Meekness was, exactly, and about how something so seemingly passive could qualify as a virtue, so we worked through it together. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “When we were reading the Inferno, we talked about Wrath, and we described it as a sinful or selfish way that we respond to certain situations. When is it that we usually give in to Wrath?”

Students: “When my emotions are out of control.”  When things don’t go the way I want them to.”  (And my favorite answer:) “When my will isn’t done.”

Me: “Right. So, if Wrath is the sinful way to respond to a moment when I don’t get my way, then Meekness is the opposite of that. Something happens that upsets me, and I could get angry, but I choose to respond differently.”

Student: “So, how is that a virtue?”

Me: “Because when I am practicing Meekness I say: my will is being contradicted, but I’m not going to be hurtful because of it. I will still be charitable and think of others instead of being selfish.”

Student: “What about this example of the finding of Jesus in the temple? How is that an example of Meekness?”

Me: “Mary had every reason to be angry with Jesus in that moment, but she chose to speak to Him not with an attitude of anger, but rather one of gentleness and love.”

[Confused expressions—so I tried to elaborate.]

Me: “Mary and Joseph were distraught when they were separated from Jesus. They loved Him more than anyone and anything else in the world, and after searching for days, they thought He might be lost to them forever. They probably thought they had failed to accomplish God’s will, that they had failed in their vocation as parents. Then when they found Jesus in the temple, they may have even been tempted to think that He was inconsiderate, that He had forgotten about them, that they were the furthest thing from His mind during such a painful time for them. Was that true? Had Jesus forgotten them?”

Students: “No, of course not.”

Me: “But if they thought He had, they might have been tempted to be angry with Him—and that’s the point, you guys. Any time we feel tempted to be angry at God, it’s because we’re giving in to a lie: the lie that He’s forgotten us, that we’re the furthest thing from His mind—which is never, ever true.”

Any time we feel tempted to be angry at God, it’s because we’re giving in to a lie: the lie that He’s forgotten us, that we’re the furthest thing from His mind—which is never, ever true.

That thought had truly never occurred to me until it came out of my mouth, and it was just what I needed to hear. I guess my students needed to hear it, too.

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On the Calendar: The Immaculate Heart of Mary

IHM and Child Jesus

“Mary, my dearest Mother, give me your heart so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate, so full of love and humility, that I may receive Jesus as you did and go in haste to give Him to others.”

– Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Today is my “liturgical anniversary,” the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so it seemed like a good a day as any to resume my regular blogging about my vocation as a consecrated virgin – a Bride of Christ! What a year it’s been! The demands of my new teaching job (which I love!) unfortunately made it  impossible to blog regularly during the school year, but I know that I need to be writing, so I have plans to resume (and possibly redesign!) By Love Alone this summer.

I am calling today my “liturgical anniversary” since the actual date of my Consecration was June 16 (not June 8) – however, the Immaculate Heart will always be my special feast, and after today I’ll share it with FOUR – that’s right, four! – friends who were ordained to the priesthood for my diocese this morning. My heart is so full! I honestly don’t have words to express my gratitude for the friendship of these young men and for all the work our good Lord has done in our hearts as we were formed for our vocations. My prayer for those dear friends (and for myself) today is that we might always be generous with our God so that He can bring this work to completion, according to His will and in His time.

Please continue to pray for me! And look for more posts (and perhaps a new look?) sometime soon.

Charity

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Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (by Cardinal John Henry Newman)

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Ora pro nobis!

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,                                             … have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Heart of Mary,                                                                    … pray for us.
Heart of Mary, after God’s own Heart,
Heart of Mary, in union with the Heart of Jesus,
Heart of Mary, vessel of the Holy Spirit,
Heart of Mary, shrine of the Trinity,
Heart of Mary, home of the Word,
Heart of Mary, immaculate in your creation,
Heart of Mary, flooded with grace,
Heart of Mary, blessed of all hearts,
Heart of Mary, throne of glory,
Heart of Mary, abyss of humbleness,
Heart of Mary, victim of love,
Heart of Mary, nailed to the cross,
Heart of Mary, comfort of the sad,
Heart of Mary, refuge of the sinner,
Heart of Mary, hope of the dying,
Heart of Mary, seat of mercy,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Immaculate Mary, meek and humble of heart,
Conform our hearts to the Heart of Jesus.

Let us pray:

O most merciful God, who for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the wretched, has made the Immaculate Heart of Mary most like in tenderness and pity to the Heart of Jesus, grant that we, who now commemorate her most sweet and loving heart, may by her merits and intercession, ever live in the fellowship of the hearts of both Mother and Son, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/prayers/litpray03.html

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Novena to the Immaculate Heart

To all those who prayed for me during my retreat, I offer my deepest gratitude. This past week was fruitful in ways I could never have anticipated! I’ll try and share a bit more about the many graces I received in the coming days, but for now I ask that you would please continue to accompany me with your prayers. I’ll be praying this Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in these last days before my Consecration on her feast. Please pray with me for my intentions (for the grace to live my vocation with humility and zeal, for the sanctification of priests, and for an increase in vocations) and feel free to add your own in the comment box. I will post the Litany on the last day of the novena.


Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

(Friday, June 8 – Saturday, June 16, 2012)

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, ever Virgin! O Heart most pure, most noble, most perfect image of the adorable Heart of Jesus! We humbly entreat you to intercede for us and to obtain for us the favors we petition for in this novena, if it be the holy will of God to grant them, and if not, to ask for us whatever graces we most need.

(Pause for private intentions said in silence.)

We desire by this novena, which we offer in your honor, that you will always be, after the Heart of Jesus, the object of our love and devotion. Through your Immaculate Heart we offer to your divine Son all our thoughts, words and actions of this day and all our days.

We pray for Benedict, our pope, for N., our bishop, for all priests, and for the conversion of all sinners. We beg your powerful intercession for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially for our diocese.

Through your maternal Heart, we ask God’s blessings upon our families, upon all who have been good to us for the Lord’s sake, for all the living and the dead who are dear to us, and for all for whom we have been asked to pray.

Hail Mary…

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Refuge of Sinners, pray for us.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
May Mary’s Immaculate Heart be forever praised!

(On the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, add the Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)

Source: http://sistersihmofwichita.org

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An Easter Hymn: “The Angel Cried”

This traditional Orthodox hymn is tied with the Regina Coeli as my favorite Easter hymn. It references an Orthodox tradition in which the Angel of the Resurrection visits the Blessed Mother before meeting the other disciples at the tomb, thus making her (fittingly) the first person to hear the news of her Son’s resurrection. Beautiful! A blessed Easter season to all!

The angel cried to the Lady full of grace: 
Rejoice, rejoice, O pure Virgin!
Again, I say: rejoice! Your Son is risen
from His three days in the tomb.
With Himself He has raised all the dead.
Rejoice, rejoice, O ye people!
Shine, shine! Shine, O new Jerusalem!
The glory of the Lord has shown on you.
Exult now, exult, and be glad, O Zion!
Be radiant, O pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection,
the Resurrection of your Son!

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Love’s Way of the Cross: Stations IX-XIV

Stations I-IV

Stations V -VIII


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Ninth Station

Jesus Falls the Third Time under the Cross

“And I, once I have been lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  John 12:32

Three times Love falls to the ground under the blows of men, under the weight of the cross burdened with sins. But It does not remain down. It knows It will finally triumph over sin and ingratitude, that It “will draw all men to Itself” ­– but not before It is “lifted up from the earth.” Therefore It uses every effort to rise, until It has mounted Calvary, until It has sacrificed all, until It has shed the last drop of blood.

We like to complain when our love is not returned; we decry the lack of charity in our neighbor, instead of lamenting the lack of it in ourselves. We must love still more, give and sacrifice still more. We must mount still higher, until we have climbed Mount Calvary, until we too have been “lifted up.” Only when all self-love has died in us, when we have made a total surrender to the crucified Savior, only then will our love have that overpowering force which draws all men to itself.

Let us sacrifice all, then, for love!


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Tenth Station

Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

“He emptied Himself.”  Phil. 2:7

“If a man intends to rob you of your coat, let him have your cloak as well,” the Savior once said (Matt. 5:40). Now on Calvary, He gives not merely coat and cloak; in His love He allows Himself to be stripped naked. Love gives without calculating and measuring, gives what it can and does not ask whether anything remains.

How selfish I am, Lord, when I compare my love with Yours! Without mercy, take from me everything to which my heart is still attached, everything that I would not be prepared to sacrifice at any moment for You and for my neighbor. Take away all, until I am, like You, completely “emptied,” utterly poor, stripped naked in holy, selfless love!


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Eleventh Station

Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34

The Savior prays for His enemies while they are nailing Him to the cross. Could I do likewise? At the very moment when I am ridiculed, mocked, tormented, despised, crucified, can I pray for those who cause my suffering – really pray from the heart, just as the Savior prayed for His enemies?

The Savior’s prayer in this hour was not merely a pious wish, but a sacrifice of Himself for His executioners. It was not merely a prayer on the lips; it was self-immolation. Until I am able to pray and offer myself in this same spirit, I have not perfect love.

The Savior prays, “They do not know what they are doing.” Love “take no note of injury” (1 Cor. 13:5), judges no one, “is always ready to hope” (1 Cor. 13:7), never despairs of anyone, though he seem hopeless. How uncharitable is our judgment of others!

Lord, give me true love! 


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Twelfth Station

Jesus Dies on the Cross

“It is now completed.”  John 19:30

The Savior has given all; naked and despoiled He hangs on the cross. And still His love looks for something more to give. Then He sees His mother, and He presents her also to us: “This is your mother” (John 19:27). Now he can cry out, “It is completed”; He has given all.

The triumph of Love can now begin. “Lifted up from the earth,” It can begin to “draw all men to Itself.” The centurion under the cross is the first fruit of this love; after that, the awe-stricken crowd, beating their breasts and repenting their sins; then the holy souls in Limbo; and finally the thousands and millions of souls that are saved by the redeeming “Love unto the end.”

Lord, give us this love, “love to the end,” that the world may be saved!


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Thirteenth Station

The Heart of Jesus Is Opened and He Is Taken Down from the Cross

“Love is not provoked.”  1 Cor. 13:5

Things like ingratitude, misunderstanding, suspicion and unkindness cause most men’s hearts to harden and close. But all these bitter things served only to open the Savior’s heart wider, so wide that the last drop of blood could flow from it as an offering of love.

As long as we experience rancor in our hearts at the injustice of men, we have not yet true love, for “love does not let itself be embittered.” Our heart must be like the Savior’s. Men pierced it, only to find revealed the riches of its love. They surrounded it with thorns, but could not extinguish its fire. They imposed a cross upon it, but the flames of its love blazed up above the cross.

O Jesus, make my heart like Yours, like the heart of Your mother, which was pierced with Yours and which, together with Yours, is a source of grace and love for us! 


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Fourteenth Station

Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb

“Having loved His own… He loved them to the end.”  John 13:1

Bright shines the legend over the Savior’s tomb: “He loved to the end.” “To the end” must our love go, to the end of our strength, to the end of our life. It must be like that of the pious Catherine Emmerich, who in a dream took her heart from her bosom and divided it among many people. “And when I had given away the last little piece,” she relates, “I felt empty, exhausted unto death.” Then Jesus appeared to her upon the cross. “Lord,” she said. “I have nothing left.” Thereupon He gave her His heart, saying, “Take My heart and share it.” And the moment He put His heart into her breast, she awoke and felt strong.

O Jesus, I would like to be like that! And thus should we all be, ready to share our heart and give away the last little piece of it, that we may become emptied of all self-seeking and filled with Your love.

Then above our grave too can be placed the inscription: “He loved to the end.” Our reward for this will be Your “love unto the end” in everlasting bliss. Amen, amen! So be it!


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Conclusion

We have meditated on the Way of the Cross which the Savior’s love traveled for us. It is now our task to follow Him on this way. It is a difficult road, demanding many sacrifices, the “narrow path” of which the holy Scripture speaks. But this road leads to final happiness. It leads to love, which is the greatest thing of all (1 Cor. 13:13). It leads to perfect union with God and men, to blessed oneness in Christ (John 17:21ff.)

“Take courage, then, brethren, let us go forward together and Jesus will be with us. For Jesus’ sake we have taken this cross. For Jesus’ sake let us persevere with it. He will be our help as He is also our leader and guide. Behold, our King goes before us and will fight for us. Let us follow like men. Let no man fear any terrors. Let us be prepared to meet death valiantly in battle. Let us not suffer our glory to be blemished by fleeing from the Cross” (Imitation of Christ 3:56).

Why should we fear death? “He who does not love abides in death,” but “we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” (1 John 3:14).

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Love’s Way of the Cross: Stations V-VIII

Stations I-IV


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Fifth Station

Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross

“Inasmuch as you did this to one of these least brethren of Mine, you did it to Me.”  Matt. 25:40

It is hard to show love for a man who seems like a criminal unworthy of love. But look into the person’s eyes. Then the Savior’s eyes will meet yours as they did those of Simon the Cyrenian, and the Savior’s words will sound in your ears: “Inasmuch as you did this to one of these least brethren of Mine, you did it to Me.”

Lord, give me the living faith to see You in every human being, to serve You in every sufferer, in every cross-bearer!


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Sixth Station

Veronica Offers Jesus a Handkerchief

“By this token all the world will know that you are My disciples

– by cherishing love for one another.”  John 13:35

The reward of love! Every act of love imprints the image of Christ deeper in our soul. With every act of love we shall become more and more “transformed into His very image from one degree of splendor to another” (2 Cor. 3:18), into “another Christ.” And this is as it should be. Every Christian should be an embodiment of the Savior’s love. One should be able to say of every Christian what is written concerning the Savior: “The goodness and kindness of God our Savior toward all mankind appeared” (Tit. 3:4) and “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38); he goes through all life like the Savior, thinking thoughts of love, speaking words of love, doing works of love. Thus, according to our Savior’s words, we would be surely known as His disciples by our love for our neighbor.

Lord, give me strength for holy works of love, that Your image may shine ever brighter in me!


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Seventh Station

Jesus Falls the Second Time under the Cross

“Lord, I wish to see.”  Luke 18:41

If only the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers who tortured and tormented the Savior so cruelly on His Way of the Cross had known how much He loved them! Might not even their cold hearts have been filled with shame and sorrow?

And if we too could only see through the eyes of God what loving deeds of silent sacrifice, prayer and suffering are offered up for us, perhaps by the very people whom we love least and offend deeply in many ways!

“Lord, let me see!” May I never fail to recognize the love of my brethren. May I never in pride look down upon others. And when my own love is misjudged, even abused, may I follow Your example and never stop loving!


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Eighth Station

Jesus Consoles the Weeping Women

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

Jesus, Himself unconsoled, has words of consolation for the weeping women. Submerged in a sea of pain and sorrow, He thinks of the misery and needs of others. Such is the way of love. It forgets its own suffering as soon as it becomes aware of another’s pain. It finds no time to consider its own misery when the need of another calls for help. It can help others, itself it cannot help (cf. Matt. 27:42). It thinks only of giving, and thereby becomes unmindful of receiving.

How happy we would be if we would unselfishly forget our own pain in our concern for another’s sorrow, if we would forget about receiving in our concern with giving! For it is more blessed to give than to receive.

O Savior unselfishly loving, give me that all-pure love which forgets itself, which “is not self-seeking” (1 Cor. 13:5), which is always ready to give, and let me be sanctified in this love!


Stations IX-XIV

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Love’s Way of the Cross: Stations I-IV

Here is Part 1 (of 3) of the Way of the Cross given to me by Fr. Fields. After scouring the Internet for a site where copies of these Stations could be purchased, I’ve concluded that the booklet is out-of-print. I reproduce it here in the hope that readers will find it an aid to their prayer this Holy Week. No copyright infringement is intended.


Murillo, The Embrace of St. Francis and the Crucified, 1668

Murillo, The Embrace of St. Francis and the Crucified, 1668

Love’s Way of the Cross:

Love Revealed in the Stations of the Cross

By Emmanuel Maria Heufelder, O.S.B., Abbot of Niederalteich

Translated from the German by a Benedictine Monk

Doyle and Finegan – Collegeville, Minnesota – 1955

Nihil Obstat: Rev. Gregory J. Roettger, O.S.B., Censor Deputatis

February 18, 1955

Imprimatur: + Petrus G. Bartholome, Bishop of St. Cloud

February 19, 1955


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Preparatory Consideration

“This is My commandment; love one another as I love you.”   John 15:12

Everyone who loves must walk the way of the Cross, just as He who taught love and who is Love has walked the way of the Cross. These stations are the testing time of love.

Lord, I will let my soul review in quiet contemplation those hours which tested Your love as gold is tried in the fire. I will make the stations of Your love to test and measure the extent of my own love.


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First Station

Jesus Allows Himself to Be Condemned to Death

“No one can give a greater proof of his love than by laying down his life for his friends.”    John 15:13

With a love unto death Christ has loved us. “We know what love is from the fact that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.” And with the same great love we must love one another. “We, too, ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). As long as we are not ready for this, as long as we are not determined to sacrifice ourselves for others as completely as the Savior did, we have not yet “the great love.”

O Lord, how small is my love when I measure it against the vastness of Yours! I should be ready to give my life; how much more ready, then, to give what is less than life. What I have and what I am – my strength and talents, my time, my possessions – all should be bent upon the service of my brethren, belonging more to them than to me.

Lord, help me to love my neighbor “not merely in word or with the tongue, but in action, in reality” (1 John 3:18). Help me to love with that “great love” unto death with which You have loved me.


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Second Station

Jesus Takes the Cross on His Shoulders

“Love is long-suffering; love bears everything.”   1 Cor. 13:4, 7

“Love bears everything,” even the cross which our neighbor imposes; bears it not complainingly, not unwillingly, but patiently and with resignation – yes, with joy, as the Savoir carried His cross. Love rejoices when it can bear another’s burden and so fulfill Christ’s law of love, as the Apostle bids (Gal. 6:2).

What is the burden that we should carry for our neighbor? St. Benedict tells us in his holy Rule (ch. 72), when he exhorts his monks “most patiently to endure one another’s infirmities, whether of body or of character.” Everyone has his weaknesses and miseries, bodily defects and faults of character, and suffers frequently enough because of them. We should help our brother to carry his burden “most patiently,” with that patient, all-sustaining love which made the Savoir carry His cross: mankind’s burden of sin and pain, for the salvation of all.

My Savior and Redeemer, give me Your long-suffering love! Give me the love that bears all, and so let me be with You a savior and redeemer for my suffering neighbor.


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Third Station

Jesus Falls the First Time under the Cross

“Love will never end.”   1 Cor. 13:8

It is terrible and yet wonderful what divine Love is willing to suffer at the hands of men. It lets Itself be mocked, abused, crushed, tormented with inconceivable tortures, and still It does not cease. “Love never fails.”

Only a love that seeks itself more than its neighbor will give way to disaffection and hate if it is not returned.

True love never ceases. On the contrary, it converts the pain inflicted by the loved one into a sacrifice for him, a redemptive offering to free him from his selfishness. As long as we do not act thus, we have not yet true love.

Lord, give me Your selfless love, which never ends!


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Fourth Station

Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

“Love endures everything.”   1 Cor. 13:7

Mary is the model of all who have true love. For this is the perfect love, to walk beside the Savior as He carries His cross, to suffer and endure everything with Him and through Him, to sacrifice everything, even what is most precious, even a treasure on which one has set one’s heart. “Most gladly,” says true love, “will I spend myself and be spend to the limit for the sake of your souls” (2 Cor. 12:15), to make reparation and petition, in union with the Savior, like Mary.

O Mary, mother of fair love, mother of sorrows, teach me this true love!


Stations V-VIII
Stations IX-XIV

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Just 100 days…

… until I become a consecrated bride of Christ on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Immaculate Heart of Mary (dk bkgrnd)

A sincere thank-you to everyone who has offered prayers for me during this time of preparation. Please do keep praying that I can learn to have a heart like Mary’s, a heart that is, as Mother Teresa used to say, “only all for Jesus.”

Charity

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On the Calendar: The Immaculate Conception

de Ribera, Immaculate Conception, 1635

de Ribera, Immaculate Conception, 1635

 

O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee!

(Miraculous Medal Prayer)

 

For last year’s post on the Immaculate Conception, click here.

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