The Immaculate Conception

Happy Feast Day to Our Lady!

Dom Gueranger writes, “This truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception—which was revealed to the Apostles by the Divine Son of Mary, inherited by the Church, taught by the holy fathers, believed by each generation of the Christian people with an ever increasing explicitness—was implied in the very notion of a Mother of God. To believe that Mary was Mother of God, was implicitly to believe that she, on whom this sublime dignity was conferred, had never been defiled with the slightest stain of sin, and that God had bestowed upon her an absolute exemption from sin.”

Below are quotes by saints from the early Church, verifying that the truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception has been believed by each generation:

“Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying: ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient; and when yet a virgin, she did not obey…. having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race…. Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the virgin Mary loosed through faith.” (Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, Book III c. 180 AD)

“He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption.” – St. Hippolytus (circa 235 A.D.)

“This Virgin Mother of the Only begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.” – Origen (244)

“Thou alone and Thy Mother are in all things fair; there is no flaw in Thee and no stain in Thy Mother.” – St. Ephraim (370)

“Mary, a virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.” – St. Ambrose (388)

“A Virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns.” – Theodotus of Ancrya (446)

“The very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.” – Jacob of Sarug (521)

“In the womb of the her mother now begins to blossom the earth which will be the dwelling place of the Creator of the earth, the holy scepter, the new ark, the vessel of manna, … the bush which was not consumed by fire, the golden candelabrum, the living bridal room  of the Lord God.” – Hymn for the feast of the Conception of St. Anne (seventh century)

“She is born like the cherubim, she who is of a pure, immaculate clay.” – Theotoknos of Livias (650)

“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty.  The shame of sin had darkened the splendor and attraction of human nature; but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born, this nature again regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model truly worthy of God…. The reform of our nature begins today, and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.” – Andrew of Crete (733)

St. John Damascene (645-750) speaks of Mary, saying: “The serpent never entered that Paradise.”

And other saints have extolled her beauty and power as well:

“[How to prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception]
…But how can we honor Mary these days so as to merit Her protection? I shall not insist on frequent reception of the sacraments. You already know that Don Bosco has nothing more at heart than this. But I will suggest two particular things to each of you in Mary’s honor. First, put your whole heart into this novena; second, prepare a bouquet of flowers for Her feast day. How? By picking a flower each day. But where, when no flowers are blooming in this cold winter? From the garden of your hearts. What sort of flowers? Some little act of virtue to be practiced each day in honor of Mary Immaculate. Let each one take this to heart, so that on the dawn of this great feast there will be as many bouquets as boys, and each bouquet will have a flower for every day of this novena. You may be sure that Our Lady will be quite pleased with your gift.” ~St. John Bosco

May I give you some advice for you to put into practice daily? When your heart makes you feel those low cravings, say slowly to the Immaculate Virgin: Look on me with compassion. Don’t abandon me, my Mother! —And recommend this prayer to others. ~St. Jose Maria Escriva

“Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.”  “When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down.” ~St. Jose Maria Escriva

“Such is the will of God that we should have everything through Mary.” ~St. Alphonsus Liguori

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust when all hope is gone. From Mary we learn to trust her Son and Christ the Son of God.” Venerable John Paul II

“It is the privilege of the glory of Mary, that after God, our greatest happiness is from her.” ~St. Bonaventure

“The devotions we practice in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary, however trifling they may be, are very pleasing to Her Divine Son, and He rewards them with eternal glory.” ~St. Teresa de Avila

“Believe me, there is no more powerful means to obtain God’s grace than to employ the intercessions of the Holy Virgin.” ~St. PhilipNeri

“When the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He enters that soul completely and communicates Himself completely to that soul.” ~St. Louis de Montfort

“Mary is the most sweet bait, chosen, prepared, and ordained by God, to catch the hearts of men.” ~ St. Catherine of Siena

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