Let us celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Let us adore her Son, who is Christ the Lord.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
|The Feast of the Immaculate Conception|
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is the doctrine that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin, that twist in our nature that makes our will tend not to follow what it knows to be right. It was this grace that enabled Mary to give a true and considered “Yes” to the request, conveyed by the Angel Gabriel, that she should consent to be the mother of the incarnate God.
The doctrine was almost universally believed over the centuries but was only formally defined as a doctrine of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Because it is so old, it is one of the Marian doctrines that Islam shares with the Catholic Church, though of course the theological details are very different.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Anselm (1033 - 1109)|
Anselm was born in Aosta, in northern Italy, and became a monk of Bec in Normandy, where he taught theology and devoted himself to the spiritual life. After some years as abbot, he succeeded his master Lanfranc as archbishop of Canterbury. His bitter disputes with the kings of England over the independence of the Church resulted in his twice being exiled. He died at Canterbury on 21 April 1109. He is remembered for his theological learning and writings, and for organising and reforming church life in England.
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Ephesians 1:4 ©|
Before the world was made, he chose us: he chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(Ephesians 1:10-12) ©|
It is in Christ that we were claimed as God’s own, under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will; we were chosen for his greater glory.
|Afternoon reading (None)||(Ephesians 5:25-27) ©|
Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless.