The Solemnities throughout the church year are a wonderful opportunity to take the time to reflect on the mysteries of our faith with your fiancé or spouse. Today, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother, we hope you will be blessed and inspired by the quotations and prayers below.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.
Mary is a “symbol of hope” for us all.
For these weeks of Advent she stands before us as the woman who is carrying the Hope of the world just under her heart and, thus, going before us on our way as a symbol of hope. She stands there as the woman in whom was is humanly impossible has become possible, through God’s saving mercy. And thus she becomes a symbol for us all. For if it is up to us, if it depends on the feeble flame of our goodwill and the paltry sum of our actions, we cannot achieve salvation. However much we are capable of, it is not enough for that. It remains impossible. Yet God, in his mercy, has made the impossible possible. We need only say, in all humility, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord” (cf Lk 2:37f.; Mk 10:27). --Joseph Ratzinger, What It Means to Be A Christian
“Mary Immaculate first and fully bore Christ within.”
"Our Lady offers God her canticle of faith this Advent. As she watches her belly grow large with God, she becomes our Patron as we join her--waiting, watching, the Christ-Seed planted in us all. We learn from her how to foster the Christ-life within. As we keep vigil, Our Lady sits with us, listening with the patience of a mother, responding with the creative energy of a young girl. She teaches us that nothing is impossible with God. She tells us her story--the trials, challenges, and adventures that attend us when God dwells within. Christ rests in her womb, and Mary is transformed. We are invited into that love and transformation. Mary Immaculate first and fully bore Christ within. This Advent, find yourself caught up in Our Lady's love for Christ. Tell her your story. Let her delight in God's love for you.
O God who gives us grace to triumph over sin, make us beautiful in purity and truth so that Christ may be fully formed in us.
Pray for us, holy Mother of God."--Caryll Houselander, Reed of God
“God does not want a certain percentage of us...he wants our whole being.”
Mary is the gift of mankind to Christ. And this in turn means that the Lord does not want some thing from man, but man himself. God does not want a certain percentage of us. He wants our heart; indeed, he wants our whole being. He wants our faith and the life that is based on faith. And from this life, he wants those gifts of which he will speak at the Last Judgment: food and clothing for the poor, compassion and mutual love, a word that gives consolation, and a presence that brings comfort to the persecuted, the imprisoned, the abandoned, and the lost.
What can we offer you, O Christ? We certainly offer him too little if all we do is to exchange costly presents with one another, gifts that are not the expression of our own selves and of a gratitude that otherwise remains silent. Let us try to offer him our faith and our own selves, even if only in the form of the prayer: “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!” And on this day, let us not forget the many in whom he suffers on earth.-- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, The Blessing of Christmas.
Mary, Undoer of Knots
"The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith." --St. Irenaeus
“Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood.”
Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the Heav’nly Way!
Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the Rose-Tree, Christ the Rose Blood-red!
Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother’s Son.
Both ever blest while endless ages run.
--Medieval English text