Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

Province of Saint Ann

St Ann Crown red

Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

Province of Saint Ann

St Ann Crown red
Eymard stained glass window

Daily Eucharistic Reflections

December 8, 2023

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

It is curious how many Catholics are confused about the meaning of this feast. Is it the “immaculate conception” of Jesus or the “immaculate conception” of Mary? The traditional Gospel that appears on this solemnity celebration can mislead us. So, in fact, it is the latter. It is the belief declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854 that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was born free of original sin.

Let’s put aside for our reflection today all the theological discussions we can have about the meaning of this feast day. Let us instead focus on a more practical meaning. A sinless, brave young Jewish woman, Mary, accepted the words of the angel Gabriel – in the words of Saint Peter Julian Eymard – to take on the “mission to form Jesus in us.”

For these last 20 centuries, the blessed virgin Mary has been, for many, especially women and mothers, a most beloved way to connect with Jesus, to contemplate Jesus, and to be in a relationship with Jesus. “On May 1, 1868, Father Eymard suggested that his members honor the Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, emphasizing the important connection of those two words: ‘Mary and the Eucharist’ as well as their connection to the Church’” (Praying 15 Day with Peter Julian Eymard, Fr. Manuel Barbiero, SSS).

In meditating on this feast today, let us be grateful for all those who have helped “form Jesus in us,” and pray for the graces to help form (connect) Jesus in those we serve in any way and with whom we come into contact.

Let Us Pray:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day forward, all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever. (Gospel Canticle for Evening Prayer)

 

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