Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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The Immaculate is the Patroness of the Redemptorist Institute. When Saint Alphonsus Liguori founded the Missionary Congregation in 1732, he placed our religious family under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception.

“St. Alphonsus dedicated the new Institute to the patronage of the Immaculate Conception. He was convinced of Mary’s unique privilege, granted to prepare her to be an appropriate temple of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God. But he also believed that this privilege was granted to her as a sign of hope for us – what she received from the beginning is what we too hope for – abundant redemptio, abundant redemption. For Mary, the grace of redemption prevented her from falling. For us, the grace of redemption can lift us after the fall.

The Immaculate Conception clearly shows what God can do with our fragile and wounded human nature. Mary is redeemed as surely as we are. Again, the Jansenists and Rigorists cried out against the Immaculate Conception. Human nature is hopelessly depraved, and everyone is condemned. Alphonsus could not accept this pessimistic view of humanity, nor this limited notion of God’s grace and mercy.

In his gritty defense and treatment of the Immaculate Conception, Alphonsus defended two important Catholic orthodoxy principles – the sensus fidelium, the sense of the faithful; and the ever-present action of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church in doctrine and worship. Revelation is not a static moment in remote time. Rather, the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church and the people of God through faith and popular piety, doctrine, and worship.”

(Fr. Michael Brehl C.Ss.R., an excerpt from the conference entitled “Saint Alphonsus and Mary, Mother of God”.)

Prayer of Saint Alphonsus

Most beautiful Lady, I am pleased to see you so dear to your God for your purity and beauty. I thank God for having preserved you from all guilt.

My Queen, since you are so loved by the Most Holy Trinity, do not scorn to turn your eyes on my sin-stained soul to obtain forgiveness and eternal salvation from God.
Look at me and transform me. With your sweetness, you have attracted so many hearts to love you: attract mine too, so that from now on it will love nothing but God and you. You already know that I have placed all my hopes in you: My dear Mother, do not abandon me. Always assist me with your intercession, in life and especially on the point of death. May I die calling and loving you, and then come to love you forever in heaven.

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