We are entering the second week of Advent when we prepare ourselves to commemorate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is always very worthwhile to ask His Mother for her help.
Her feast day is tomorrow: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We commemorate the fact that God spared her of original sin at her conception in the womb of her mother St. Anne. Knowing that she would be the mother of His Son, God granted that she be free of sin from the very first moment of her life. Thus, the angel addressed her as "full of grace." She would remain free from sin throughout her whole life even though she had free will and could have made bad choices.
Some holy days are not days of obligation when they fall on a Saturday or on a Monday. But, the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation even though it is on Monday this year. It is of such great importance because our country, the United States of America, is dedicated to her under the title of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Our nation has been entrusted to her care. So, we are obliged to go to Mass on this day each year. We know that the center of each and every Mass is Jesus Christ. Honoring Mary leads to praising and adoring God. She is our teacher and helper in doing His will.
We can help our country too by praying for her intercession and by asking her Son during Mass for His help. First on the list of things is that our nation be one of life. May no one ever countenance the destruction of a human being simply because he or she is not yet born. In conjunction with this is the nineteenth National Night of Prayer for Life which will take place tomorrow. Many Catholic churches in our nation will be open from 9:00 pm until 1:00 am for prayers for the protection of unborn. It was in 1531 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (then, commemorated on Dec. 9) that Our Lady first appeared to Juan Diego in Guadalupe, Mexico. She was wearing around her waist the cord that women wore when they were pregnant. Thus, Our Lady under the title of Guadalupe is the patroness of the unborn as well as being the patroness of the Americas.
Our parish and Sacred Heart parish are promoting this night of prayer which will be held at Sacred Heart Church. May we get together sometime during these four hours to send up our prayers to God for the highest purpose: the saving of lives.