On December 8, the Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. This holiday reminds Catholics of the unique destiny of Mary, whose sinless soul and “yes” allowed the birth of Jesus. In this Advent 2023, here are several ways to thank Mary for her total abandonment to the will of God.
His “yes” allowed the coming of the Son of God. To welcome him, Mary could not have in her heart any trace of hesitation or refusal. God needed the gift of his love to meet a perfectly pure faith, a sinless soul. Since the dogma promulgated by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, Mary has been declared preserved from original sin from her birth. From the beginning, it is immaculate, that is to say pure from all sin, preserved from this separation from God which marks man from the beginning of his existence. Saying “Thank you Mary” on December 8 is giving thanks for her abandonment, 2,000 years ago, to the will of God, but also for her protective presence, her benefits and her blessings received during the year.
1 LIGHT A LIGHT IN YOUR WINDOW
The tradition of celebrating Mary with lights has been present in France since the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the people of Avignon put candles in their windows on December 8 and organized a procession in honor of Mary. Indeed, for a long time, the Church has considered December 8 as the date on which the Virgin Mary was conceived.
Lyon revived this tradition on December 8, 1852. A date which corresponds to the inauguration of a statue of Mary on the bell tower of the chapel of the Virgin of Fourvière. This celebration, initially planned for September 8 of the same year, was postponed for the first time for climatic reasons. On December 8, when conditions had led to a second postponement, the weather suddenly became good and the Lyonnais spontaneously decided to illuminate their homes and mount a procession.
We shook hands without knowing each other, we sang hymns, we applauded, we shouted: “Long live Mary! »
“Suddenly lines of fire appear at some unknown windows… The city was ablaze in an instant. Soon there remained, on the vast expanse of quays, streets, ignored passages and invisible courtyards, not a single dark window. (…) We shook hands without knowing each other, we sang hymns, we applauded, we shouted: “Long live Mary!” “The foreigners couldn’t believe their surprise, and the Lyonnais, filled as they were with this improvised celebration, wondered how, in an instant, a population of 300,000 souls could have been seized with the same thought.” says a chronicler of the time. From then on, the tradition of putting candles in your window spread throughout France. A small, easy gesture to say “Thank you Marie” and bear witness to her presence in our lives.
2 PARTICIPATE IN A “THANK YOU MARIE” VIGIL
This year again, the Marie de Nazareth association is encouraging the organization of prayer vigils in honor of the Virgin Mary. Hundreds of vigils (processions, praise, concerts, prayer, etc.) are listed in France on December 7 and 8. You can see on this interactive map if a vigil is planned near you. The opportunity to confide to the main patron saint of France her intentions, her sufferings, her sorrows and her joys, and to ask her for graces. Concretely, you can also leave prayer intentions at the foot of a statue of the Virgin. She will take them to her son and intercede for you.
Like a caring mother, the Virgin Mary is ready to grant graces to those who ask her for them. This is the message that she transmitted to Saint Catherine Labouré during her appearances on Rue du Bac: “These rays are the symbol of the graces that I spread on the people who ask them from me,” she confided to Saint Catherine. on November 27, 1830, pointing to the rays coming out of his open hands. Then she adds: “Make, have a medal struck on this model. Those who wear it with confidence will receive great graces.”
3 RECITE THE VIRGIN MARY’S FAVORITE PRAYER
One day, Saint Mathilde , who loved the Virgin very much, tried to write a beautiful prayer in her honor. Mary then appears to him, bearing on her breast the angelic greeting written in golden letters: “Ave, Maria, gratia plena”. And she said to her: “My daughter, no prayer that you could compose would give me as much joy as the Hail Mary . » The Virgin welcomes each Hail Mary that we offer her with the same joy as that with which she heard the greeting of the angel Gabriel on the day of the Annunciation. Saint Bernard and many other saints emphasized that Mary never refused to hear the prayers of her children on Earth.
“My daughter, no prayer you could compose would give me as much joy as the Hail Mary. »
“A Hail Mary said without sensitive fervor, but with an authentic desire in a moment of aridity, has much more value, for me, than an entire rosary recited in the midst of consolations,” the Virgin would have confided to Sister Benigna Consolata Ferrero (1885-1916), an Italian Visitandine nun whose beatification procedure was opened in 1923. December 8 is therefore the perfect opportunity to say with confidence this prayer which fulfills both the Virgin but also, like Saint Francis, the one who recites it with fervor. “When I recite the Ave Maria , the heavens smile, the angels rejoice, the universe is in jubilation,” testified the saint of Assisi.