When Mary of Nazareth conceived in Her womb the Word of God, that conception was the effect of the fullness of Her grace, and of an action of the Holy Spirit which occurred in Her soul first of all, thereby making of Her flesh a tabernacle and a sanctuary. The dignity of the Mother of God is Her great sanctity, it is the incomparable grace which raises Her above all the Angels, the grace in which She was predestined and created for this glorious purpose. By the acts of Her blessed Maternity, She bordered on divinity while remaining entirely human. In this way She seems to exhaust, as it were, the power of God — the fullness of the grace accorded Her cannot be surpassed. It is easier for us to conceive of the greatness of Mary, however, when we consider Her maternity of the Mystical Body, the Church, which like Herself is entirely human, and composed of persons who are very far indeed from being what our Saviour was, a Divine Person incarnate.
We understand better what Mary is for the Church by listening to Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, Apostle of the Cross and of the Rosary of Our Lady. As Mary was necessary for God in the Incarnation of the Word, so She is necessary for Him to sanctify souls and bring about their likeness to Christ, and She is much needed by us, in our great infirmity:
The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which He does not have pass through Her virginal hands…; such is the sentiment of the Church and its holy Fathers. Mary, being altogether transformed into God by grace and by the glory which transforms all the Saints into Him, asks nothing, wishes nothing, does nothing contrary to the eternal and immutable Will of God. When we read then in the writings of Saints Bernard, Bernardine, Bonaventure and others, that in heaven and on earth everything, even God Himself, is subject to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority which God has been well pleased to give Her is so great that it seems as if She had the same power as God; and that Her prayers and petitions are so powerful with God that they always pass for commandments with His Majesty, who never resists the prayer of His dear Mother, because She is always humble and conformed to His Will. If Moses, by the force of his prayer, stayed the anger of God against the Israelites in a manner so powerful that the most high and infinitely merciful Lord, being unable to resist him, told him to let Him alone that He might be angry with and punish that rebellious people, what must we not, with much greater reason, think of the prayer of the humble Mary, the worthy Mother of God, which is more powerful with His Majesty than the prayers and intercessions of all the Angels and Saints both in heaven and on earth?
The sin of our first father has spoiled us all, soured us, puffed us up and corrupted us… The actual sins which we have committed, whether mortal or venial, pardoned though they may be, have nevertheless increased our concupiscence, our weakness, our inconstancy and our corruption, and have left evil remains in our souls… We have nothing for our portion but pride and blindness of spirit, hardness of heart, weakness and inconstancy of soul, revolted passions, and sicknesses in the body… Let us say boldly with Saint Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through Her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through Her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness, or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, She is tender, She has nothing in Her that is austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant… She is so charitable that She repels none of those who ask Her intercession, no matter how great sinners they have been; for, as the Saints say, never has it been heard, since the world was the world, that anyone has confidently and perseveringly had recourse to our Blessed Lady and yet been repelled.
INTROIT Isaias 7: 14
Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. (Ps. 97: 1) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Behold a Virgin…
God, Who wast pleased that at the angel’s message Thy Word should take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that, believing her to be truly the mother of God, we may be assisted by her intercessions with Thee. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE Eccles. 24. 23-31
Lesson from the book of Wisdom. As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour, and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that harkeneth to me shall not be confounded, and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
Isaias 11: 1,2 There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. V. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him. Alleluia, alleluia. V. O Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot contain, being made man, imprisons Himself in thy womb. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 2: 43-51
At that time, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him amongst their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found, Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth: and was subject to them.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Matthew 1: 18
When His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Through Thy mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of blessed Mary, ever a virgin, the Mother of Thine only-begotten Son, may our oblation profit us for eternal and for present prosperity and peace. Through the same Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: and that we should praise and bless, and proclaim Thee, in the veneration of the Blessed Mary, ever-Virgin: Who also conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and the glory of her virginity still abiding, gave forth to the world the everlasting Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Hebrews 9: 28
Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.
May this communion, O Lord, purge away our guilt and, by the intercession of blessed Mary the Mother of God, make us companions of Him, Who is our Heavenly healing. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.