Below are some quotes from a speech of Benedict XVI as he contemplates Mary under this title. Also the collect of the Immaculate Conception as an aid to our prayers as we approach this great day of Christian hope.
"…in the Grotto of Massabielle, the "beautiful Lady", as
Bernadette called her, revealed her name, saying "I am the Immaculate Conception". She said this in the local dialect and the little visionary related the phrase, to her unknown and incomprehensible, to her parish priest.
"Immaculate Conception": we too repeat that mysterious name with feeling… (as) countless brothers and sisters of ours are doing the same in thousands of other places in the world, at shrines and in chapels as well as in
Christian homes. Today, wherever a Catholic community exists, Our Lady is venerated in it with this stupendous and marvellous name: the Immaculate Conception….On today's feast, so dear to Christian people, this expression rises from hearts and is pronounced by lips as our heavenly Mother's name. Just as a child raises his eyes to his mother's face and on seeing her smile forgets every fear and every pain, so do we, turning our eyes to Mary, recognize in her "God's smile", the immaculate reflection of divine light; in her we find new hope even in the midst of the problems and tragedies of the world…
O Immaculate Virgin…teach us to show solidarity with those in difficulty, to fill the ever increasing social gaps.
O Immaculate Mother, who are a sign of certain hope and comfort to everyone, help us to let ourselves be attracted by your immaculate purity. Your beauty
, as we sing today assures us that the victory of love is possible; indeed, that it is certain. It assures us that grace is stronger than sin, and that redemption from any form of slavery is therefore possible. Yes, O Tota Pulchra Mary, help us to believe with greater trust in good, to wager on giving freely, on service, on non-violence, on the power of the truth. Encourage us to be alert, not to give into the temptation of easy evasions, to face reality and its problems with courage and responsibility. This is what you did, a young woman called to stake everything on the Word of the Lord. May you be a loving mother for our young people, so that they may have the courage to be "watchmen of the dawn", and give this virtue to all Christians so that they may be the heart of the world in this difficult period of history. Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and our Mother…pray for us!"
Let us pray,
You prepared the Virgin Mary
to be the worthy mother of your son.
You let her share beforehand
in the salvation
and kept her sinless
from the first moment of her conception.
Help us by her prayers
to live in your presence without sin.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen
O Mary, who entered the world free from stain,
obtain for us from God to leave it free from sin!