The Immaculate Conception a Meditation. By Saint Padre Pio

Eternal Love, Spirit of Light and Truth, make a way into my poor mind and allow me to penetrate as far as it is possible to a wretched creature like myself, into that abyss of grace, of purity and of holiness, that I may acquire a love of God that is continually renewed, a love of God Who, from all eternity planned the greatest of all the masterpieces created by His hands: the Immaculate Virgin Mary.

From all eternity Almighty God took delight in what was to be the most perfect work of His hands, and anticipated this wonderful plan with an outpouring of His Grace.

Man, created innocent, fell by disobeying Him; the mark of original sin remained engraved on his forehead and that of his progeny who will bear its consequences until the end of time.

A woman brought ruin, and a woman was to bring salvation. The one, being tempted by a serpent, stamped the mark of sin on the human race; the other was to rise through grace, pure and immaculate. She would crush the head of the serpent who was helpless before her and who struggled in vain under her heel; for she was conceived without sin, and through her came grace to mankind.

Protected with Grace by Him Who was to be the Savior of Mankind that had fallen into sin, she escaped all shadow of evil. She sprang from the mind of God as a pure ray of light, and will shine like a morning star over the human race that turns to her. She will be the sure guide who will direct our steps toward the Divine Son which is Jesus Christ. He makes her radiant with divine splendor and points to her as our model of purity and sanctity. No creature surpasses her, but all creation defers to her through the Grace of Him Who made her immaculate. He Whom she was to carry in her womb was the Son of God participating with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the glory of her conception.

Clothed in light from the moment of her conception, she grew in grace and comeliness. After Almighty God, she is the most perfect of creatures; more pure than the angels; God is indeed well pleased in her, since she most resembles Him and is the only worthy repository of His secrets.

In the natural order she preceded her Divine Child, Our Lord, but in the divine order Jesus, the Divine Sun, arose before her, and she received from Him all grace, all purity and all beauty.

All is darkness compared to the pure light that renews all creation through Him whom she bore in her womb, as the dew on the rose.

The Immaculate Conception is the first step in our salvation. Through this singular and unique gift Mary received a profusion of Divine Grace, and through her cooperation she became worthy of absorbing infinitely more.

My most pure Mother, my soul so poor, all stained with wretchedness and sin cries out to your maternal heart. In your goodness deign, I beseech you, to pour out on me at least a little of the grace that flowed into you with such infinite profusion from the Heart of God. Strengthened and supported by this grace, may I succeed in better loving and serving Almighty God Who filled your heart completely, and Who created the temple of your body from the moment of your Immaculate Conception.

The Three Divine Persons imbue this sublime creature with all her privileges, her favors and her graces, and with all of her holiness.

The Eternal Father created her pure and immaculate and is well pleased in her for she is the worthy dwelling of His only Son. Through the generating of His Son in His bosom from all eternity, He forecasts the generation of His Son as Man in the pure womb of this mother, and He clothed her from her conception in the radiant snowy garment of grace and of most perfect sanctity; she participates in His perfection.

The Son Who chose her for His Mother poured His wisdom into her that from the very beginning, by infused knowledge, she knew her God. She loved and served Him in the most perfect manner as He never until then had been loved and served on this earth.

The Holy Ghost poured His love into her; she was the only creature worthy or capable of receiving this love in unlimited measure because no other had sufficient purity to come so near to God; and being near to Him could know and love Him ever more. She was the only creature capable of containing the stream of love which poured into her from on high. She alone was worthy to return to Him from Whom came that love. This very love prepared her for that “Fiat” which delivered the world from the tyranny of the infernal enemy and overshadowed her, the purest of doves, making her pregnant with the Son of God.

Oh my Mother, how ashamed I feel in your presence, weighted down as I am with faults! You are most pure and immaculate from the moment of your conception, indeed from the moment in eternity when you were conceived in the mind of God.

Have pity on me! May one compassionate look of yours revive me, purify me and lift me up to God; raising me from the filth of this world that I may go to Him Who created me, Who regenerated me in Holy Baptism, giving me back my white stole of innocence that original sin had so defiled. Dear Mother, make me love Him! Pour into my heart that love that burned in yours for Him. Even though I be clothed in misery, I revere the mystery of your Immaculate Conception, and I ardently wish that through it you may purify my heart so that I may love your God and my God. Cleanse my mind that it may reach up to Him and contemplate Him and adore Him in spirit and in truth. Purify my body that I too may be a tabernacle for Him and be less unworthy of possessing Him when He deigns to come to me in Holy Communion. Amen.

We too, redeemed by Holy Baptism, are corresponding to the grace of our vocation when in immitation of our Immaculate Mother we apply ourselves incessantly to the knowledge of God, in order that we may ever learn better to know Him, to serve Him and to love Him.

Here is a translation of the meditation John Paul II offered today, feast of the Immaculate Conception, before a statute of the Virgin Mary in Rome's Piazza di Spagna.

  1. "Ave Maria, gratia plena!"
 Immaculate Virgin, behold, I am at your feet once again,
 overwhelmed and grateful.
 I return to this historic Piazza di Spagna
 on the solemn day of your feast
 to pray for the beloved city of Rome,
 for the Church, for the whole world.

 In you, "humble and the highest of creatures,"
 divine grace had full victory over evil.
 Preserved from every stain of guilt
 You are for us, pilgrims on the paths of the world,
 luminous model of evangelical consistency and precious pledge of sure hope.

 2. Virgin Mother, "Salus Popoli Romani!"
 Watch over, I pray you, the beloved Diocese of Rome:
 over pastors and faithful, over parishes and religious communities.
 Watch especially over families:
 may love reign between spouses, sealed by the Sacrament,
 may children walk on the paths of goodness and true freedom,
 the elderly feel surrounded by attention and affection.

 Inspire, Mary, in so many young hearts
 radical responses to the "call for the mission,"
 subject on which the diocese has been reflecting over these years.
 Thanks to an intense vocational pastoral program,
 may Rome be enriched by new young forces,
 dedicated with enthusiasm to the proclamation of the Gospel
 in the city and in the world.

 3. Holy Virgin, Queen of Apostles!
 Assist those who through study and prayer
 are preparing to operate in the numerous frontiers
 of the new evangelization.
 Today I entrust to you, in a special way,
 the community of the Pontifical Urban College,
 whose historic headquarters are
 precisely in front of this Column.
 May this meritorious institution,
 founded 375 years ago
 by Pope Urban VIII for the formation of missionaries,
 be able to continue effectively its ecclesial service.

 May those it gathers, seminarians and priests,
 men and women religious and laity,
 be ready to put their energies
 at the disposition of Christ in service of the Gospel
 to the farthest ends of the earth.

 4. "Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!"
 Pray, O Mother, for all of us.
 Pray for humanity that suffers poverty and injustice,
 violence and hatred, terror and war.
 Help us to contemplate with the holy rosary
 the mysteries of him who "is our peace,"
 so that we will all feel involved,
 in a specific effort of service to peace.

 Look with special attention
 upon the land in which you gave birth to Jesus,
 a land that you loved together
 and that is still so tried today.

 Pray for us, Mother of hope!
 "Give us days of peace, watch over our way.
 Let us see your Son
 full of joy in heaven." Amen!

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