Heritage and spirituality Group
Valeria Erneio, RSHM
In this new liturgical year of Advent, which is Mary’s time, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the main Patroness of Portugal, Patroness of Mozambique, and of the Cathedrals of Maputo, Inhambane and Chimoio. “For it is in Advent that we see her in the most intimate relationship with her Son, to whom she is united by a close and indissoluble bond” (LG 53). The Lord came to dwell among us through Mary, who knew how to respond positively to the invitation of God the Creator in order to collaborate in the work of Redemption. Thus, in Mary Immaculate is reflected the power of the Savior who is to come.
And our Father Gailhac, in his unfinished letter written on December 28, 1886, tells us that “by your manner of proceeding you must be the image of Mary, united in everything to Jesus Christ in the great Work of Redemption.” Once again, Father Gailhac calls us to a journey in faith and zeal, centered on Jesus Christ.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception has been around since the 11th century, although at that time it was not linked to Advent. However, it heralds and brings in the new day, which is about to dawn at Christmas. This solemnity leads us to glorify the Work of Redemption, by presenting to us the one who was the first to benefit from its fruits, becoming the image, the model according to which God wants to remake the face of humanity disfigured by sin.
In “A Journey in Faith and Time”, volume I, Sister Rosa do Carmo notes that in the 19th century in France, the preference for a Marian designation was linked to the spiritual atmosphere of the time, and so Marian theology developed according to Bérulle’s conception, in which Mary is in intimate connection with Jesus as the most accessible way to reach Him. This theological development is considered in a special way in the devotion to the Immaculate Conception and the Heart of Mary. (Cf. Pg. 192)
To conclude, it is important to say that in Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a beautiful preparation for Christmas.
Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.