Feast of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin MaryPatronal Feastday of the United States of America
This article appeared in the The Sacred Heart Review, Volume 48, Number 25, on 7 December 1912. The content seems timeless. Today, we are in need of the patronage of the Blessed Mother even more than in 1912.
”The feast of the Immaculate Conception is a day on which we ought specially to pray for our beloved country. Many times, to many thoughtful men, does the condition of these United States present an ever-growing and tremendous problem, and it seems to fore-shadow a future of disaster. Antagonistic elements from all countries of the world are flocking here; the Celtic, Teutonic, and the Latin races meet with the African and the Asiatic; varying creeds seek a harbor and a hearing among us; the anarchist is dwelling in our midst; the infidel may blazon his unbelief in our cities. The statistics of divorce, of suicide, of lynching are appalling to read; and in the memory of thousands among us no less than three of the chiefs of our nation have perished at the hand of an assassin. But the Catholic Bishops of these United States, in the first plenary council, assembled in the year 1846, in Baltimore, elected or chose, the Blessed Virgin Mary in her Immaculate Conception as principal patron of this country; and their decree was confirmed Feb. 7, 1847. Before the eyes of us all has thus been lifted up an example of immaculate holiness, of stainless purity, of perfect womanhood, while, at the same time, our country has been placed beneath the patronage of the Queen of Heaven, and specially commended to her prayers. There, full in view, the Blessed Virgin stands, magnificent, glorious, majestic; a wonder in heaven; clothed with the sun, and having the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. This is she who once stood, broken-hearted, on Calvary’s dark hill, beside the cross, when Christ redeemed the world. Painless had been that birth in Bethlehem’s stable when Christ, the Man-God, was born of Mary; but it was in bitter pain that she became our spiritual mother on the day of her divine Son’s death. Never can she forget, for all her rapturous joy in heaven, what it cost her to become the mother of all the human race,—no less than the Passion and death of her only Son Jesus, in supreme anguish, on the first Good Friday. To each immigrant entering our harbors, to each alien race, her thought and prayers are given. For all our needs she cares. None understands as she does, the hidden, wise and loving causes of God’s seemingly mysterious and astonishing delays. Her heart beats in unison with the Sacred Heart, and over that Heart her motherly petitions have great power. Let us beseech her to intercede with deliberate intense petition for these United States. Let us keep her immaculate purity steadily before our eyes. Let us say often to her the Raccolta’s indulgenced prayers:— Most holy and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, speak on our behalf to the Heart of Jesus, who is thy Son and our Brother. And again:— Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on the wretched who implore thy powerful patronage. The wicked serpent against whom was hurled the first curse, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our Queen and advocate, who from the first instant of thy Conception didst crush the head of the enemy, receive the prayers which, united with thee in one single heart, we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive at the port of salvation; and, in so many dangers, may the Church and Christian society sing once again the prayer of deliverance, of victory, and of peace. Amen.”
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for our country. Come Lord Jesus!