Day Four of St. Maximilian Kolbe's Novena to the Immaculate Conception
- Opening prayer to the Immaculata
V. How fair you are, 0 Mary!
R. How fair you are, 0 Mary!
V. The original stain is not in you.
R. The original stain is not in you.
V. You are the boast of Jerusalem,
R. You are the joy of Israel.
V. You are the pride of our people.
R. You are the advocate of sinners.
V. 0 Mary!
R. 0 Mary!
V. You are the wisest of virgins.
R. You are the kindest of mothers.
V. Pray for us.
R. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
V. Holy Virgin, you were spotless from the very moment of your conception.
R. Because you bore his Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God, you made ready a dwelling place worthy of your Son. In anticipation of your Son's death you preserved her from every stain. Please purify us by her intercession, so that we might find our way to you. We ask this through Christ our lord.
Day 4: The Immaculata's Self-Understanding
Reading: When our Blessed Mother was asked by Bernadette to tell her name, she answered, "I am the Immaculate Conception"; this is the Immaculata's definition of herself (Conference, 26 July 1931). By these luminous words (at Lourdes) she tells us not only that she was immaculate in her conception, but beyond this that she is the Immaculate Conception as such. Some-thing white is one thing; the whiteness of a thing is some-thing else. Something perfect is one thing; the perfection of a thing is something else. When God said to Moses, "I am the one who is," God was telling him: "What is proper to my essence is that I should always be, by my very nature, of myself, with no other principle of being." The Immaculate Virgin, of course, was created by God; she is a creature; she is a conception; still, she is the Immaculate Conception! What depths of mystery lie hidden in those words! (Miles Immaculatae, I, 1938, p. 294).
Meditation: In our contemporary world, great emphasis is placed on the importance of getting to "know one-self." May the Immaculata's example of authentic self-understanding lead each of us to find our own true meaning as participants in the very being of God.
Novena Prayer to the Immaculata
I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God throne of grace, miracle of almighty power! I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity and Queen of the universe, Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners! Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, and beg of you to obtain for me of your dear Son the favor I request in this novena (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully especially humility, purity, and obedience. Above all I beg you to be my mother and protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory. Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy! Have pity on me, and do no abandon me during life or at the moment of my death.
Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Eternal Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, temple of the adorable Trinity, pray for me. Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary, refuge of the needy and hope of sinners, filled with the most lively respect, love, and gratitude, I devote myself forever to your service, and I offer you my heart with all that I am and all that belongs to me. Accept this offering, sweet Queen of Heaven and earth, and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, the favors I ask through your intercession in this novena. Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God, perfect submission to his adorable will, the true spirit of a Christian, and the grace of final perseverance.
Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata
O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother, live in me, act in me, speak in and through me. Think your thoughts in my mind, love through my heart. Give me your own dispositions and feelings. Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus. Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life. Replace me with yourself. Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving; pray in and through me. Let me live in you and keep me in this union always.