December Devotion to the Immaculate Conception

December Devotion to the Immaculate Conception

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Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.
Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed f redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary’s redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

INVOCATION TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 

Saint Eligius

Saint Eligius or Eloy

Bishop of Noyon
(† 665)

Eligius, born near Limoges in the late sixth century, was in his childhood so skilled in manual arts, that his father decided to place him as an apprentice under a silversmith of Limoges. In a few years he had no rival in the art of metalworking. His piety and virtues recommended him still more highly than his talents; his frankness, prudence, gentleness and charity were admired by all.

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The History of Advent

The History of Advent

THE name Advent [from the Latin word Adventus, which signifies a coming] is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of that great day had every right to the honour of being prepared for by prayer and works of penance; and, in fact, it is impossible to state, with any certainty, when this season of preparation [which had long been observed before receiving its present name of Advent] was first instituted. It would seem, however, that its observance first began in the west, since it is evident that Advent could not have been looked on as a preparation for the feast of Christmas, until that feast was definitively fixed to the twenty-fifth of December; which was done in the east only towards the close of the fourth century; whereas it is certain that the Church of Rome kept the feast on that day at a much earlier period.

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Saint Andrew

Saint Andrew

Apostle
(† First century)

Saint Andrew was one of the fishermen of Bethsaida, and was the brother of Saint Peter. He became a disciple of Saint John the Baptist. When called himself by Christ on the banks of the Jordan, his first thought was to go in search of his brother, and he said to Peter, We have found the Messiah! and brought him to Jesus.

It was Saint Andrew who, when Christ wished to feed the five thousand in the desert, pointed out a little lad with five loaves and a few fishes. After Pentecost, Saint Andrew went forth upon his mission to plant the Faith in Scythia and Greece and, at the end of years of toil, to win a martyr’s crown at Patrae in Achaia. When Saint Andrew first caught sight of the gibbet on which he was to die, he greeted the precious wood with joy. O good cross! he cried, made beautiful by the limbs of Christ, so long desired, now so happily found! Receive me into thy arms and present me to my Master, that He who redeemed me through thee may now accept me from thee! After suffering a cruel scourging he was left, bound by cords, to die upon this diagonal cross. For two whole days the martyr remained hanging on it, alive, preaching with outstretched arms from this chair of truth, to all who came near, and entreating them not to hinder his passion.

Reflection: If we would do good to others, we must, like Saint Andrew, receive our cross with loving gratitude and not desire to be separated from it, until God so wills. To take up our cross is Jesus’ command; are we perhaps dragging ours?

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894). 

Saint Saturninus

Saint Saturninus

Bishop and Martyr
(†ca. 70 A.D.)

Saint Saturninus was a contemporary and a disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ; he came to Palestine from Greece, attracted by the reputation of Saint John the Baptist, which had echoed even to the northern Mediterranean region. He then followed our Saviour, heard His teaching, and was a witness to many of His miracles. He was present in the Cenacle when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost upon the Mother of Christ, the Apostles and Disciples assembled in the number of 120. (Acts of the Apostles 1:15) He departed to teach Christianity under Saint Peter’s authority, evangelizing the lands east of Palestine, and going as far as the region of the Persians and Medes and their neighboring provinces. He cured the sick, the lepers, and the paralytics and delivered souls from the demons; and before he left, he gave written instructions to the new Christians concerning what they should believe and practice.

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