On the Immaculate Conception

From Pope Benedict XVI on December 8, 2006

Immaculate Conception


O Mary, Immaculate Virgin, again this year, with filial love, we meet at the foot of your image to renew to you the homage of the Christian commu­nity and of the city of Rome. Let us pause in prayer here, following the tradition inaugurated by previous popes, on the solemn day in which the liturgy celebrates your Immac­ulate Conception, a mystery that is a source of joy and hope for all the redeemed.

We greet you and call upon you with the angel's words: "full of grace" (Luke 1:28), the most beauti­ful name that God himself has called you from eternity. "Full of grace" are you, Mary, full of divine love from the very first moment of your existence, providentially predestined to be Mother of the Redeemer and inti­mately connected to him in the mystery of salvation.

In your Immaculate Conception shines forth the vocation of Christ's disciples, called to become with his grace, saints and immaculate through love (see Ephesians 1:4). In you shines the dignity of every human being who is always precious in the Creator's eyes. Those who look to you, All Holy Mother, never lose their serenity, no matter what the hardships of life. Although the experience of sin is a sad one since it disfigures the dig­nity of God's children, anyone who turns to you discovers the beauty of truth and love and finds the path that leads to the Father's house.

"Full of grace" are you, Mary, who, welcoming with your Yes the Creator's plan, opened to us the path of salvation. Teach us also at your school to say our Yes to the Lord's will. Let it be a Yes that joins with your own Yes, without reser­vations or shadows, a Yes that the Heavenly Father willed to have need of in order to beget the new Man, Christ, the one Savior of the world and of history.

Give us the courage to say No to the deceptions of power, money, pleasure; to dishonest earnings, cor­ruption and hypocrisy, to selfish­ness and violence; No to the Evil One, the deceitful prince of this world; to say Yes to Christ, who alone destroys the power of evil with the omnipotence of love. We know that only hearts converted to Love, which is God, can build a better future for all.

. "Full of grace" are you, Mary!  For all generations your name is a pledge of sure hope. Yes! Because as the great poet, Dante, wrote, for us mortals you are "a source of living hope" (Paradise, XXXIII, 12). Let us come once again as trusting pil­grims to draw faith and comfort, joy and love, safety and peace from this source, the wellspring of your Immaculate Heart.

Virgin "full of grace," show yourself to be a tender and caring Mother to those who live in this city of yours, so that the true Gospel spirit may enliven and guide their conduct; show yourself a Mother and watchful guardian of Italy and Europe, so that people may draw from their ancient Christian roots fresh vigor to build their present and their future; show yourself a a provident and merciful Mother to the whole world so that, by respect­ing human dignity and rejecting every form of violence and exploita­tion, sound foundations may be laid for the civilization of love.

Show yourself a Mother, espe­cially to those most in need: the defenseless, the marginalized and outcasts, to the victims of a society that all too often sacrifices the human person for other ends and interests. Show yourself, 0 Mary, a Mother of all, and give us Christ, the Hope of the world! Monstra te esse Matrem, 0 Virgin Immaculate, full of grace! Amen!



I am the Immaculate Conception


Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing;
Who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth we, thy children, invoke thy fair name.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for God's glory; may His kingdom come;
We pray for His vicar, our father, and Rome.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth,
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

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