A few years ago The Anchoress blogged about a lovely image that I’d stored away for use in a future post about today, The Solemnity of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. She wrote: A Trappistine nun, [the late Abbess] Columba Guare of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, who composed the texts for the Abbey’s Christmas cards, wrote this lovely poem, wherein the Virgin Mary addresses Eve with hope and gladness:
My mother, my daughter, life-giving Eve,
Do not be ashamed, do not grieve.
The former things have passed away,
Our God has brought us to a New Day.
See, I am with Child,
Through whom all will be reconciled.
O Eve! My sister, my friend,
We will rejoice together
Life without end.
— Sr. Columba Guare © 2005 Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
The poem is a relfection of her meditation upon the crayon and colored-pencil drawing by another nun, Sr. Grace Remington, which you can see above.
In the Eucharistic Prayer Preface at Mass today we pray:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For you preserved the most Blessed Virgin Mary
from all stain of original sin,
so that in her, endowed with the rich fullness of your grace,
you might prepare a worthy Mother of your Son
and signify the beginning of the Church,
his beautiful Bride without spot or wrinkle.
She, the most pure Virgin, was to bring forth a Son,
the innocent Lamb who would wipe away our offenses;
you placed her above all the others
to be for your people an advocate of grace
and a model of holiness.
And so, in company with the choirs of Angels,
we praise you, and with joy we proclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
In today’s great solemnity we can see a meaningful link with the feast of Christmas. One great celebration following close to the other. Ronald Knox wrote:
The first indication of spring while it is yet winter, when everything seems dead, is the appearance of green shoots. Similarly, in a world stained by sin and plagued by despair, the Immaculate Conception prefigures the restoration of man’s innocence. We can sense the imminence of this development in much the same way as we do the appearance of a flower when at first all we see is the bud. It was still winter in the cold world around, but not in Joachim’s tranquil home, where St. Anne gave birth to a female child. Springtime was just beginning there. (Feasts of the Liturgical Year)
It is still Advent. Christmas has not yet come. Still we wait. But today we get a glimpse of a new hope.
I love this time of year. It’s when we all rejoice together.
Update: I’d meant to add this video last night, but had misplaced the link. Here you go.