December 8-11, 2004
Feast of the Immaculate Conception Issue
vol. 15, no. 193

Behold thy Immaculate Mother


On this 150th Anniversary, we have as our Mother the Immaculate Virgin Mary, inviting us, pleading with us to take the high road to Heaven, leaving behind the sinful pleasures of earth. And we have as our Savior, Jesus Christ, in Whose Precious Blood we may be cleansed of our impurity so as to become white as snow.

    "Mary is therefore our Mother in the full sense of the word, and she has a full time job on her hands, if we may judge by these words from the Apocalypse: 'And the dragon was angered at the woman, and went away to wage war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and hold fast the testimony of Jesus' (Apoc.12:17). What mother would stand by and let that happen without a fight? 'As awe inspiring as bannered troops' (Cant.6:10), Mary wages war with her enemy, the devil, often intervening in human affairs, as at Guadalupe, La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, and numerous other places. She will not rest until she sees 'the rest of her children' safe by her side in Heaven."

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception he highlights what Pope Pius IX emphasized in proclaiming the dogma of the Immaculate Conception 150 years ago. Father also reminds us that Mary is always there for us no matter what our need for she is in every way a mother. But she is the purest of mothers and the filth and obscenities that permeate society today so greatly offend her, her Divine Son and the Heavenly Father. She is the last line of defense before the Lord unleashes his just wrath on those who insist on following the prince of the world. Rather than taking the low road, Father encourages all to follow Our Lady. She stands as the Morning Star reflecting the grace from God onto us if only we accept it and follow her example of purity and obedience to God's will as we acknowledge and behold Thy Immaculate Mother. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]

       "From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully."

   Thus wrote Pope Pius IX in his Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus, as he prepared to solemnly proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on December 8, 1854. Today, one hundred and fifty years later, we celebrate her feast with great joy as we honor this Holy Mother, whom all generations would call blessed. This is right and just, since Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception is the holy Patroness of the United States of America, chosen as such by the American bishops at the first Council of Baltimore in 1846.

   The elegant language and elevated thoughts of the document (of Pope Pius IX) might lead one to think of Mary as a beautiful but remote being, high in the heavens, eternally happy with God, but blissfully unaware of the present misery of her fellow human beings still "mourning and weeping in this valley of tears." Such, of course, is not the case, since Mary is the Mother not only of God's Divine Son, Jesus Christ, but our Mother too. This was a necessary part of the plan, predestined by God from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, and consented to by Mary herself at the moment of her "Fiat" - "Let it be done to me according to Thy word" (Lk.1:38). It became official when Jesus said to the disciple standing at the foot of the Cross: "Behold, thy Mother" (Jn.19:27).

   Mary is therefore our Mother in the full sense of the word, and she has a full time job on her hands, if we may judge by these words from the Apocalypse: "And the dragon was angered at the woman, and went away to wage war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and hold fast the testimony of Jesus" (Apoc.12:17). What mother would stand by and let that happen without a fight? "As awe inspiring as bannered troops" (Cant.6:10), Mary wages war with her enemy, the devil, often intervening in human affairs, as at Guadalupe, La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, and numerous other places. She will not rest until she sees "the rest of her children" safe by her side in Heaven.

   But Mary does not spend all of her time engaged in a cosmic battle with the dragon. She takes personal care of each of her children. If we can imagine what may be the spiritual equivalent of "Go take your bath"; "Wash your hands before dinner"; "Pick up your things"; "Clean up your room"; "Say your prayers"; "It's time for bed", Mary does it all. She picks us up when we fall; she binds our wounds; she comforts us in our sorrows; she counsels us in our weaknesses; she teaches us how to pray; she warns us of the dangers. And she intercedes for us with her Divine Son, Who will refuse her nothing.

   All of these things are summed up in Mary's own words as recorded by St. John in his Gospel: "Do whatever He tells you" (Jn.2:5). We must strive to live without sin, keeping ourselves "unspotted from this world" (Jas.1:27). Unfortunately, we are living at a time when the deluge of impurity foretold by Our Lady seems to be reaching full tide. Nothing seems to be off limits for television, the internet, and entertainment in general. We are living in a modern Sodom. They dare to glory in their iniquity! They dare to corrupt the innocent! God's judgment hangs like a sword over the whole earth. But these are the trials through which Church will be purified, if only we put on the armor of God and refuse to be a part of it.

   "Since Christ therefore has suffered in the flesh," says St. Peter in his first Epistle, "do you also arm yourselves with the same intent; because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sins; that during the rest of his time in the flesh he may live no longer according to the lusts of men, but according to the will of God. For sufficient is the time past for those to have accomplished the desire of the pagans, walking, as they did, in dissipation, lusts, drunkenness, revellings, carousings and unlawful worship of idols. They are amazed that you do not run with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they abuse you. But they will render an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead" (1Pet.4:1-5).

   But we have as our Mother the Immaculate Virgin Mary, inviting us, pleading with us to take the High Road to Heaven, leaving behind the sinful pleasures of earth. And we have as our Savior, Jesus Christ, in Whose Precious Blood we may be cleansed of our impurity so as to become white as snow.

   The Holy Father, Pope Pius IX, encourages us: "Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless… What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard" (Ibid).

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

Father Louis J. Campbell


December 8-11, 2004
vol 15, no. 193
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons