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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - December, 2017 [Plain text version]

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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - December, 2017

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IN THIS ISSUE:

* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of December: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

* Advent / Christmas Resources

* Mary Christmas: A Marian Reflection for Advent

* Liturgical Feasts in December

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Catholic Church's Teaching that Jesus' Mother Mary Was Conceived Immaculately and Remained Sinless?

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Dear Friend,

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel." (Isa. 7:14)

Greetings during this joyful time of year in which we prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our blessed Lord Jesus. We wish you and your loved ones a most holy & joyous Advent and Christmas followed by a blessed new year. [Note: Advent begins this year on 12/3/17.]

Thanks again for your support of our site and newsletter.

Warmest regards,

Your Friends at MyCatholicSource.com

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"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Mt. 3:2) [DR Trans: "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."]

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MCS News & Notes

* 'Exclusive New Content': We have commissioned a couple of new exclusive articles penned by the same experienced Catholic journalist who wrote for us earlier this year. We are excited to have this new content for our site. The articles have been received and we hope they will appear on our site shortly. We plan to include a link for the articles in an upcoming newsletter, but in the meantime, an update may be provided on our What's New page at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/whats_new.htm

* Reminder: For your free 2018 liturgical calendar-flier (Jan.-Dec.), please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-catholic_liturgical_year.htm and click your choice of "fliers" links. [Note: Fliers are based on the traditional calendar.]

* Sad News: Please Help! After all the good news in our last newsletter, this past month we had the misfortune of receiving a puzzling two-star review by 'J.D.D.' (initials only for privacy) on one of our new books that read: "Good for reading put thats all" [sic]. Unfortunately, a two-star review can seriously impact sales and even ultimately affect our ability to go on with our site. We have in the past received very positive comments on this same material (e.g. when we were selling it as a printout) - including by a dear priest who said the content was "magnificent", "brilliant", "best [he's] seen". We also believe strongly in the worth/quality of the work and feel that the two-star review lacks fairness (we are not sure what a book is supposed to be good for other than reading!). It is hard to overstate the negative impact a low star rating can have on a product, especially when it is the first review for the item. We would have expected such ratings from 'enemies' of the TLM, but it was 'shocking' to receive such a review from someone who appears to be friendly to the TLM. In your charity, please pray the reviewer will have a change of heart and adjust the stars accordingly or at least pray that others will come to our defense with more fair reviews containing a higher number of stars. Note that, sadly, it may take about 15 five-star reviews to even come close to counteracting the damage from one single two-star review. And typically, it is common to receive only one review per hundred or more sales (sometimes closer to a thousand or more sales). Again, in your charity, please pray the reviewer will have a change of heart and adjust the stars accordingly or at least pray that others will come to our defense with more fair reviews containing a higher number of stars. Thank you so much for your much needed help!

* January 2018 newsletter may be early or late: It is possible that the timing of our January 2018 newsletter may be shifted somewhat (perhaps to 12/29/17, 12/30/17, or 1/2/18). We hope the earlier or later timing of the newsletter will not cause any inconvenience to our subscribers. [Note: In 2018, January 1 (a customary holy day of obligation) falls on a Monday.]

* A spiritual bouquet is a free & 'truly Catholic gift that will be appreciated by all'. You can print a free spiritual bouquet card at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/spiritual_bouquet_card.pdf . [Note: This is a .pdf file. To use: Print card (preferably on colored paper or color the image by hand), fold to 4.25" x 5.5" ("A Special Gift..." should appear in front).]

* Upcoming New Release: We have started on the first book in our 'Catholic Devotional Series'. If all goes well, we hope the publication will be available for sale before too long. We plan to include details in a future newsletter. In the meantime, please try here for information on currently available titles: http://MyCatholicSource.com/Media

* Which format is best, paperback or ebook? We have added a link to our media page listing possible benefits of both paperbacks & ebooks. The article can be found at: http://www.bfsnet.com/bfsmedia/book_formats_benefits.htm . Have something to add? We welcome your comments - please submit them at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/fdb/quick_feedback.htm

* Help keep us online! Donate any amount (from $1+) at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/donate.htm [note that we do NOT sell donor information to third parties and we do NOT contact you about your donation unless it is necessary (e.g. processing problems)]. Thank you for your much needed support!

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The Month of December: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

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"Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee." (Cant. 4:7)

"For nothing is worthy to receive God unless it be pure, according to Psalm 93:5: 'Holiness becometh Thy House, O Lord.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"In the matter of sin, it is my wish to exclude absolutely all questions concerning the holy Virgin Mary, on account of the honor due to Christ. For since she conceived and brought forth Him who most certainly was guilty of no sin, we know that an abundance of grace was given her that she might be in every way the conqueror of sin." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

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Related Resources...

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-Blessed_Virgin_Mary.htm

* Immaculate Conception / Sinlessness Reflections (quotes from popes & saints) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/mary_our_mother_reflections_sinlessness.htm

* Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pd/ineffabilis_deus.htm

* Some Reasons to Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/reasons_to_honor_mary.htm

* Some Thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/thoughts_on_mary.htm

* Marian Facts - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/facts.htm

* Marian Prayers - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_Marian.htm

* Popular Marian Devotions - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/popular_marian_devotions.htm

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Reflections) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/mary_our_mother_reflections.htm

* Marian Scriptural References - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/marian_scriptural_references.htm

* Marian Encyclicals (click link: "The Blessed Virgin Mary") - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pd/classic_encyclicals_by_category.htm

* Marian Apologetics - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__Marian.htm

* Mary, Our Mother Section - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/mary_our_mother.htm

* Marian Coloring Pages - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_coloring_activities.htm

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

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"O Virgin undefiled, undefiled is your birth." (St. Andrew of Crete, a. 740 A.D.)

"Thou, O Lord, and thy Mother are the only ones who are perfectly beautiful in every respect, for in thee, O Lord, there is no blemish, and in thy Mother there is no stain." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"The commemoration of the mystery of the Most Holy Virgin, conceived immaculate and immune from all stain of original sin, should, in the first place, urge us to that innocence and integrity of life which flees from and abhors even the slightest stain of sin." (Pope Pius XII, "Fulgens Corona", 1953 A.D.)

"[The Church] did not hesitate to present for the public devotion and veneration of the faithful the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. By this most significant fact, the Church made it clear indeed that the conception of Mary is to be venerated as something extraordinary, wonderful, eminently holy, and different from the conception of all other human beings" (Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus", 1854 A.D.)

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Advent / Christmas Resources

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"The name Advent [from the Latin word 'Adventus', 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." (Dom Gueranger)

"Four thousand years of expectation preceded that coming [of the Savior], and they are expressed by the four weeks of Advent, which we must spend before we come to the glorious festivity of our Lord's Nativity." (Dom Gueranger)

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Resources...

* Advent (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-advent.htm

* Christmas (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-christmas.htm

* Make Your Own Advent Calendar - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/advent_calendar.htm

* Advent / Christmas Prayers - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_for_certain_occasions_times.htm

* Advent / Christmas Practices (See 'Traditional Practices', 'Advent / Christmas') [Page also contains fasting / abstinence info.] - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/latin_mass_and_tradition/traditional_prayers_and_practices.htm

* Advent / Christmas Activities (See 'Holiday Activities') - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_other_activities.htm

* Incarnation / Nativity Reflections - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/catholic_basics_reflections_Incarnation_and_Nativity.htm

* Incarnation / Birth of Jesus Reflections - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/mary_our_mother_reflections_annunciation_incarnation.htm

* Bible Prophecies: Coming of Christ / Supremacy & Facts About Upcoming Messiah - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/biblical_prophecies_coming_supremacy_facts.htm

* Scripture References (Marian Scriptural References) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/marian_scriptural_references.htm

* Biblical References / Divinity of Christ / Etc. (Non-Catholics Section, apologetics) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/non-catholics.htm

* Definitions (Advent, Christmas, Christmastide, Etc.) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_basics/catholic_basics_definitions.htm

* O Antiphons (12/17-12/23) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_hymns_sequences.htm

* Coloring Pages (Christmas Bells, Christmas Candles, Christmas Card, Nativity, Etc.) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_coloring_activities.htm

* 'Spiritual Bouquet' Card - "a great Christmas gift" (See 'Other') - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_other_activities.htm

* Word Search (Christmas) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/word_search_christmas.htm

* Crossword Puzzle (Christmas) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/crossword_puzzle_christmas.html

* Catholic Travel: Collages (Incl. Bethlehem) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/travel_collages.htm

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

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Reminder: Don't forget to check the MCS Daily Digest each day. During Advent, the MCS Daily Digest may contain various items to help prepare for Christmas. Visit the MCS Daily Digest at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

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Advent Prayer: "I adore Thee, O incarnate Word, the true Son of God from all eternity, and the true Son of Mary in the fullness of time. As I adore Thy divine Person and the sacred Humanity thereto united, I feel myself drawn to venerate likewise the poor Crib that welcomed Thee, when Thou wast a little Child, and which was, in very truth, the first throne of Thy love. Would that I could fall prostrate before it with the simplicity of the shepherds, with the faith of Joseph, and the love of Mary! Would that I too could bend low to venerate this precious memorial of our salvation with the spirit of mortification, poverty and humility, with which Thou, the Lord of heaven and earth, didst choose a manger to be the resting place of Thy dear limbs! And do Thou, O Lord, who didst deign in Thine infancy to be laid in this manger, pour into my heart a drop of that joy which must have been experienced at the sight of Thy lovely infancy and of the wonders that accompanied Thy birth; by virtue of this Thy holy birth, I implore Thee to give peace and good-will to all the world, and, in the name of all mankind, to render perfect thanksgiving and infinite glory to Thine eternal Father, with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Thou livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen." (Raccolta)

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Mary Christmas: A Marian Reflection for Advent

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"But to go to God through Mary is not to be sidetracked; it is to arrive at our destination sooner... God Himself willed to depend upon Mary when He became man. He shut Himself up in her womb, taking His nourishment from her body. Our Lord also willed to perform His first miracle of grace, the sanctification of St. John the Baptist in St. Elizabeth's womb, at the word of Mary. And He performed His first public miracle at the request of His Mother - the changing of water into wine at the Marriage Feast of Cana... Mary's great desire is to see us love her Son; therefore, she draws and leads us to God, and does not separate and remove us from Him. She desires all our love that she may give it to her Son. She desires us to be hers, in order that she may make us belong entirely to God. Our Blessed Lady, being most faithful to her Son, draws and conducts to Him all who approach her, and endeavors to reconcile and unite them more closely with God. Therefore, the more we love Mary, the more we shall love God. There is no shorter, easier, or safer path by which we may attain to the perfect love of God than by a tender and sincere love of Mary." (Preface, "The Love of Mary")

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For more Reflections, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/reflections_categorized.htm

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Liturgical Feasts in December

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for December as they appear at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/saints/feasts.htm

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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December 2 - St. Bibiana (T)

December 3 - St. Francis Xavier (T)

December 3 - St. Francis Xavier (N)

December 4 - St. Barbara (T)

December 4 - St. Peter Chrysologus (T)

December 4 - St. John Damascene (N)

December 5 - St. Sabbas (T)

December 6 - St. Nicholas of Myra (or Bari) (T)

December 6 - St. Nicholas of Myra (or Bari) (N)

December 7 - St. Ambrose (T)

December 7 - Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (T)

December 7 - St. Ambrose (N)

December 8 - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T) *

December 8 - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N) *

December 9 - St. Juan Diego (N)

December 10 - St. Melchiades, pope (T)

December 11 - St. Damasus I, pope (T)

December 11 - St. Damasus I, pope (N)

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe (T)

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe (N)

December 13 - St. Lucy of Syracuse (T)

December 13 - St. Lucy (N)

December 14 - St. John of the Cross (N)

December 16 - St. Eusebius of Vercelli (T)

December 21 - St. Thomas, apostle (T)

December 21 - St. Peter Canisius (N)

December 22 - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (T)

December 23 - St. John of Kanty (John Cantius) (N)

December 24 - Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve) (T)

December 25 - Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas) (T) *

December 25 - St. Anastasia (T)

December 25 - The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) (N) *

December 26 - St. Stephen the First Martyr (T)

December 26 - St. Stephen, First Martyr (N)

December 27 - St. John, apostle & evangelist (T)

December 27 - St. John, apostle & evangelist (N)

December 28 - The Holy Innocents (T)

December 28 - The Holy Innocents (N)

December 29 - St. Thomas of Canterbury (T)

December 29 - St. Thomas Becket (N)

December 31 - St. Sylvester I, pope (T)

December 31 - St. Sylvester I, pope (N)

* Holy Day of Obligation

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below and try here: http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/latin_mass_and_tradition/traditional_liturgical_calendar.htm . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

Also...

12/3/17 - First Sunday in Advent

12/10/17 - Second Sunday in Advent

12/17/17 - Third Sunday in Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

12/20/17 - Ember Wednesday in Advent (T)

12/22/17 - Ember Friday in Advent (T)

12/23/17 - Ember Saturday in Advent (T)

12/24/17 - Fourth Sunday in Advent / Christmas Eve

12/31/17 - Feast of the Holy Family (N)

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What do the gifts in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" refer to?

2. What are the names, according to tradition, of the three Wise Men?

3. What language did Jesus speak?

4. Who does St. Louis Marie de Montfort call the "straight and immaculate way to go to Jesus"?

5. What is the traditional Church season that goes from December 24 (12/24) to January 13 (1/13)?

6. What is the name of the major heresy that confronted the Church in the fourth century? Who did it originate with?

7. How does St. Thomas Aquinas says Christians are guided to heaven?

8. What violet and gold scapular is associated with the Capuchins?

9. What three Nativities are kept by the Church?

10. To whom is the expression "Totum nos habere voluit per Mariam" (He willed us to have all through Mary) attributed?

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Answers:

1. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written during a time of persecution and contains hidden meanings, such as: Partridge in the Pear Tree - Jesus Christ; Two Turtle Doves - the Old and New Testaments; Three French Hens - faith, hope, and charity; Four Calling Birds - four Gospels; Five Golden Rings - first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch); Six Geese a-Laying - six days of creation; Seven Swans a-Swimming - seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; Eight Maids a-Milking - the eight Beatitudes; Nine Ladies Dancing - nine choirs of angels; Ten Lords a-Leaping - Ten Commandments; Eleven Pipers Piping - the faithful eleven Apostles; Twelve Drummers Drumming - twelve articles of the Apostles' Creed.

2. According to tradition, the Three Magi (or Wise Men or Kings) who brought gifts to the infant Jesus were named: Caspar (or Gaspar), Melchior, and Balthasar.

3. Jesus spoke Aramaic.

4. "Being the sure means and the straight and immaculate way to go to Jesus Christ and to find Him perfectly, it is by [the Blessed Virgin Mary] that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life (cf. Prov. 8:35), that is, Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6). But no one can find Mary who does not seek her; and no one can seek her who does not know her; for we cannot seek or desire an unknown object. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known." (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)

5. The traditional Church season that goes from December 24 (12/24) to January 13 (1/13) is called Christmastide.

6. The major heresy that confronted the Church in the fourth century was Arianism. It originated with Arius, a heretical priest, and asserted that Jesus was not truly divine.

7. "As sailors are guided by a star to the port, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

8. The Scapular of St. Joseph is violet and gold and is associated with the Capuchins. It contains images of St. Joseph with Jesus, a dove (as a symbol of the Holy Spirit), a cross, and the keys of St. Peter.

9. Three Nativities kept by the Church are: The Nativity of our Lord (Dec. 25), the Nativity of our Lady (Sept. 8), and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24).

10. The expression "Totum nos habere voluit per Mariam" (He willed us to have all through Mary) is attributed to St. Bernard.

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For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_crossword_puzzles.htm

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Catholic Church's Teaching that Jesus' Mother Mary Was Conceived Immaculately and Remained Sinless?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__Marian.htm

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Reject the Catholic Church's Teaching that Jesus' Mother Mary Was Conceived Immaculately and Remained Sinless? (Note: Topic is directed at Protestants)

Consider:

* Do you suppose that God instructed that the Ark be covered inside and outside with pure gold (see Ex. 25:11), but He would fail to fashion His own mother - whom He took His own flesh from - in a similar manner?

* Do you suppose that the "entire temple [a mere building] was overlaid with gold" (1 Kgs. 6:22), yet Christ would fail to prepare his own Mother - from whom He took His own flesh - in a comparable fashion?

* Considering that Christ is the "living temple", and considering that in the Old Testament God selected master craftsmen to help build His temple, how can you imagine that He wouldn't craft His own mother masterfully - as perfect as a human being can get?

* How could Mary be greeted by the angel as "full of grace" (Lk. 1:28) if she was not immaculate?

* Since we see from Rv. 21:27 that nothing unclean will enter the Lord's kingdom, how do you imagine that God could have entered Mary's womb if Mary wasn't fully pure?

* How is it you would make the mother of Christ a sinner? Do you not realize that if you propose that Jesus' mother Mary ever - even once - committed a sin, you make her a slave to the devil (cf. 1 Jn. 3:8, Jn. 8:34, Rom. 6:16)? How could the one who was foretold in Gen 3:15 crush the head of Satan if she had even once been under his control? How could she be always at enmity with the devil if she was once under his power? 

* The fact that Mary calls God her savior (see Lk. 1:47) in no way contradicts the doctrine of her Immaculate Conception. To use an analogy, a parent may be said to save a child's life by pulling him back from a certain fall at the edge of a cliff (e.g. preventing him from falling) or by giving him life-saving medical care after he has already fallen. In both cases, the parent has saved the child, but in one instance the child didn't actually fall. In like manner, God is Mary's savior by giving her special graces (in view of Christ's merits) so that she may not "fall".

* Since Adam and Eve came from the hands of God "immaculate", why is it so difficult for you to believe that Christ would likewise create His own mother immaculate - the very woman that He Himself would take His flesh from?

* Do you argue against Mary's perpetual sinlessness based on Romans 3:23 ("all have sinned")? Do you also dare (God forbid!) to imply that Jesus sinned? Clearly, this passage does not mean to imply that Jesus sinned. Therefore, the passage also does not exclude the possibility (the fact!) that His mother also never sinned.

* How is it that you can regard Jesus' mother Mary as a sinner, but the early Christians and most brilliant theologians wouldn't dare consider - much less utter - such blasphemy?

* Do you reject the Immaculate Conception because you think it means that Mary was born of a virgin? You should know that the Church certainly does not teach that - rather she teaches that "the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin". She was otherwise conceived and born as any other human being.

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"Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee." [Cant. 4:7 (Song. 4:7)]

"The second Eve is to be worthy of the second Adam, conquering and not to be conquered." (Dom Gueranger)

"You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others; For there is no blemish in you, nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" (St. Ephraim, c. 370 A.D.)

"It was fitting that Jesus Christ should have such a mother as would be worthy of Him as far as possible; and she would not have been worthy, if, contaminated by the hereditary stain even for the first moment only of her conception, she had been subject to the abominable power of Satan." (Pope Pius XII, "Fulgens Corona", 1953 A.D.)

"Come, then, and search out Your sheep, not through Your servants or hired men, but do it Yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sara but from Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free from every stain of sin." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 387 A.D.)

"Believe in the Son of God, the Word before the ages, who was begotten of the Father apart from time and incorporeally, who in these last days was, for your sake, made Son of Man, both of the Virgin Mary in an indescribable and stainless way - for there is no stain where God is and whence salvation comes - whom man at the same time God also" (St. Gregory of Nazianz, Doctor of the Church, c. 381 A.D.)

"I consider that the blessing of a fuller sanctification descended upon her, so as not only to sanctify her birth, but also to keep her life pure from all sin; which gift is believed to have been bestowed upon none other born of woman. This singular privilege of sanctity, to lead her life without any sin, entirely benefited the queen of virgins, who should bear the Destroyer of sin and death, who should obtain the gift of life and righteousness for all." (St. Bernard)

"If any one does not, in accord with the Holy Fathers, acknowledge the holy and ever-virgin and Immaculate Mary as truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit God the Word Himself, who before all time was born [begotten] of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned." (Pope St. Martin I, 649 A.D.)

"It was due to His own infinite sanctity that God should suspend, in this instance, the law which His divine justice had passed upon all the children of Adam. The relations which Mary was to bear to the Divinity, could not be reconciled with her undergoing the humiliation of this punishment [of being stained by original sin]. She was not only daughter of the eternal Father; she was destined also to become the very Mother of the Son, and the veritable bride of the Holy Ghost. Nothing defiled could be permitted to enter, even for an instant of time, into the creature that was thus predestined to contract such close relations with the adorable Trinity: not a speck could be permitted to tarnish in Mary that perfect purity which the infinitely holy God requires even in those who are one day to be admitted to enjoy the sight of His divine majesty in heaven" (Dom Gueranger)

"Having excepted the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sins - for how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear Him in whom there was no sin? - so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer?... I ask you, however excellent their holiness might have been when in the body, if they had been so questioned, would they not have declared in a single voice: 'If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us!'?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 415 A.D.)

"If anyone desires a confirmation of this it may easily be found in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. For leaving aside tradition which, as well as Scripture, is a source of truth, how has this persuasion of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin appeared so conformed to the Catholic mind and feeling that it has been held as being one, and as it were inborn in the soul of the faithful? 'We shrink from saying,' is the answer of Dionysius of Chartreux, 'of this woman who was to crush the head of the serpent that had been crushed by him and that Mother of God that she had ever been a daughter of the Evil One' (Sent. d. 3, q. 1). No, to the Christian intelligence the idea is unthinkable that the flesh of Christ, holy, stainless, innocent, was formed in the womb of Mary of a flesh which had ever, if only for the briefest moment, contracted any stain. And why so, but because an infinite opposition separates God from sin? There certainly we have the origin of the conviction common to all Christians that Jesus Christ before, clothed in human nature, He cleansed us from our sins in His blood, accorded Mary the grace and special privilege of being preserved and exempted, from the first moment of her conception, from all stain of original sin." (Pope St. Pius X, "Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum", 1904 A.D.)

"The Immaculate Conception does not imply that Mary needed no Redemption. She needed it as much as you and I do. She was redeemed in advance, by way of prevention, in both body and soul, in the first instant of conception. We receive the fruits of redemption in our soul at Baptism. The whole human race needs redemption. But Mary was solidarized and separated from that sin-laden humanity as a result of the merits of Our Lord's Cross being offered to her at the moment of her conception. If we exempted her from the need of redemption, we would also have to exempt her from membership in humanity. The Immaculate Conception, therefore, in no way implies that she needed no redemption. She did! Mary is the first effect of redemption, in the sense that it was applied to her at the moment of her conception and to us in another and diminished fashion only after our birth. She had this privilege, not for her sake, but for His sake. That is why those who do not believe in the Divinity of Christ can see no reason for the special privilege accorded to Mary. If I did not believe in the Divinity of Our Lord - which God avert - I should see nothing but nonsense in any special reverence given to Mary above the other women on earth! But if she is the Mother of God, Who became Man, then she is unique, and then she stands out as the new Eve of Humanity - as He is the new Adam. There had to be some such creature as Mary - otherwise God would have found no one in whom He could fittingly have taken his human origin. An honest politician seeking civic reforms looks about for honest assistants. The Son of God beginning a new creation searched from some of that goodness which existed before sin took over. There would have been, in some minds, a doubt about the power of God if He had not shown a special favor to the woman who was to be His Mother. Certainly what God gave to Eve, He would not refuse to His Own Mother." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

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In Closing...

Advent Prayer: "Raise up our hearts, O Lord, we beseech thee, to prepare the way of thine only Son; that, by his coming, being reconciled to thee, we may serve thee in holiness all the days of our lives."

Prayer for the Immaculate Virgin Mary's Intercession: "In thy Conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to the Father whose Son Jesus, after He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth into the world." (Raccolta)

"The unchangeable Image of the Father, the type of his eternity, assumes the form of a servant, and is born of a Virgin-Mother; yet he suffers not any change: for that which he was he continues to be - the true God; but that which he was not he now becomes, being made Man for the love of man. Let us cry out to him: O thou that art born of the Virgin! Have mercy on us." [Liturgy, Christmas Day (Liturgical Year)]

"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." (Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus", 1854 A.D.)

"Twas on this grand night that Angels' voices intoned the sweet Gloria. A dazzling light shone at midnight on the Shepherds. They are tending their flocks, when suddenly they hear the divine announcement: 'Glory infinite in the heavens - and on earth Peace: 'He that is eternal is born of the glorious Virgin!'' Then let the heavenly host give forth excessive jubilee, And earth, from pole to pole, thrill with the loud melodious song. The enemy's intolerable cruelty is crushed. Let the whole race of men sing praise to the God now born upon the earth. Peace is restored to the world; let all things rejoice at the birth of the Child." (Sequence, Roman-French Missal)

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