Immaculate Conception Novena: Day 5

03 Dec 2018

Day 5 – December 3: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God”

Reading the Magnificat, we realize how well Mary knew the word of God.  Every verse of her song has a parallel in the Old Testament.  The young mother of Jesus knew the prayers of her people by heart.  Surely her parents and grandparents had taught them to her.  How important it is for the faith to be passed down from one generation to another!  There is a hidden treasure in the prayers that past generations have taught us, in the lived spirituality of ordinary people that we call popular piety.  Mary inherits the faith of her people and shapes it in a song that is entirely her own, yet at the same time the song of the entire Church, which sings it with her.  If you want to sing a Magnificat all your own, and make your lives a gift for humanity as a whole, it is essential to connect with the historical tradition and the prayer of those who have gone before you.  To do so, it is important to be familiar with the Bible, God’s word, reading it daily and letting it speak to your lives, and interpreting everyday events in the light of what the Lord says to you in the sacred Scriptures.  In prayer and in the prayerful reading of the Bible (lectio divina), Jesus will warm your hearts and illumine your steps, even in the dark moments of life, as he did for the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. 

Mary also teaches us to live “eucharistically,” that is, to learn how to give thanks and praise, and not to fixate on our problems and difficulties alone.  In the process of living, today’s prayers become tomorrow’s reasons for thanksgiving.  In this way, your participation in Holy Mass and the occasions when you celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation will be both a high point and a new beginning.  Your lives will be renewed each day in forgiveness and they will become an act of perennial praise to the Almighty.  Trust God’s memory—his memory is a heart filled with tender compassion, one that rejoices in erasing in us every trace of evil.

Act of Veneration to the Immaculate Virgin Mary (Pope Francis, December 8, 2013)

Virgin most holy and immaculate, to you, the honor of our people, 
and the loving protector of our Church,
do we turn with trust and love.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary! In you there is no stain of sin.

Awaken in all of us a renewed desire for holiness:
may the splendor of truth shine forth in our words, 
the song of charity resound in our works, 
purity and chastity abide in our bodies and hearts,
and the full beauty of the Gospel be evident in our lives.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you the Word of God became flesh.

Help us always to heed the Lord’s voice:
may we never be indifferent to the cry of the poor,
or untouched by the sufferings of the sick and those in need;
may we be moved by the loneliness of the elderly
and the vulnerability of children, 
and always love and respect the life of every human being.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you is the fullness of joy born of a blessed life with God.

Help us never to forget the meaning of our earthly journey:
may the kindly light of faith illumine our days,
the comforting power of hope direct our steps,
the contagious warmth of love stir our hearts;
and may our gaze be fixed on God, in whom true joy is found.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
Listen to our prayer, graciously hear our plea:
may the beauty of God’s merciful love in Jesus remain in us,
and may this divine beauty save us,
our Church and the entire world.  Amen.