1st Day — Mary's Immaculate Conception
The Lord God said to the serpent: I will put enmities between thee and the woman. (Gen. iii. 14, 15.)
1. In these words the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was announced to our first parents. It was to be the reversal of the friendship with the serpent contracted by Eve, when she listened to his voice and fell under his power.
The second Eve was never to be under the power of the devil; the enmity between them was to admit of no possible exception. This involved the grace of being conceived immaculate..
2. Mary's Immaculate Conception was the foundation of all her graces. The absence of any stain or spot of sin distinguished her from all the rest of mankind. It distinguished her from the holiest of the saints, since they, one and all, were sinners. Her perfect sinlessness was the source of all her glory and all her majesty; it was this which opened the door to the unlimited graces that she received from God; it was this that qualified her for her divine maternity, and raised her to her throne as Queen of heaven.
3. If sinlessness is so priceless a treasure, how I ought to value it! And how I ought to hate sin with a deadly hatred, and to detest and avoid even what are called little sins!
Learn from Mary immaculate the holiness which God requires in those whom He chooses as His own. Pray Him to cleanse you more and more from the least stain of sin, and add your own endeavor.
"Simple and chaste should be those eyes which are accustomed to behold the body of Christ." — Imitation.
The purity of Blessed John Berchmans' soul beamed so brightly from his face that persons passing him in the streets would stop to ask his prayers. As a child he had vowed to live a virgin for Mary's sake, and thenceforth he kept his senses sealed to things of earth. During his three years in Rome he never raised his eyes to witness any spectacle, save that of Corpus Christi. He never passed Our Lady's statue without saluting it, nor left a church without visiting her altar. At even,' meal before tasting food, and at night before composing himself to sleep, he said a Hail Mary in honor of the Immaculate Conception; and to this practice he ascribed his exemption from all temptations of the flesh. He invented a Rosary in honor of that mystery, and made a vow, signed with his blood, ever to defend its truth. At the age of twenty-two he was already ripe for heaven, and went to his reward.
How eagerly should I cry out to the immaculate Mother of God, this day and every day, in words that she herself suggested to one of her servants:
O Mary, conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee!