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November 29th we begin the novena for the preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of my personal favorite novenas, in part because of the hymn, Tota Pulchra es, Maria, sung at the conclusion of each day’s novena prayer. I fell in love with the hymn when I was a postulant, and it has remained one of my favorite every since.

The other reason I love this Novena, is what it tells of our own redemption. Each day of the novena reveals a part of the mystery God’s redemptive mercy. Enjoy the hymn, scrolling down to each day’s reflection, as together we unfold the importance of the Immaculate Conception in God’s salvific plan.

May Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us!

Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem,
tu laetitia Israel,
tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tu advocata peccatorum,

O Maria! O Maria!

Virgo prudentissima,
Mater clementissima,
ora pro nobis,
intercede pro nobis
ad Dominum Jesum Christum.

(there is a video link at the bottom of the page for those wanting to hear this hymn sung).

Thou art all-lovely, O Mary,
and in thee there is no stain of original sin.
Thou art the glory of Jerusalem,
Thou art the joy of Israel,
Thou art the honour of our people.
Thou art the advocate of sinners,

O Mary! O Mary!

Virgin most prudent,
Mother most clement,
pray for us,
intercede for us
to our Lord Jesus Christ.

1.  DAY ONE: Tota pulchra es Maria! You are all-beautiful Mary!

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, inserted in the liturgical time of Advent, invites us to look at Mary, the model with which the Church prepares herself to live the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word.

Mary, who is born free from original sin in order to receive in herself the Word of God, is always ready to help us to free our hearts from every stain of sin and make us worthy to receive her Son, Jesus.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. (Tota pulchra)

2.  DAY TWO: Et macula originalis non est in te. And the stain of original sin is not in you…

Mary is the mirror of what each one of us would have been without sin and she is the gift of God to sinful humanity so that in Christ it may re-acquire its lost innocence.

The Blessed Virgin invites us today to ask the Holy Spirit for a new heart so that we may receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with the same sentiments that Mary, his Mother, had, receiving Jesus, the Word made Flesh.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. (Tota Pulchra)

3.  DAY THREE: Tu gloria Jerusalem. You are the glory of Jerusalem.

In Mary shines forth the glory of God: the Father pours the fullness of his grace into her, the Holy Spirit overshadows her and makes her mother, the Word takes flesh in her virginal womb and from the cross gives her as Mother and glory of the Church.

Mary is the Mother of our life and today she wishes to share with us her very glory by means of a clearer awareness of the Trinity dwelling in us and wanting to reveal itself to us.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. (Tota Pulchra)

4.  DAY FOUR: Tu laetitia Israel … You are the joy of Israel

Mary is the channel of joy. No creature has been filled with joy as Mary. The source of every joy is the Word, her Son: “Now I proclaim to you a great joy…a Savior is born to you, Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). After the Angel’s announcement, Mary explodes in a hymn of joy which is the highest and most ineffable: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).

Today, with Mary, let us celebrate the joy that overflows when Christ enters into our life. To be converted is to progress in joy (GD 5)

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you (Tota Pulchra)

5.  DAY FIVE: tu honorificentia populi nostri … You are the honor of our people

The mission of Mary towards the people of God is a supernatural reality which is active and fruitful. As Mother, she has the task, through the course of the centuries, to reproduce in us the spiritual features of her Son.

Let us look at Mary today as the Mother of our faith, our hope, our love, and beg her to obtain for us from the Father, the giver of every gift, these virtues that are so necessary for our personal holiness.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you (Tota Pulchra)

6.  DAY SIX: Tu advocata peccatorum … You plead for us, sinners

The inaccessible God made himself accessible through Mary. The New Woman is next to Christ, the new Man. Through Christ, the plan of God for the salvation of all mankind has been accomplished in her. (MC 57).

Mary, now in glory next to her Son, is our advocate. Here on earth she is a powerful aid for those on their way towards heaven.

Today let us pray to Mary, especially for those who have been called to our Father’s House.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you (Tota Pulchra)

7.  DAY SEVEN: Virgo prudentissima … Virgin most prudent

Mary knows the way to go to God. She is the teacher of prudence: she makes an unconditional offering of her life to the Father saying to him: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

Mary’s “yes” is for each one of us a safe path to follow, with her sentiments, because in obedience to the Father’s will, we become like Mary, “mothers” of Christ, the Savior of the world.

Today, our unconditional “yes” will be lived in union with the “yes” of Mary.

O Mary, conceived without sin; pray for us who have recourse to you (Tota Pulchra)

note: A post on the availability to God through our yes. And Three Reasons for Mary, and the consequences of her “yes”.

8.  DAY EIGHT: Mater clementissima … Mother most clement

The clemency of God shines forth in Mary. She continues to remind her Son: “They have no wine”. She is the intuitive woman who sees and provides everything for our eternal salvation. She is the Mother of indulgence, goodness and love. She takes the hand of those who hold out their hand to her and she walks with us, day by day, towards our ultimate goal, our Father’s House and our eternal happiness.

Today, let us put our hand in Mary’s and entrust ourselves completely to her, even in the most difficult and painful moments.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you (Tota Pulchra)

9.  DAY NINE: Intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Jesum Christum … Intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ 

The privileges of Mary: Immaculate, Virgin, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, Mediatrix and Assumed into Heaven, are all derived from and converge in the person of the Word made flesh. The Father wanted her like this, so that she could become the Mother of his Only Son and, only as a consequence, the Mother of all humanity. Mary gives us Jesus. Mary is the way to Jesus. Mary is the Mother who conceives and makes Jesus grow in us to perfect stature.

Today, let us repeat in us the interior attitudes of Mary. Let us live in her Mother’s heart and allow ourselves to be led by her, just as Jesus did when he lived in her womb.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you (Tota Pulchra)

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