- Thursday, 08 December 2016 -
Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary - Solemnity
Readings of day

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:26-38.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Saint Ephrem
Mary immaculate, full of a special grace coming from the merits of your son

All you who are discerning, come and wonder at the virgin, daughter of David, who is mother… Come, wonder at the most pure virgin, a marvel in herself, alone amongst created things. She has given birth without having known a man, pure soul filled with wonderment. Her spirit is daily given up to praise for it rejoices at the twofold marvel: untouched virginity, most beloved child! She, young dove (Sg 6:8), has carried this eagle, Ancient of days (Dn 7:9), while singing his praises: “O my son, richest of all, you choose to grow up in a miserable nest. Melodious harp, you remain as silent as a little child. Therefore allow me, I beg, to sing for you… Your own dwelling, my son, is greater than any and yet you have wished me to be your home. Heaven is too small to contain your glory, yet I, most humble of beings, am she who bears you. Let Ezechiel come to see you on my lap, may he recognize in you the one whom cherubim bore on their chariot (Ez 1)…; today I bear you… Trembling greatly the cherubim cry out: “Blessed the splendor of the place you reside!” (Ez 3:12) That place is in me, my breast your dwelling, the throne of your greatness is held in my arms… Come to see me, Isaiah, look, let us rejoice! Behold how I have conceived while remaining a virgin (Is 7:14). Prophet of the Spirit, rich in your visions, now see the Emmanuel who remained hidden from you… Come then, O you who understand discernment, you who, with your voices, bear witness for the Spirit… Up, be glad, for behold the harvest! See: in my arms I hold the grain of life.”

Hymns on Mary, no. 7