Tag Archive: Immaculate Conception

immaculate conception

The Immaculate Conception Medal, known now as the Miraculous Medal, was manifested to Saint Catherine Laboure on November 27, 1830. The saint described the medal with these words:

“Her feet rested on a white globe…I saw rings on her fingers…Each ring was set with gems…The larger gems emitted greater rays and the smaller gems smaller rays.” Unable to express, nor understand, what she saw, Catherine heard an interior voice: “These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forgot to ask.” An oval flame formed around the Blessed Virgin, and within it in letters of gold Catherine read the words: O Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray For Us Who Have Recourse To You. The voice spoke again: “Have a Medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.”

Catherine continued: “…The tableau seemed to turn, and I beheld the reverse of the Medal: a large M surmounted by a bar and a cross; beneath the M were the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword”.
The front of the Medal represents Mary standing on the earth, her foot crushing the head of a serpent, and her hands outstretched to all who ask her assistance. The prayer encircling her contains one of her most precious titles: O MARY CONCEIVED WIYHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO YOU. The rays of light from her hands symbolize the graces which she is only too eager to bestow upon those who wear the Medal and pray to her.

St. Catherine was pressed by her confessor to ask Mary what should be inscribed on the back side of the medal. Mary’s response was “The M and the two hearts express enough.” The Medal was first made according to Our Lady’s design just two years after the first apparition. It was freely circulated and in a short time was worn by millions. In its wake followed innumerable wonders. Health was restored, sickness banished, blessing bestowed. Because of all of these wonders and cures, the medal simply became known as the Miraculous Medal.

Novena comes from the Latin word ‘novem‘ meaning ‘nine’. A novena is a traditional Catholic devotion consisting of prayers prayed publicly or privately for a special intention, and usually on nine consecutive days. One does not have to be Catholic to pray a novena. All who desire to become closer to our Lord are welcome to experience the many blessings this special form of prayer can bestow. Novenas are often prayed when a time in our life is especially difficult, or at any other time one is seeking special graces, guidance or intercession.

Devotion to and wearing of the Miraculous Medal is second to the Rosary in popularity among traditional Catholic devotions. Click here, “Novena of the Miraculous Medal” to view and pray the Novena.


The Holy Spirit will come upon you

(6th in a series of a presentation on The Apostles Creed)

The Creed is everything we, as Catholics, believe in faith. Some which we have already dealt with can be “backed up”, as it were, with secular historical testimony. Some aspects, such as the one we deal with today, are not only impossible to prove, but difficult to even comprehend. We speak of Jesus, the Son of God, as being born of a woman. Mary is told when she asks how this could possibly happen, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you-1”.  The Lord, the Giver of Life sanctifies her womb and Mary becomes the Mother of God. ”Let it be done to me according to your word. . .-2  Mary responds to her calling, her vocation.

Let’s take a few steps backward, for a moment. Mary is greeted by the Angel, with the familiar words of “Hail, full of grace-3”.  Mary, being greeted in such fashion, leads the Catholic Church to realize and proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception-4. How could Mary be full of grace? Was she not like every other son or daughter of Eve, tainted with original sin? No, she isn’t. The dogma proclaims that from the first moment of Mary’s own conception, because of her future role as Mother of God, she comes into this world free of original sin. So imbued with God’s grace, Mary gives her fiat, her acceptance to her role.

We try to get our arms around this portion of the Creed, but it seems to defy reality. It does not conform to the way things happen, here on earth. But then, neither does the curing of the sick, by word or touch; neither does the suspension of the law of gravity and thus walking on water; neither does the raising of the dead back to life. None of these conform to the way things happen on earth, but God, the Creator of these laws, can and does override them.

From this beautiful section of the Creed, we see the Divine Love that God has for mankind. We see through the eyes of faith that God was not about to abandon His people, when the first sin was committed. We speak in words that are restricted by time, so we can only say that when this happened, He did such and such. But God has no restrictions of time. The concept of time came with creation. Things are and then, after a period of time, are not, they cease to be. God IS. God exists. His intention is always to be involved with His creation. Such is His love for us.

This was a very difficult section to put on paper. Our faith, our beliefs are not something that we can go out and prove. If we could, they would not be beliefs but proven reality. I feel that this one section, however, is a critical part of our belief. This leads to everything else that we hold dear and sacred. A beautiful prayer to say many times during the day, is: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.                    goto next segment 


-1 Luke 1:34-35
-2 Luke 1:28-38
-3 Luke 1:28
-4 Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma in 1854