The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the 8th December
The Wind Blows Where it Wills
In the year of Our Lord, the year of grace 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared eighteen times,
over a period of five months, to the Shephard girl Bernadette Soubirous.
Such a phenomenon was hardly a novelty, for over the centuries many different people in many different lands have reported similar visitations from the Mother of God. Therefore, its' no use rationalists denying these things. Are all these people lying? Are they all deluded, or mad? Indeed, if only one was true and the others false, then Heaven would be vindicated.
Neither is there any point in Protestants denying such things. For although the Holy Scriptures are the infallible Word of God and contain all things neccessary for salvation, nevertheless God is no more imprisoned by them than he is by the Sacraments. If he so chooses to operate beyond the confines of both, then he is absolutely free to do so. And foolish would be the Christian man who denies the Divine Sovereignty. For the wind blows where it wills.
Yet at the same time the Catholics should pause for thought here. For centuries their theologians, in their typical heavy scholastic fashion, sought to comprehend the mystery of the Virgin's sinlessness; Anselm and Duns Scotus affirming that she was conceived without sin, and Bernard and Aquinas denying it. But here's a thing. At the height of this debate, a span of some 200 years, heaven made no utterence on the subject. The Virgin herself might have settled it with an appearance and a proclamation. The Papacy itself was undecided, only having Dun's neat, if rather convoluted thesis to go on. But heaven waits another 500 or so years before it speaks, and then, not to over-heated brains like Duns Scotus in tortuous tomes of rationalist theology, but to a simple, uneducated, peasant girl in the Pyrenees. And even then, it is only during the Blessed Virgin's sixteenth apparation, when Bernadette has asked her four times who she is, only then, joining her hands together and raising her eyes to heaven, does the Virgin say, discretly, solemnly, simply, and almost reluctantly, "I am the Immaculate Conception". Perfect. Let earth be still. Let man be silent before the mystery. Hush now Scotus. Stay thy pen, Aquinas. Stop protesting Protestants. Make an end of your rebellion, you rationalists and atheists, and submit your satanic pride to the Holy God, the Lord, and Creator of all.
Humble yourself O man, whoever you are, and "be not rash with your mouth, and let not thy heart utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth." (Eccles. 5:2). For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Both simple shepherds and Wise men prostrate themselves before a child, in a manger, in a stable, before the foolish God; who enters his world as a helpless baby, born in a barn in a poor village in Palestine. What was it that you said Aquinas? That all you had ever written was straw? Then well said, humble Thomas, for in truth you would have been more fitfully employed making hay than manufacturing Summas, as it was upon hay that the Saviour was laid. the truth of God rests upon simplicity not complexity.
Our Lady said to Bernadette "Pray and do penance for sinners".
Man is conceived in sin, the original sin of Adam, as the psalmist affirms (Ps. 50/51 :7). "For the imagination of men's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. 8:21). In an age of willful unbelief and idle doubt, of scientific scholasticism and secular ideology, God vindicates himself to the poor of the world; to the simple, and to the humble, to those who are prepared to become like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In a materialistic age where sex is raised to the heights of mysticsm, and contra-conception and abortion abound, the Holy Mother of God appears as the Immaculate Conception rather than the "practical" non-conception, or the "blessed abortion". In a western world of almost compulsory immodesty and generally approved immorality, the Holy Virgin reminds us that purity, chastity, and modesty are Christ-like virtues and Divinely ordained precepts.
"The eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, that hope in his mercy.
For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"
(Pss. 24:12; 110:10).
Therefore, O man, turn away from the things of the flesh and turn to the things of the spirit. "Be not conformed to this world" (Titus. 2:11). Have faith, and the fear of the Lord will strengthen your spirit, so that you are able to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Look how magnificently the little peasant girl Bernadette, girded with the armour of heaven, overcame the wrath and threats of police commissioners, public prosecutores. and petulant clergy. Her invincible faith confounds a faithless age. Her dignified purity confronts an immoral western world.
"There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries." (Daniel. 2:28)
Praised be Jesus and Mary,