|Master of the Winking Eyes, Madonna and Child, ca. 1450|
Mary constantly showers down graces and favours on the faithful, and so has won the prerogative all-powerful intercessor. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Christians know that they can reach God through his Mother. She is our shortcut — the most direct path to God for us. Our love for her is shown in our continually coming up with new ways of expressing affection for her. We begin the Novena leading to the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception by trying to offer Our Lady something special each day.DAY 1: MORNING STAR
Our Lady's appearance is the first ray of dawn that shines forth in the world. She rises over the horizon and is the forerunner to the brilliant splendour of salvation that will enter the world through Jesus Christ.Here is the novena for the first day.
* The Immaculate Conception is a belief in the Catholic church, as well as some Protestant denominations, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was protected by God from the original sin during her own conception. Since she subsequently lived a life completely free from sin, this makes her perfectly pure. The idea of the Immaculate Conception is often confused with the doctrine of the Incarnation and Virgin Birth of Christ. The Immaculate Conception was defined as dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854 and consecrated by Pope Pius XII in 1942. However, this tradition had existed within the Catholic church for more than a millenium. Eastern Orthodox Christians do not believe in the Immaculate Conception, because they have a different view of the original sin from Catholics, and in their tradition, it would be unnecessary for Mary to require divine purification from this. The majority of Protestants reject the idea because it is not explicitly stated in the Bible. (Description from Olga's Art Gallery.)