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November 30, 2011
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! I thank you for your prayers and for the love you show toward me. I invite you to decide to pray for my intentions. Dear children, offer novenas, making sacrifices wherein you feel the most bound. I want your life to be bound to me. I am your Mother, little children, and I do not want Satan to deceive you for He wants to lead you the wrong way, but he cannot if you do not permit him. Therefore, little children, renew prayer in your hearts, and then you will understand my call and my live desire to help you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (July 25, 1993)
In this message from 1993 Our Lady urges us to offer novenas! She urges us to use this little method of prayer, in which we take nine days and set them aside to pray in a special way. The novena is often focused on a feast day of a saint or a special day in the Church year. Our present novena is focused on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are praying for Our Lady's intentions and for a deeper understanding of our own conceptions and the joy of our creation by God.
To help us go deeper into the mystery of Our Lady's conception and our own, I want to quote from Fr. Jacques Philippe. In his book Called to Life, he writes about the healing of our identity, which includes understanding our creation, our conception:
God's Word, transmitted by Scripture, helps us to live as the children of God that we are. Discovering this profound identity is imperative, for otherwise we are in danger of adopting false identities unable to withstand the trials that inevitably lie ahead. God's Word, addressed to us by the father, tells us who and what we truly are.
Two fundamental words constitute our identity. The first word, as we already have seen, is the Word of creation that drew us from nothingness into being - God's animating, tender, merciful word, "See, I want you to live!" Creation, however, is not just a past event. It is God's continuing action sustaining us in existence. If God were to stop loving us and thinking of us for even one second, we would return to nothing. We are recipients and interlocutors of this creative word all through our lives.
The second word is the one inscribed upon us at baptism. It extends and deepens the Word of creation by giving us a much fuller life - the life of grace, filial adoption in Christ, participation in the life of the Trinity. We hear it in Scripture, especially on the occasion of Jesus' baptism: "You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). The same might be said
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of us in virtue of our own baptism by which we become children in the Son.
All God's Words support us and invite us fully to become the filial life given us in Christ. They contain a gift and a call: the gift of being God's children and the call to grow in openness to the gift by cultivating simplicity, confidence, resignation, acceptance of the divine will, and thanksgiving. The spiritual life is something like a memory game whose objective is to re-establish contact especially with the two grace-filled words that already dwell in us and constitute our identity, in order to make them living and fruitful.
All this has enormous importance today, when many people no longer know to what or to whom they owe their existence. Anguish and insecurity and a sense of emptiness are the result. "Scientific", atheistic culture encourages one to imagine that existence is the product of blind determinism (evolution, the mindless interaction of genes, and so forth) or a more or less haphazard coming together of a man and a woman who made love without any thought of the new life that might come into existence. Often enough, in fact, that new life is seen as a failure of contraception. (I know someone whose life began when a condom ruptured.) Psychologists speak of the "survivor's syndrome" visible in the angst of a child born into a family in which there were several abortions: "Why is it that I escaped and not the others?"
Add to that the impact of being told that earth is only a small planet near an unremarkable star, in a remote corner of one galaxy among billions, and that the difference between humans and animals is not as great as we once thought, and how can anyone feel loved and wanted? The universe could get along without us. Humans are useless products of an impersonal cosmos. If contemporary secular culture makes anything clear, it is this: The rejection of God breeds self-disgust.
The only remedy for this wound to human consciousness is the sense of our filiation, the discovery of our divine parentage. Whatever the circumstances of my conception and birth, my existence itself means that I was wanted, chosen, and loved by an unimaginably tender, pure, unconditional, and generous lover: our creator God. How urgently we need to regain contact with our origins in the creative act of God!
The Word of God offers us this contact. Scripture gives us access to the word already mysteriously inscribed within us: "I said to you: Live!" (Ezek 16:6)
(Father Jacques Philippe. Called to Life. Scepter Publishers. 2008. P. 49-52)
Father Philippe is so right. We need to know that we are God's children. God called us into being at our conception, and He has never left our side. He has great plans for us, if only we can connect with Him, and receive His love. We need no longer be bound by fear or sadness, by doubt about our self-worth or our identity. We are children of God with eternity as our future. We are loved and desired by the One who made us. And Our Lady in her Immaculate Conception is for us a beacon of hope and a glimpse into our future! She is drawing us into our rightful place in the Kingdom of God, through love.
The Novena continues:
Prayer to the Immaculate Conception
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
O Mary, ever blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Queen of angels and of saints, we salute you with the most profound veneration and filial devotion as we contemplate your holy Immaculate Conception, We thank you for your maternal protection and for the many blessings that we have received through your wondrous mercy and most powerful intercession. In all our necessities we have recourse to you with unbounded confidence. O Mother of Mercy, we beseech you now to hear our prayer and to obtain for us of your Divine Son the favor that we so earnestly request in this novena...(State your intention here...)
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be God's Will. Amen.
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (found at:
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!