Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum! Amen.
Before I start I hope all my readers (the majority of which are American) had a very blessed Thanksgiving yesterday. I hope you spent the day with family and friends thanking the Lord for all the blessings He has given you/us over the past year and always. Don’t get me started on the non-necessary stores (grocery stores … which were only open for a bit … at least around me) being open with sales for “pre-Black Friday” deals. Talk about further undermining family life more!
I know I am a bit early about this but it’s important: 8 December is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary can sometimes be confused with the Virgin Conception and Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The former is the dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from the stain of sin (including and especially original sin) from the very moment of her conception. The Virgin Conception and Birth of Our Lord is the dogma that Our Lady did not lose her virginity conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to Our Lord. Being God, sin isn’t even a part of the picture so we don’t need to worry about that. Unless you are one of those crazy Christological heretics.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, while a commonly held belief held by the faithful previously (much like the dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady), was formally declared as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854 in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. Pope Pius IX defined the dogma in accord with the conditions of papal infallibility (the belief that when the Pope speaks formally on issues of doctrine and morals, he cannot be wrong) though infallibility would not be officially defined until the First Vatican Council in 1870.
The Immaculate Conception was declared the patroness of the United States in 1847 by Pope Pius IX after the American bishops unanimously voted as such. Therefore it only makes sense that the Solemnity that marks her Immaculate Conception (9 months before her Nativity on 8 September) would be a holy day of obligation for Catholics in the United States.
And yes, this year the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM falls on a Saturday. Yes, that means you have to go to Mass two days in a row. More like you have the privilege of going to Mass two days in a row. We live in a country which allows us to go to Mass when we want without persecution. (I will FIGHT the temptation to say “so far”) There are so many other Catholics in the world who are not allowed to go to Mass because their government bans the Faith or cannot assist at Mass because there are not enough priests. When you look at it this way, going to Holy Mass twice really is a privilege (because it is … objectively) that many do not have sadly for one reason or another.
Father Acervo puts it pretty well.
Now beware: you may have someone in your family or in your circle of friends who will complain that they have to go to Mass two days in a row. They may complain about the word “obligation” or about how the Church is all about “rules” [That evil male-dominated, misogynistic, homophobic, archaic Church is so oppressive of my personal spirituality! Ordain womyn or stop dressing like them! … my soul just cried out in pain and agony]. Prepare your answer ahead of time (and feel free to share yours with others in the comments). Might I suggest telling them that disciples don’t whine…and then give them the schedule for confessions?
After I read that last part I couldn’t help but so the three snap thing and think “Oh snap, Father Acervo is on a roll!”
So yeah, plan on going to Mass two days in a row soon. One day to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of she who is immaculately conceived (and she is our nation’s patroness … Lord knows we need her prayers now) and the other to honor the Lord and prepare for His coming at Christmas (it will be the Second Sunday of Advent).
If you ever begrudge “having” to go to Mass remember that going to Holy Mass is a privilege not a burden or “just another unnecessary rule that the Church created and Our Lord didn’t establish (which is a load of malarcky … I have heard that spiel though).” that many in this world are denied or unable to participate in.
So now you can’t say you didn’t know! Ha! Ha! You and your soul can thank me later! lol
Have a nice day!