Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mary's Immaculate Conception

Today was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a Holy day of Obligation. So of course, Mass was on the agenda for today. For those unfamiliar, the Immaculate Conception of Mary refers to her own conception, not the conception of Jesus. As a child, I thought that it referred to Jesus's conception, and many, many Catholics have that misconception. Mary's Immaculate Conception means the moment she was conceived in her mother's (St. Anne's) womb, and that she was kept free from the stain of original sin, or "immaculate," from the very beginning. The reasons for this belief have roots in the history of the Church which are Biblically-based. At a basic level, Mary had to be pure since she was to be "home" to God for nine months. God cannot dwell within something tainted with sin and needed a place of purity in which to dwell. Mary is sometimes referred to as the "Ark of the New Covenant." The ark which contained the old covenant, God's written law, was made to very perfect specifications. Mary, in order to "hold" Jesus inside her, had to also be made perfectly. It does not mean she is equivalent to God, but that He chose to create her this way. The parallels between Mary and the ark from the Old Testament are very interesting, and a far better explanation than I could type up is found here. It is a pretty short read. The article sums it up nicely at the end: "Even if someone rejects Catholic teaching regarding Mary, he cannot deny that Catholics have scriptural foundations for it. And it is a teaching that has been taught by Christians from ancient times."

For more explanation on the Immaculate Conception, click here.


We had blueberry bran muffins for breakfast, blue being Mary's traditional color. I love how easy it is to celebrate Marian days with food... just make something blue! ;) These muffins were absolutely delicious... I made them the evening before, and we warmed them in the microwave in the morning. Even Cecilia, who doesn't really eat breads all that heavily, ate two of these! They are healthy, low-fat, and good!! I used more blueberries than it called for in the recipe... between 1.5 and 2 cups. Oh, and they were frozen berries, which worked fine.

An easy breakfast is what we needed in order to be out the door and at Mass on the other side of town at 9:30! Just add a bowl of yogurt for the girls, and they have a complete, filling breakfast (my kids eat like ravenous vultures most mornings! ;).

Mass was held at the parish school, in their gym. The girls were happy that Immaculate Mary was one of the hymns: we had practiced it together on the drive to Mass!

After Mass, we went to Wal-Mart to do our angel tree shopping. Our gifts are due at the church this weekend. Now to make time to wrap them! For the fun of it, we stopped at Starbuck's on the way home for a morning snack. I had noticed a couple weeks ago that they had bite-sized (more like 3 or 4 adult-sized bites, in my opinion!) vanilla scones for 95 cents each, so I got one for the girls to share... the white being a symbol of purity and all, it was a treat for this feast day. And I got to get a small cup of coffee (I refuse to learn - or say when ordering - those dumb made-up Starbucks sizes... Venti? Grande? What do those mean? Especially when the small one sounds larger than it is, and shouldn't a "grande" be the biggest size of all? Or is it?)! I was surprised how well this came out, considering i took it with my phone!


I just love this coloring page from Catholic Icing, because it really illustrates what the Immaculate Conception is in a way that kids can understand! Most images of Mary as the Immaculate Conception are of her as an adult - it is a title given to her, and she said to Bernadette at Lourdes, "I am the Immaculate Conception." There just aren't images out there where artists have portrayed "The Immaculate Conception" as a tiny baby in the womb!

Cecilia begrudgingly opted for colored pencils... she wants to use markers like Caroline. I told her she can use them when she is three... what am I getting myself into? She'll be three in about a month and a half!

Here's their finished work... I colored the halo and green parts of the tree on Cecilia's. Caroline's includes some squirrels and St. Joachim (Mary's father) standing in the background. I like how the apple tree and serpent are pictured in the background, symbolizing Mary as "the New Eve."

We made our Christ candle today... this will be the white candle in the center of our Advent wreath beginning on Christmas Eve all throughout the Christmas season. It is a plain white candle, and I got the idea here on Charlotte's blog on how to decorate it. I found the image by searching online and then printing it onto cardstock with my laser printer (inkjet would probably make the color run when the glue goes on). Then I cut around the image and put glue on the back...

...stuck the image to the candle, and had the girls put about 20something rubber bands around it to secure it until it dried.

Isn't it lovely? ;)

After it dried, we removed the rubber bands, and the girls stuck some gold adhesive-backed sequins on (you wouldn't think that would be a huge ordeal, but at 5:45 in the evening, even the simplest of tasks can become an argument, especially for non-napping two year olds! ;)

I was really pleased with how it turned out! I love this image... it can be found here.

Then we covered the Christ candle in a white piece of tulle and tied it with a blue ribbon. This symbolizes Mary, in her purity, who is to give birth to Our Lord. We will remove the cover on Christmas Eve to reveal the newborn Christ!


Easy again.. white food on a blue tablecloth. We had shrimp fettuccine alfredo (but used angel hair pasta, which is what I had on hand), cauliflower with white cheddar cheese melted on top (again, white cheddar is just what we happen to be buying lately - it is cheapest at Wal-Mart! ;), and rolls (which, as Caroline pointed out, were brown and not white - sacrilege! ;).

Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary!

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