The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus the Patronal Feast Day of the United States, a good day to pray to the Blessed Mother for America. It is a day to honor Mary, and to think of the girl she was in the years before she gave birth to Jesus. Today’s featured art is an extremely evocative piece by Francisco de Zurbaran (Spain, 1630-1635) entitled “The Child Virgin Asleep.” As we contemplate our awe and gratitude for the Immaculate Conception of Mary, we also think of and adore her infancy and childhood, Our Lady as a little girl.
Note the three flowers in the bowl on her left (our right): a rose, a lily, and a carnation, each blossom symbolizing a quality of the Immaculate Conception: love, purity and faithfulness.
As we gaze at the face of this beloved child, we can’t help but wonder: what is she dreaming about? Today’s featured music might help with that: the lyrics could be Mary’s prayer as she imagines her future. I offer it as a meditation for this beautiful day. The poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins reminds of who the young girl grew up to be, the mother more essential to our lives than the air we breathe.