Today is the vigil of the feast we have tomorrow in the calendar of the Extraordinary Form, as also in the Ordinary Form where this has been granted, such as with the Missionaries of Charity right around the world:
Festum Immaculati Cordis Beatae Mariae Virginis ~ II. classis
Tempora: Feria Quarta infra Hebdomadam XII post Octavam Pentecostes III. Augusti
So, to begin to honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary, how about we review the Emergency Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception? I think that would be a good in these days. After all, it was last year at this time that I put up a first mention of the chaplet with a story about how it started, here.
Basically, the idea, using the rosary, is this:
- Recite your act of contrition on the “Pater noster” beads.
- Ask for the intercession of the Immaculate Conception on the “Ave Maria” beads: “Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
I know that many of you have your own act of contrition.
Over time, as I started to share this, others have had some ideas about this, also on the blog here. I should have jotted them down. I remember one from seminarian Philip, and I received another written out in a letter recently from one of our readers and benefactors. There is another suggestion, often made, about the prayer to Saint Michael. Let’s examine some of these:
(1) Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou!
I’ve written quite a bit about the words Que soy era Immaculada councepciou, the words in the Bigourdan language spoken by our Lady to Saint Bernadette when the later asked her name. Usually translated “I am the Immaculate Conception,” I’m guessing, after quite a bit of analysis, that a closer translation would be: “I am she! Immaculate Conception!” At any rate, Philip had the idea to put these words at the beginning of the chaplet, repeated three times: “I am the Immaculate Conception!” The reason for the repetition, I’m guessing, is to be an aid in placing ourselves in the historical situation of 25 March, 1858, the date when these words were said in the — at the time — horrific conditions at the grotto. Saint Bernadette, not understanding the words in the least, repeated them incessantly, running up to the Parish Priest in the town of Lourdes. When he opened the door of the rectory, there she was, repeating: “I am the Immaculate Conception! I am the Immaculate Conception! I am the Immaculate Conception!” Finally, she was able to explain that this is what the Lady in the grotto said that her name was. Now, to repeat this thrice at the beginning of the chaplet is a most marvelous way to recall how our Lady uses the least amongst us. Bernadette was dirt poor. She basically lived on a heap of horse manure, as the only window in the one room house opened up on top of a hill of horse manure. Her nickname in town was “La petite merdeuse” (The Little Shit). Just like our Lady to appear to The Little Shit while she was collecting firewood in the… wait for it… pig manure of the grotto. Did you ever smell pig manure? At any rate I suppose it would be a bit of a risk that some people, in reciting this, would think that they are the ones immaculately concieved! Instead it is supposed to have the opposite effect. We are so NOT immaculately concieved. It’s a way to start off the chaplet with a bit of humility. Any thoughts? I think it’s a great idea!
(2) The Saint Michael prayer
The addition of the Saint Michael prayer at the end of the chaplet seemed a natural one to many. I agree. In my experience in exorcisms, these two, the Immaculate Conception and Saint Michael, are very powerful by reason of their great humility.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
(3) The sign of the cross
Grabbing the rosary by the crucifix, one makes the sign of the cross, but not done haphazardly, as we might sometimes do, but with full attention. Some things to remember:
- We trace the cross over ourselves. Yikes! The cross is a horrific instrument of torture and death. Jesus, in taking on the kind of death we deserve because of original sin and any other sin, has the right in all justice to have mercy on us. He asks us to take up our cross, the effects of sin (weakness of will, weakness of mind, emotions all over the place, sickness and death), and then follow Him, so that then we know just how far he had to reach to get us, and just how far reaching our thanksgiving to Him must be. Making the sign of the cross over ourselves is our way of saying, “O.K. I’ll do that. I know I’m too weak to do such a thing, but I trust in you, in the friendship you provide.”
- The sign of the cross is made with the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity, the Father who sent the Son, and the Holy Spirit who brings us to the Father through, with and in Jesus.
- We declare that what we are about to do is done “In the Name of…” the Most Holy Trinity. Our perspective, if you will, is that, by the work of the Holy Spirit, we are looking to the Father, through, with and in Jesus, crying out then, “Abba! Father!” We so don’t know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit is in solidarity with us. He is the Paraclete, the One called to our side by the Father and the Son.
- The sign of the cross, if possible, is best done with Holy Water, for this reminds us of our baptismal grace, how we were washed of the guilt of original sin and brought into the life of the Most Holy Trinity.
(4) Your further suggestions
Place in the comments box what you’ve been adding to the chaplet on your own, or what you think would be a good addition.
Perhaps the first “Pater noster” bead right after the crucifix might be reserved for the Memorare, which is very much the emergency request for the intercession of our Blessed Mother, hearkening back even to Genesis 3,15:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
That’s the prayer the neighbor and I have been reciting for the success of the hermitage, should that be God’s will. But, your suggestions…
- G wrote in with this: “Wanted to let you know that I very much appreciate the chaplet you shared. I’ve been praying it regularly with a few accretions. A Confiteor before, a brief exclamation of praise such Laudetur Iesus Christus! after each decade and a Memorare between the last decade and the Saint Michael prayer.”
- But, do you others have suggestions… (I’d like to keep it simple!)