Dark were the days that preceded the birth of the Savior.
Sin had thrown over mankind the pall of ignorance and error, despair of God, and distrust of man.
Even the chosen people knew that they were waiting in the dark night of their race for the coming of the new dawn that was to be their salvation.
When would the morning star rise out of Jacob? When would the sun of justice appear over the horizon of the universe?
The voices of the prophets and the power of the law had grown weak.
Then suddenly there in the heavens–for the angels to see–a new star. It was the dawn star, before the light broke in the East. A faint aurora began to purple the sky. It was the breaking of light over a dark and wintry world.
Mary had conceived, not as men and women since Adam had been conceived–deep in original sin, enslaved in the power of Satan–but immaculate, sinless, free from the guilt of our first parents.
She was the dawn for Christ, the day. She was the aurora for the sun of justice. She was the Immaculate Conception for Him who was to be her Son, the Son of God.
To Mary, born pure to await the pure Savior, we pray:
The Prayer of the Immaculate Conception
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for thy Son, we beseech thee that, as by the foreseen death of this, thy Son, thou didst preserve her from all stain, so too thou wouldst permit us, purified through her intercession, to come unto thee. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
(Copyright 1947 Daniel A. Lord, S.J. Nihil Obstat: John M. Fearns, S.T.D. Imprimatur: Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop, New York)