Sermon for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – December 8, 2019 by Father Paul A. Norton
IN CONCEPTIONE IMMACULATA BEATÆ MARIÆ VIRGINIS
ORIGINAL IN ITALIAN:
Vera Madre son Io d’un Dio che è Figlio
e son figlia di Lui, benché sua Madre;
ab aeterno nacqu’Egli ed è mio Figlio,
in tempo Io nacqui e pur gli sono Madre.
Egli è mio creator ed è mio Figlio,
son Io sua creatura e gli son Madre;
fu prodigo divin l’esser mio Figlio
un Dio eterno, e Me d’aver per Madre.
L’esser quasi è comun tra Madre e Figlio
perché l’esser dal Figlio ebbe la Madre,
e l’esser dalla Madre ebbe anche il Figlio.
Or, se l’esser dal Figlio ebbe la Madre,
o s’ha da dir che fu macchiato il Figlio,
o senza macchia s’ha da dir la Madre.
TRANSLATION IN ENGLISH:
I am the true Mother of a God who is Son,
And I am his daughter, although his Mother I am;
He was born from eternity, and is my Son,
I was born within time, and yet I am his Mother.
He is my creator, and is my Son,
I am his creation, and his mother;
It was a divine marvel that my Son
Was an eternal God, who had Me as his Mother.
Our being is almost shared between Mother and
Because the Mother received her existence from
And the Son also received his existence from his
If, then, the Son received his existence from
We either must say that the Son was stained by
Or we must say that the Mother is without stain.
Usually I begin my sermons with an important
idea that synthetizes the content of the homily.
Sometimes this idea comes from the liturgy of
the day, sometimes from the particular folklore
of certain collectivities, sometimes from the
universal culture and sometimes from the
writings of the Saints.
Today I started this sermon in a very different
way. Could you guess whom I quoted? A Saint?
Well, the author is certainly a spiritual
person. A famous person? He is without doubt
very famous and powerful. A great theologian?
Well, he knows a lot about theology, because
what he knows he received directly from the
source. A figure of universal history? Yes, he
is capable of leading the execution of a plan
throughout history. Believe it or not, I just
started this sermon quoting the Devil.
But why could I do such a thing? For two
reasons: 1) Because the paragraphs I quoted
essentially contain theologically correct
statements and 2) Because of the marvelous way
in which they were composed.
One of my teachers of Sacred Scriptures used to
say: “It’s not enough just to memorize verses of
the bible to be a good Christian, because even
Satan knows well how to quote verses of the
Sacred Scriptures when it suits his plans” and
that becomes clear if we analyze the way in
which Satan tempted Christ and the way in which
his children “prowl around like a roaring lion”
knocking at the doors trying to convert even
Catholics to their sects: All this through the
citation of verses of the Sacred Scriptures.
Anyhow, returning to the mentioned text, it has
an interesting history I will tell you now:
It was the year 1823. The devil had possessed an
illiterate 12-year-old boy, who lived in what is
today the Italian province of Avellino, near
Naples in southern Italy. Two Dominican priests
who were in the city, Fr. Gassiti and Fr.
Pignataro, were both authorized by the bishop to
The priests asked the demon that was possessing
the boy a series of questions, among them, one
about the Immaculate Conception.
The devil admitted that the Virgin of Nazareth
had never been under his power: not even at the
first instant of her life, because she was
conceived “full of grace” and fully belonging to
Although he may be the “father of lies,” the
devil can be forced to tell the truth during an
exorcism, even in matters of faith. This was how
the two exorcists forced him to pay homage to
the Virgin and praise her Immaculate Conception,
Humiliated, the devil was coerced, in the name
of Christ, to sing the glory of Mary, and he did
so by means of a perfect sonnet in Italian.
Last year I talked extensively about the
Immaculate Conception in the writings of the
Theologians, and about the direct message of Our
Lady in Lourdes and Fatima in this regard,
that’s why today I only want to mention that,
because She was crowned by Her Divine Son as the
Universal Queen, the underworld is also obliged
to pay homage to Her.
“Who is she that comes forth as the morning
rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
terrible as an army set in battle array?”1
Yes, the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy
is perhaps the biggest evident sign of the
beginning of the defeat of Satan. Right from Her
conception She began the crushing of the
Serpent’s Head with her humility and through the
merits of Her Son.
The importance of the merits of Christ in the
preservation of Our Lady seems to be indicated
in the liturgy of today, especially in the
Introit of the Mass, which says: “I will
heartily rejoice in the Lord, in my God is the
joy of my soul; for He has clothed me with a
robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of
justice”. Christ clothed Our Lady in Grace and
Justice and elevated Her above all the angels,
which seems a slap to Satan even greater than
that of the Incarnation, due to the solely human
nature of Our Lady.
Our faith in the Immaculate Conception of Mary
required a clarification from the Church
1 Canticle of Canticles 6:9
precisely because it is a truth fully revealed
only through the intervention of the Holy Ghost
who made manifest the Will of God through the
dogmatic definition of the Church, that’s why
many theologians couldn’t specify with total
certainty the authenticity of such a great
mysterious affirmation. Even a great mind like
the one of St. Thomas Aquinas needed the
assistance of Grace to reach such an elevated
Anyway, I would like to finish this short sermon
by saying something practical: As the Celestial
Court confesses together with us the Glorious
Immaculate Conception of Mary, hell is also
forced to confess that truth (as I mentioned
before), but not only hell, also the living
enemies of Christ that work against Him on this
earth confess in word and deeds that their
rejection of Mary Immaculately conceived is what
puts them in the miserable state in which they
are, and one clear example of this state is
feminism: I’m convinced that, due to the
rejection of Mary Most Holy is why Feminism was
born in countries with a protestant majority.
May the Feast we celebrate today be a continuous
remembrance for us to imitate the virtues of
Mary in the pursuit of our destiny having always
present these words of St. Therese of Lisieux:
“The world is thy ship, not thy home”.