SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
Q. Which are the feasts in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary?
A. These; the conception, nativity, presentation, annunciation, visitation, assumption, and purification.
Q. What is the conception ?
A. A feast in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary being conceived in her mothers womb.
Q. What is to be observed in her conception?
A. First, she was conceived in her mothers old age, St. Anne being her mother, and St. Joachim her father; secondly, she was sanctified in her mother's womb; thirdly, she was exempted from the guilt of original sin, as is piously believed, though not an article of faith.
Q. What is the nativity of the blessed Virgin ?
A. A feast in honor of her happy birth, of j whom the Author of all life and salvation, was I to be born to the world; he was both God and man, and by consequence, she was the mother of God, and in this she is to be honored above all other women.
Q. What is the presentation of the blessed Virgin ?
A. A feast in memory of her being offered by her parents, at three years of age, in the temple.
Q. What is the annunciation, or Lady-day?
A. It is a feast in memory of the most happy message, or embassy, brought to her by the angel Gabriel, signifying that she was to be the mother of God, and of a Redeemer. It is also the day of our Lord's incarnation, when he was first conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary; and it is called the annunciation, from the message brought from heaven this day to the blessed Virgin; St. Luke i.
Q. What is the visitation?
A. It is in memory of her visit made to St. Elizabeth, mother of St. John Baptist, after she had conceived the Son of God, at whose presence, St. John Baptist leaped into his mother's womb.
Q. What is the assumption ?
A. A feast in memory of her being assumed, or taken up into heaven, both body and soul, immediately after her decease.
Q. Is it an article of faith, that she was bodily carried into heaven ?
A. No; it is only piously and generally believed to have happened, by a particular privilege, as by a particular privilege her soul was free from original sin, so it was congruous that her body should not be subject to corruption, for the Church piously believes, agreeably to the doctrine of the ancient fathers and the council of Trent, that she was never guilty of any actual sin.
Q. What means the feast of the purification, or Candlemas day ?
A. It is the feast in memory both of the presentation of our blessed Saviour, and of the purification of the blessed Virgin, made in the temple of Jerusalem, the fortieth day after her happy child-birth: for it was a ceremony practiced in the old law, and renewed in the new; whereby a mother was obliged to appear in the temple, and return thanks, forty days after the birth of her child. It is called purification, from the Latin word purifico, to purify; not that the blessed Virgin was tainted with any sin, or anything by her childbirth, which needed purifying, as being the mother of purity itself, but in compliance with the ceremony, which was according to the law of Moses, as we read in Leviticus xii. 6, and as our Saviour Christ submitted to circumcision. Upon this day, the Church makes a solemn procession, with lighted candles, which are blessed by the priest before mass, and carried in the hands of the faithful, as an emblem of Christ, who is the light of the world; and from this ceremony it is called Candlemas day.