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From "On the Immaculate Conception"

by  St. Francis Anthony of Lucera

How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O Daughter of the Prince!  (Cant. 7:2) First Consideration O soul, ponder how, transparent and pure as She was from the very  moment of Her Immaculate Conception, Mary came forth from the  Most High God as the first-born Daughter of all creation, formed by  His creative word. Her appearance on earth was like the first immaculate ray of  light...the sun, the moon, the stars, all of nature, the whole visible and  invisible world bowed at Her feet as She walked the earth: How  beautiful are your sandaled feet, O Daughter of the Prince! Oh! so beautiful are the steps of Mary as She walks through  life!...And You, O soul, who meditate on them now, what steps have  you taken with your feet since reaching the use of reason? Were they  meritorious or not?...And from that time, over the course of so many  years, what have you accomplished for the good of your soul?...for  your growth in holiness? And where are you going now?...Are your  steps taking you toward God or away from Him? O Immaculate Virgin, loveliest Daughter of the Most High Prince,  perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths (Ps. 16:5). Direct and keep, we  beg You, our steps strictly upon Your paths as we strive to follow in  Your sacred footprints! Second Consideration Ponder, O soul, how Mary is said to progress through life on  beautifully sandaled feet. In connection with the Saints, sandaled feet  signify their interior affections, perfected and strengthened by the  virtues...Mary from the first moment of Her existence was always  most pure and perfect. Her thoughts, Her affections, Her desires, and  Her plans were always strengthened and embellished by admirable  virtues. Like fragrant flowers, they filled all Her surroundings with  sweet fragrance, without any foul odor or dark cloud ever to tarnish  or diminish their beauty. And you, O soul who meditate on Her affections, you wander through  the impure desert of this earthly pilgrimage with nary a thought as to  how you might strengthen yourself with all the necessary virtues. Courage! Today, lift up your spirit! Away with the impurities  surrounding you. Fortify yourself with the shield of holy virtues so  that you can walk as Mary did, and attain the blessings awaiting you  in Paradise. O Mary, most pure among all creatures, direct our feet,  strengthen our affections as we strive to imitate Your holy virtues! Third Consideration O soul, ponder how Mary who, after Her Son, is the first-born  Daughter of the Most High God, is called par excellence Daughter of  the Prince, that is, the most beloved, dearest, worthiest of Her Prince  Father, God. And this filiation which Mary had by Her Immaculate  Conception She always kept inviolate...never did She weaken it by  disobedience. Rather, She continued wondrously to enhance it  through the complete observance of the Law and absolute conformity  to the will of Her heavenly Father. O Mary, most beautiful, You were always a Daughter and never a  slave, always a Daughter of grace and never a slave of sin! And you, O soul who meditate on Her filiation, how have you  treasured the filiation God gave you through grace at your holy  Baptism?...Whose son or daughter have you been for so long a  time?...And whose child are you now?...In charity recover anew that  divine filiation. Never lose it again...Propose now, firmly, nevermore  to be a child of Eve, a slave of sin, but a child of Mary, first-born  Daughter among all creatures, and Mother of all graces.
 

 

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