Sermon of Archbishop Lefebvre

“Thou art all fair, O Mary, and the stain of original sin is not in Thee”

8 December 1977

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

It is by these words which we have just sung that the Church asks us to believe … to believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. And we ought to ask ourselves: “Why did our Lord, why did God wish to choose a creature who was immaculate in her conception?” Could it just be due to the personal merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary…? Is it because this creature pleased God in such a particular way that God willed to exempt her completely from all original fault? Is this why Mary was immaculate in her conception, and never knew domination by the devil?

It would be inexact, and at the same time, it would be to misunderstand the plans of God, the designs of Divine Providence, if we were to limit the Immaculate Conception to some personal privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For in fact, the Immaculate Conception is inscribed … inscribed in the history of humanity as one of the facts of greatest importance, the most fundamental in the history of all mankind.

The Church takes care to remind priests, as they read today's office in their Breviary, that the moment when the Immaculate Conception was announced to the world was not at the special moment we may be thinking of … the Annunciation, when the Angel came to greet Mary and called her “Full of Grace”, telling her that she was to be the Mother of the Saviour. But the announcement of the Immaculate Conception in fact goes back much further, right back to the words God addressed to Satan himself after the sin of our first parents, when God said: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel”.

There! That is the point at which God made known His plan to produce this admirable creature that is the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to render her immaculate in her conception.

“I will put enmities between thee” – between Satan who deceived Eve … who drew her with Adam into sin – “between thee and (the descendants of) the woman” … God had thus foreseen in this way the entire history of mankind. Henceforth there would be the family of Mary, and the family of Satan.

“…between thee – Satan – and the Woman”: “inter te et mulierem”. Henceforth God saw, down through the history of the world, all those who would join the ranks of Satan – all those who would follow Satan, and his maxims, who would submit themselves to him and his suggestions – and all those who would belong to Mary's family. Without doubt, when God said “et semen … illium”, this referred to Jesus Christ, who is the First Descendant of the Virgin, the Son of the Virgin, and in Whom we ourselves become sons of God … by Jesus.

But Jesus Himself is truly the Son of the Virgin Mary; consequently, you see that it really is to Mary's family that we must belong if we want to oppose the family of Satan and not come under the influence of Satan. This is why the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has a primordial importance in theology, in the history of the Church, in the liturgy.

It was in view of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was to be born of the Virgin Mary, that the Virgin Herself was immaculate from her conception. Thus began a family! … A family that totally escaped the rule of Satan … and the first person to be exempt from Satan's domination was the Virgin Mary.

We, of course, do not have this privilege: we are born dominated by Satan. But precisely by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by the grace transmitted to us by the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baptism, by all the graces which we receive, we must conquer, we must win our title of children of God.

And, alas! … it is necessary to say … these two families are not as yet clearly separated. They are – in the course of this trial that has been given us – they are mingled together. The members of the family of the Virgin Mary and the members of Satan's family are found in the same houses; in the same establishments; in the same countries; in the same regions; they pass each other in the streets; they meet and speak together. What will become of Mary's family in these conditions? Will we be protected in our character of the sons of God in the midst of this depraved world?

This is why the Church, whose Mother is Mary … the Church has always desired throughout her history – by the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to follow the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to share more in the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ – the Church has always desired that there should be a “front line”, a particular phalanx. A phalanx of priests, a phalanx of monks and nuns, of people consecrated to God, to show in a public way – to manifest by their lives, their promises, their commitment; by their faithfulness to the virtues of Our Lord Jesus Christ – to show the world that there is a family of the Virgin Mary, and that this family is powerful … that this family is alive … and that this should serve as an example to attract the faithful, to encourage faithful Christians to hold on to their state as children of God.

Throughout the history of the Church it has always been a consoling sight and a wonderful encouragement to see that in the course of centuries whole legions of monks, of nuns, of priests, have arisen: who have consecrated them¬selves to God; who gave their whole lives to God; and who resolved in a public way that they wanted to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ, to carry His Cross with Him, to be true children of Mary. These are the ones who are at the front line in the battle, to make the virtues of Mary better known, to make known the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to save the world.

This is why our Society of St. Pius X – which it has pleased the Good Lord to bring forth in these difficult times – wants to be, and promises to be, in the line of these religious families.

My dear friends, we must really be faithful to our commitments. We must put our whole heart and soul into them, so as to continue this force, this virtue of graces that come from the Blessed Virgin Mary, from Our Lord Jesus Christ across the Church … across all the Church's history.
You must resemble all those who have gone before you in these promises to lead a more perfect life!

Whether it be through vows for our religious brothers and sisters of the Society; whether it be through promises, for you and for the Oblates: it isn't a matter of saying whether or not we are on a “path” that is more or less perfect – speaking canonically or theoretically – but the real question is: do we truly, by our commitments, want to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ?

We DO: we WANT to show forth all the virtues that Our Blessed Lady and that Our Lord Jesus Christ have taught us. We owe them this! We owe them this for the honour of the Church; we owe them this for the salvation of souls; and we owe them this in order to continue what Jesus and Mary have brought down to us here below.

We have no right to be mediocre; we have not the right to listen sometimes to the siren voices of Satan … and at the same time to declare ourselves to be members of the Society of St. Pius X. We must be totally, completely given over to the Good Lord, dedicated to our apostolate without holding anything back. It is only at this price and on this condition that we will be able to do any good around us.

However we see these days, unfortunately, that certain men in the Church … we are obliged to say it and obliged to declare it … certain men of the Church are listening to the serpent, just as Eve did. They continue to follow those – whose “Father” is the devil – who, instead of withdrawing, instead of closing their ears to these fallacious words, keep on listening to them. And under what form do they listen to them? You may wonder, dear friends, just how they listen. I think we can sum it all up in just one word: this fruit which is being offered today to minds and souls by the devil … this fruit of which Eve spoke, saying: “It seemed to me delectable – it seemed to me fair – it seemed to me good” … this forbidden fruit is what is called “Liberty”!

For two centuries Satan has been fooling, deluding, cheating mankind with this fruit, “Liberty” … this poisoned fruit … this equivocal fruit … this falsehood called “freedom”.

And today, alas! … how many Catholics, how many priests, how many bishops, allow themselves to be deceived by this word “Liberty” … let themselves be led astray by Satan?

Whether it concerns religious liberty, whether it concerns freedom of conscience, whether it concerns freedom of thought or freedom of the Press: who is there to say “No!” to these poisoned fruits? Who are they who remain in the way of Obedience? … In the way of Truth? Because the way of Truth IS the way of Obedience …. Obedience to God!

Truth teaches us how to make use of our freedom; Truth puts limits on our freedom. Freedom in itself is not an absolute … an absolute value. As for ourselves, we have chosen, then, to maintain the Truth, and to use our freedom, our liberty, to serve Truth and to do what is good … and not to put ourselves in the service of a so-called “liberty” that knows no bounds: a “liberty” that is no more and no less than licentiousness, freedom to sin, to do whatever one wants; freedom to insult God, to scorn Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is exactly what goes under the name of “Freedom” or “Liberty” nowadays!

And they would like … they would like by obedience to force us to eat of this fruit!! And because you do not want to eat of this fruit which they are offering you, you will be persecuted; you will be considered unfaithful to the Church; unfaithful to the Blessed Virgin Mary; unfaithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh well, we are persuaded to the contrary.

We are faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ; faithful to Our Blessed Lady; faithful to the Church; faithful to the entire Papacy; faithful to the Truth that was taught us: by refusing this false freedom, this lying liberty that is in the process of causing the world to perish. Not only is it causing the world to lose its soul, but also to lose its body – its material goods – as well, through all these wars and atrocities that go on every day … these are the fruits of this poisoned “Liberty”.

And so, in making our commitment to the Society in a few moments, we will do so with this consciousness: that we want to serve, that we want to be obedient … obedient to Our Lord Jesus Christ; obedient to Our Lady; obedient to God’s Law; obedient to the Church, to Holy Church.

We want to be obedient, and we will continue this obedience and make it known to the world. And have no fear, because we are following the footsteps of all those who have gone before us in this army. What we ask of you by the Society – what we ask of you by your commitments, or by vows for the Religious Brothers and Sisters – what we ask of you is what the Church has always asked: to practise the virtues of poverty, of chastity and of obedience … of genuine obedience. These are the virtues that are so despised today that people don't want to hear about them.

Well, you will make them known. You will take the resolution to be poor: to have the spirit of poverty and to live poorly, to be detached from the goods of this world, to be detached from money and from all the goods that money can buy.

You will make the resolution to be chaste, to be pure like the Virgin Mary, so that those who see your way of life will also desire to live purely, chastely. In the gift of yourself to God, live in faithfulness to the commandments of God, and in Obedience – make the resolution to live in obedience – and to be faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to Holy Church.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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