Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Immaculate Conception - Ave Maria Purissima

The Eastern Churches have a number of religious salutations - 'funky' was the term I read once used to describe them - like "Glory to Jesus Christ" to which is responded "Glory forever" or "Christ is risen/baptized/born/in our midst" and so forth.

Actually the Western Church has them also, except nowadays they are not so well practiced.

One of the common salutations was this Marian one:


Hail Mary Most Pure
Without sin conceived.

This greeting was the byword of the "Immaculists" during the years when the Immaculate Conception was not yet dogma. It was especially prevalent in Spain and all the Spanish influenced countries particularly in central and South America. Spain particularly was on the side of the Immaculists - the country was placed udner the patronage of the Immaculate Conception and had the Office Sicut Lilium and the Mass Egredimini granted to it.

If you are wondering what I'm nattering about, until the mid 19th century, approx. before the dogma was declared by Pius IX, the de facto Office and Mass for the Immaculate Conception was the same as the Mass and Divine Office for the Nativity, with the word "Nativity" subsituted by "Conception" (no "Immaculate"). However, certain countries and orders were allowed to use a special Office and Mass - Sicut Lilium and Egredimini - which made direct the reference to the Immaculate Conception.

I'm veering off topic so I'd better retun to Spain. Apparently people used to "bawl" it out, according to one Protestant visitor.

I think some effort should be made to restore such pious acclamations to daily use. I'm tempted to answer the phone and say "Ave Maria Purissima?". I'd probably get a non-salutary "Eh?" or hang up in reply, though.

But if I can't use it in real life, I can on the Internet! So for the Immaculate Conception I'm greeting everyone by saying "Ave Maria Purissima".

Sine peccato Concepta!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Spanish, this is the salutation to begin confession in México:

V. Ave María purísima

R. Sin pecado concebida.

And you had better know it word for word, or you could well be sent to the sacristy for confession.

Not that I would have any experience of that ...

Daniel Muller