This Fourth of July, Call On Our Spiritual Mother

As we celebrate our nation’s birth on July 4, it’s a good time to ask Our Lady, Immaculately Conceived, Patroness of the United States of America, to intercede for us, all of us, from sea to shining sea. She is our mother, after all — mother for all of us: those on the left or the right, Democrat or Republican, whatever our ethnicity, race, or even creed. Our Lady is the New Eve, Mother of the New Adam, and the Refuge of Sinners; she has been given the whole human race by God. 

By Chris Sparks

Mary Immaculate is the single greatest creature God has ever made — and in case you did not know, she’s the Patroness of the United States. What an incredible gift given to our country by the Church! 

It’s funny — even non-Catholics sometimes care about which saint is patron of which profession or cause. Everyone loves St. Francis of Assisi, for instance, and will turn to him when their beloved pets are ill or in need. Many people inside and outside of the visible boundaries of the Church turn to St. Anthony of Padua to help them find their lost items, or to St. Rita and St. Jude, patrons of impossible causes.

On some level, in spite of what they claim to believe about the way the world works or the truth of the the Catholic faith, people know that the Communion of Saints is real, and that the members of the Body of Christ have been given mighty spiritual gifts by God.

175 years and counting
And it matters now and into eternity that Our Lady, Immaculately Conceived, is the Patroness of the United States, officially declared so by Pope Bl. Pius IX 175 years ago, on July 2, 1847.

She’s also the Patroness of the Marian Fathers, of course. It’s in their full name: “The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” You can’t get much more Marian than that, as Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, observed once long ago, and followed that visible devotion to Our Lady into the Congregation.

Our country’s history has plenty of lights and shadows, plenty of high achievement and even great sanctity as well as terrible sins and crimes. Who better to turn to as Patroness than she who is both Totally Pure and the Refuge of Sinners? Mary Immaculate has us in her hands, even if we have all too often forgotten that fact. But the more we turn to her with love and trust, as her Son did, the more free she is to act in our nation today and going forward.

Turning point
After all, we live at a turning point for our country and the world. That’s plain to see as we all emerge back into normal life out of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions; as we celebrate the end of Roe v. Wade; as we pray and practice the works of mercy in order to obey God and meet the needs of our neighbors, even in a dramatically divided country. 

We are called to be witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ, practicing mercy and forgiveness in season as well as out of season, even in the midst of a culture war turning more and more ugly. We are meant to be true children of Mary, true brethren of the Prince of Peace, true imitators of His self-sacrificial love and forgiveness, praying for our enemies, especially with the Rosary, the Memorare, and other Marian devotions.

After all, what better way to vanquish a foe than to make them a brother or a sister? What better way to overcome anti-Catholicism than by praying and loving them into Catholicism?

To better help our Marian Helpers practice devotion to Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the Marian Family and of the U.S.A., the Marian Fathers are offering a restored canvas image of a classic work, “Our Lady, Immaculately Conceived” by artist Francesco Smuglewicz. A new pamphlet from Marian Press tells the story of how she became our nation’s patroness and gives the history of that restored image, one of the most iconic parts of the Marian heritage 

Intercession
As we celebrate our nation’s birth on July 4, it’s a good time to ask Our Lady, Immaculately Conceived, to intercede for us, all of us, from sea to shining sea. She is our mother, after all — mother for all of us: those on the left or the right, Democrat or Republican, whatever our ethnicity, race, or even creed. Our Lady is the New Eve, Mother of the New Adam, and the Refuge of Sinners; she has been given the whole human race by God. 

So let us imitate God and bring her everyone we think most needs her intercession. Let us take some time as we pray for our nation to bring to mind those we think most heroic, most patriotic, and pray for them. Let’s also take some time to bring to mind those we think least patriotic, those people whom we are frightened of or feel threatened by, and let’s hand those people to Our Lady, as well. She loves everyone better than we do; she knows what we need better than we do; she is utterly trustworthy, and her intercession is powerful beyond the dreams of everyone here below.

Take all your hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, worries and fears, and give them to Our Lady. Hand her everything, past, present, and future. She has been there for our country; she is here for our country; she will be there for our country. Light a candle before an image of her and say a prayer.

May God bless America, and may Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, keep us all safely in her Immaculate Heart! May she intercede for the conversion of America’s enemies into America’s friends! May her prayers win the conversion of all hearts, the peace that comes from God alone, and true justice and mercy in our wounded nation.

Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!

Visit ShopMercy.org to order a canvas image of “Our Lady, Immaculately Conceived” or the pamphlet “Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception: Patroness of the USA Since 1847”.

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.
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