The novena begins.
The Immaculate Conception is the Patroness of the United States. Our Lady of Guadalupe is Empress of the Americas. They are the same Person. The Church conveyed these titles.
I like to enter into this novena without any specific intention or request - if that makes sense. For me it is similar to Pentecost - the nine days of prayer become days of preparation. The Immaculata encompasses and fills our souls, as it were. She, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit fills our soul, I think. She forms our soul. She unites our soul to Christ most chastely and devoutly, somehow. I don't know how to express myself on the subject ... but I'm convinced these days of preparation inform those who seek her.
That said, it occurred to me that when Our Lady appeared at Rue du Bac, she indicated we should indeed ask for favors and graces. There were jewels of light on her fingers, as well as jewels which radiated no light, and St. Catherine asked Our Lady about them. Our Lady said they signified the graces people do not ask for. God is glorified when we ask for favors and graces, and the Blessed Virgin is too - she delights in obtaining and pouring out grace upon grace - especially for our sanctification.
So now I will ask for grace upon grace every day in preparation for this glorious feast.
I like to use prayers such as these ...
Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary,you alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world. - Little Office
Thou art all fair O Mary
and the original stain is not in thee,
O Mary, by thy holy and Immaculate Conception
make my body pure and my spirit holy.
HAIL, Virgin, most wise!Hail, DEITY’S shrine!
with seven fair pillars,
and table divine!
Preserved from the guiltwhich hath come upon us all!
Exempt, in the womb,
from the taint of the fall!
O new Star of Jacob,of angels the Queen!
O Gate of the saints!
O Mother of men!
To Zabulon fearfulas the embattled array!
Be thou of the faithful
the refuge and stay.