The Immaculate Conception.
Hail, City of Refuge, hail, David's High Tower,
With battlements crowned and girded with power.
Filled at thy Conception with love and with light,
The dragon by thee was shorn of his might.
O Woman most valiant, O Judith thrice blest,
As David was nursed in fair Abisag's breast;
As the Saviour of Egypt upon Rachel's knee,
So the world's great Redeemer was cherished by thee.
In his book on Carmelite spirituality, Pere Marie-Eugene, OCD, points to Our Lady as our help and model in the dark night. So many spiritual writers today refer to our times as a dark night of faith for the Church. It seems so to me, and of course, with Advent, we are awakened in anticipation for the light of Christ on Christmas. Our Lady is the dawn.
Her presence is quiet, and interior for those who live with her, and in her. "This life with Mary and in Mary has thereafter its deep foundations in a purified spiritual love; it radiates exteriorly in continual and touching manifestations." (P. Marie-Eugene) Yet Our Lady "does not dispel the darkness nor do away with the suffering" of the night. The darkness is as it were necessary "for the purification and development of love." Perhaps I'm unable to apply this intelligibly to the crisis in the Church and how it affects many of the faithful, but these considerations seem to help me.
Just as with the individual soul, Our Lady's interventions do not obstruct the Divine purpose. As P. Marie-Eugene says: "Mary excels in intervening without disturbing the realization of God's design, without diminishing the salutory power of his light, nor the efficacy of his action. She does of course intervene; but her manifestations are of a delicacy so subtle, so tender." The author compares it to the episode in the life of S. Therese and the sweet smile Our Lady gave to Therese when she had been so sick.
It seems to me that the reports of apparitions over the past decades can be seen in a comparable manner to the Blessed Virgin's interventions in the lives of the saints, who experienced the dark night. Following her requests, especially those requests to avoid sin, keep the commandments and pray her rosary, is the way to find in her refuge and support in difficult times.
Hail, dial of Achaz, on thee the true Sun
Told backward the course which from old He had run.
And that man might be raised, submitting to shame,
A little more low than the Angels became.
Thou wrapt in the blaze of His Infinite Light,
Doth shine as the morn on the confines of night.
As the moon on the lost through obscurity dawns,
The serpent's destroyer, a lily amid thorns.