Today begins the popular novena of the Immaculate Conception, which last for 9 days until the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception on 8 December.
The novena prayer for today opens as follows:
Behold me at thy sacred feet, O Immaculate Virgin. I rejoice with thee, because from all eternity thou wast elected to be the Mother of the Eternal Word, and wast preserved stainless from the taint of original sin.
Inviolata is an 11th century hymn of praise for Mary. It is sung here by the Benedictine monks of the abbey of Saint Maurice and Saint Maur of Clervaux.
Inviolate, spotless and pure art thou, O Mary, who wast made the radiant gate of the King. Holy mother of Christ most dear, receive our devout hymn and praise. Our hearts and tongues now ask of thee, that our souls and bodies may be pure. By thy sweet sounding prayers, obtain for us forgiveness forever. O gracious one, O queen, O Mary, who alone among women art inviolate.
You are the Queen of heaven, the mistress of the universe; in short, you are the Mother of God. You are great, but your greatness does not prevent, nay, even it inclines you to greater compassion towards us in our miseries.
And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel.
And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.
The introit Hail Holy Mother is traditionally sung at the beginning of the Catholic votive Mass in honour of Mary. It dates from the 13th or the 14th century, when it was already sung on most Marian feasts.
Hail Holy Mother, who in childbirth didst bring forth the King Who ruleth heaven and earth world without end. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King.