Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meditation for the Feast of the Assumption

Nicolas Poussin. The Assumption of the Virgin. 1650's.

Friday, August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption. It is a day prescribed by the Church for all Catholics to rejoice at the glory with which God has enriched His Holy Mother. In the United States, it is still a Holy Day of Obligation, but not in Canada, where our bishops have moved so many feast days to the closest Sunday. I am fortunate to have Friday off, so I will be attending the High Mass at the FSSP parish in Vancouver. It is well worth the forty-five minute drive.

Below is a meditation from St. Alphonsus' The Glories of Mary for the Feast of the Assumption.

Mary died, but how did she die? She died entirely detached from all created things; she died consumed by that Divine Love which during her whole life had always inflamed her most holy heart.

O holy Mother, thou hast already left the earth; do not forget us miserable pilgrims who remain in this valley of tears, struggling against so many enemies who wish to drag us to hell. Ah, by the merits of thy precious death be graciously pleased to obtain for us detachment from earthly things, the forgiveness of our sins, love of God, and holy perseverance; and when the hour of our death arrives, help us from heaven with thy prayers, and obtain for us that we may kiss thy feet in Paradise.

Mary died, and her most pure body was carried by the holy Apostles and placed in the sepulcher, where it was guarded by angels for three days; after which it was transported to Paradise; but her beautiful soul entered the Blessed Kingdom at the very moment in which she expired, accompanied by innumerable angels, and also accompanied by her Son Himself. When she had entered heaven, she humbly presented herself before God, adored Him, and with immense feeling thanked Him for the many graces He had bestowed upon her.

God embraced her, blessed her, and declared her Queen of the Universe, exalting her above all the angels and saints. But now, if, as the Apostle says, the human mind cannot comprehend the immense glory which God has prepared for His servants who have loved Him in this world, how great must be the glory which He bestowed on this most holy Mother, who on earth loved Him more than all the saints and angels, and loved Him with all her strength; so that when Mary entered heaven she alone could say to God, "O Lord, if on earth I did not love Thee as much as thou deservest, at least I loved Thee as much as I could love Thee."


smiley007 said...

What a beautiful mass today. But what crowed the day was the evening. After the rain the sun was setting in the west and in the east was the most beautiful rainbow. What a crown for Our Loving Mother.
Salve Maria.
Please tell me how i can post the picture

paramedicgirl said...

Smiley, I'm not sure if you can post the pic here; I don't think Blogger has the format for it.

Mass tonight was beautiful,but it was so hot in the church, I started to feel nauseous at the end where Father and the two other priests were praying the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. I'm afraid I missed out on the beauty of that Litany due to the heat.

smiley007 said...

The following text is taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on August 14, 1965. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. – Ed.

The Assumption was a beautiful favor God granted to His mother. It began when Our Lady, very suavely died. Her passing is customarily called Our Lady’s dormition because the grace with which she passed from this life and the short elapse before her resurrection, made her death seem more like a dream.

After death, Our Lady resurrected, in imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God then assumed her, body and soul, into Heaven, in the presence of the Apostles and many of the faithful.

The Assumption was a true glorification of Our Lady before the eyes of men and will remain so until the end of the world. Nevertheless, it was a mere foreshadowing of the glory she received in Heaven.

To benefit fully from this mystery, we will make a “composition of place,” according to the method of Saint Ignatius. Thus, we will imagine how the Assumption took place. In this, we are free to reconstruct the event as best conforms to our piety, because there are no detailed descriptions of it.

So we begin, imagining the Apostles, assembled before Our Lady’s body, on their knees in prayer. The presence of all the princes of the Church made the atmosphere ineffable, noble, sublime and recollected. Their countenances mimicked those found in the paintings of Fra Angelico.

Professor de Oliveira was very fond of Fra Angelico's artwork.
Meanwhile, the Angels in Heaven were slowly gathering and filling the celestial court. Their faces were also like those portrayed by Fra Angelico. Empyrean Heaven was filled with the most diverse, yet nuanced, colors that radiated in such a way, as to create a truly incomparable scene.

Certainly, things could have happened this way, for if Our Lady was able to fill the sky with such diverse colors during the miracle of the sun at Fatima, why could she not have filled Heaven with colors on the day of her Assumption?

Her soul descended to earth and reunited with her bod, revivifying it. She then stood up, body and soul, as the respect and recollection of all those around increased. The physical similarity between her and Our Lord, as mother and Son, was more apparent than usual. Also present, the Savior stood, transfigured, before her and increasingly communicated Himself to her.

As a result, her majesty and queenliness increased together with her motherly kindness. Everything about her that was most intimate was supremely manifested at that moment.

Some Angels – perhaps the most splendid of Heaven – approached and began to lift her upwards. As she slowly rose, the skies were marvelously transformed, until little by little, they returned to their normal state and the witnesses dispersed with a sensation similar to what they had experienced when Our Lord ascended.

They were filled with reverence and awe. The event had shown them that Our Lady was greater than anything they had dared imagine. However, their admiration was already transfixed by deep longings for their motherly queen, who would no longer be with them.

Meanwhile in Heaven, Our Lady’s triumph was just beginning. The entire Church Triumphant received her, especially Saint Joseph. Our Lord welcomed her and the Holy Trinity crowned her as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

These two aspects show the glorification of Our Lady before the Church Triumphant and Militant. And what about the Church Suffering?

Certainly, the souls in Purgatory were also inundated with graces. It is not too audacious to suppose that the Queen of Heaven took most of them to Heaven that day. Thus, there was exuberance throughout the entire Church.

I believe something similar to this will be repeated at the onset of the Reign of Mary,[1] prophesied by Saint Louis de Montfort, when we will see the world transformed and Our Lady’s glory shining on earth.

Her reign will begin with marvelous days of graces, the likes of which have seldom, if ever, been seen before. Our Lady’s magnificence must be thus projected before the eyes of men. To understand why, we need only think of the tremendous celebrations men have prepared for victorious war leaders throughout history.

For example: the enormous ticker tape parade given for General MacArthur in 1951 and the tremendous feasts the Romans prepared for victorious generals show that men understand that the glory of a conqueror must be made manifest.

Since Our Lord is infinitely more generous than men and Our Lady’s victory will be greater than that of any conqueror, He will certainly usher in her triumph in an immeasurably greater way than these celebrations. Her glory will shine before men like it did during the Assumption.

We should meditate on this as we approach the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption. We should also consider which virtue we should ask of her on this holy day. Certainly, everyone should ask for the virtue he most lacks. However, this does not prevent us from asking Our Lady for a sense of her glory and the understanding that everything in Creation represents her splendor.

Since she is the highest created expression of God, we should struggle to defend and strive to establish the highest possible expression of her spirit on earth. This will make us true knights and crusaders of Our Lady, struggling for her glory on earth. I believe this is the most proper virtue for which to ask on the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.


1. The great Marian saint spoke numerous times of a coming, worldwide rebirth of the Church and Christian civilization, which he called the “Reign of Mary.” Such a prediction fits perfectly with the promise Our Lady made at Fatima, when she said: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”

paramedicgirl said...

Very interesting article Smiley. Thanks for submitting it. Maybe I'll post it for next year's Feast of the Assumption.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I would have sworn that Marian feast days could not be moved...something I'll have to look into. Though I do believe an individual Bishop has the power to give you your Holy Days back.