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Feast of The Assumption

 

Feastday August 15th             Holy Day of Obligation

 

Feast of The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven

On this day the Church celebrates, in honor of Mary, two solemn festivals;
the first is that of her happy passage from this world;
the second, that of her glorious Assumption into Heaven.

 

"... The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin,
when the course of her earthly life was finished,
was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory,
and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things,
so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son,
the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."
Pius XII -- Munificentissimus Deus

Belief that Mary has been taken up and is now in heaven
with both her body and her soul
has been part of the teaching of the Catholic Church
since the earliest centuries of Christianity.

The strongest evidence for the belief of the early Christians
is found in ancient liturgies and in homilies in honor of Mary's passing.

A second source, widely spread in the Middle Ages
is known as the Transitus writings.

By the end of the Middle Ages, belief in Mary's Assumption into heaven
was well established theologically and part of
the devotional expressions of the people.

The word Assumption comes from the Latin verb assumere,
meaning "to take to oneself."

Mary did not ascend as Jesus ascended of His own power,
but was "assumed," taken up by the power of God.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ took Mary home to Himself where He is.

 

 

The fact that Mary's body had been assumed into heaven
had been accepted by virtually all Roman Catholics
and by many other Christians for centuries.

It was not until our own day, however, that it was made a dogma of the Church.

From the earliest times Christians believed
that the body of the Mother of God, who was never stained by original sin,
had not been corrupted by death.

There was a strong tradition that Mary died quietly and peacefully
amidst the Apostles.

Her death, according to this tradition, was not like other deaths
which are accompanied by suffering, reluctance to leave this world,
and a fear of the unknown.

Her death, rather, was an act of pure love,
an intense desire to be re-united with her Son.

A short time after her burial, according to this tradition,
the Apostles visited her tomb and found it empty.

 

Mary's Assumption reminds us that she who is in heaven
body and soul is our Mother,
the Mother of God,
the Queen of Heaven and the eternal enemy of Satan.

She loves us more than we can possibly love ourselves,

and she is our powerful intercessor.

What we ask in her name, she will obtain for us.

With God everything is possible, and God can refuse His Mother nothing.

There is no reason for despair so long as Mary reigns as Queen of Heaven.

The Assumption also reminds us that our final goal
is not on this earth but in heaven.

If we live according to God's laws,
our body and soul will someday be reunited in heaven,
as Mary's are.

The troubles we face in this world will be forgotten
in the eternal happiness of heaven.


The definition of the Assumption proclaims again
the doctrine of our Resurrection,
the eternal destiny of each human body.

And it is the history of Mary which maintains the doctrine it its clarity.

The Resurrection of Mary forecasts the resurrection of each one of us.

 

 

Mary's Burial place is Venerated

 

The tomb of the Blessed Virgin is venerated in the Valley of Cedron,
near Jerusalem.

Modern writers hold, however, that Mary died and was buried at Ephesus.


It is a little room with a bench hewn from the rocky mass
in imitation of the tomb of Christ.
This has given it the shape of a cubical edicule,
about ten feet in circumference and eight feet high.
Until the fourteenth century the little monument was covered
with magnificent marble slabs
and the walls of the church were covered with frescoes.

Since 1187 the tomb has been the property
of the Muslim Government which nevertheless authorizes the Christians
to officiate in it.

 

To thee,  we return, O fruitful Virgin, spotless Mother.
Maiden not knowing man, ennobled not polluted by thy Son.
O happy one! the joy thou didst conceive thou hast transmitted to us.
We were glad at thy birth, we exulted at thy pure delivery,
and in like manner we glory in thy passing.
It were a small thing that Christ sanctified thee
at thine entrance into the world,
had He not also honoured thee,
O worthy Mother, at thy departure hence.
Justly then did thy Son joyfully receive thee in thy Assumption,
for thou didst lovingly receive Him when thou didst conceive Him by faith.
Thou knewest nought of earth's bonds:
how could that rocky tomb hold thee prisoner?

O soul redeemed amidst unwonted marvels!
The Apostles pay thee the last sacred duties;
the Angels sing thy praises;
Christ welcomes thee with His embrace;
a cloud is thy chariot; thou art assumed into Paradise,
there to reign in glory as Queen of the choirs of Virgins.

We extol thee, O Mother of God ; for from thee was born Christ,
saving all who glorify thee, O holy Lady, Mother of God,
give unto us thy sanctifying graces.

ORATIO

Behold, O Lord God, the glorious Virgin Mary,
who from the valley of tears and the desert of this world
is known to have been taken up this day,
leaning upon her Beloved, thine only begotten Son and her Son,
even to an unspeakable height.
We show, as it were, her special seal and most precious jewel,
when we confess the unity of nature
between the Immaculate Mother
and the human Body taken of her by the Divinity.
Therefore we beseech Thee, O ineffable, Most High God,
that thither all our energy may turn,
whither on this day precedes us in her mighty love,
our worthy advocate, the most Blessed Virgin.

 Amen.