August 14th - Vigil of the Assumption
August 14 – Vigil of the Assumption
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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What is this aurora before which the brightest constellations pale? Laurence, who has been shining in the August heavens as an incomparable star, is well nigh eclipsed, and becomes but the humble satellite of the Queen of Saints, whose triumph is preparing beyond the clouds.

Mary stayed on earth after her Son’s Ascension, in order to give birth to his Church; but she could not remain forever in exile. Yet she was not to take her flight to heaven until this new fruit of her maternity had acquired the growth and strength which it belongs to a mother to give. How sweet to the Church was this dependence! A privilege given to her members by our Lord in imitation of himself. As we saw at Christmas time, the God-Man carried first in the arms of his Mother, gathering his strength and nourishing his life at her virginal breast: so the mystical body of the Man-God, the holy Church, received, in its first years, the same care from Mary, as the divine Child our Emmanuel.

As Joseph heretofore at Nazareth, Peter was now ruling the house of God; but our Lady was none the less to the assembly of the faithful the source of life in the spiritual order, as she had been to Jesus in his Humanity. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost and every one of his gifts rested first upon her in all fullness; every grace bestowed on the privileged dwellers in the cenacle was given more eminently and more abundantly to her. The sacred stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful, because first of all the Most High has sanctified his own tabernacle, made her the well of living waters, which run with a strong stream from Libanus.

Eternal Wisdom herself is compared in the Scripture to overflowing waters; to this day, the voice of her messengers traverses the world, magnificent, as the voice of the Lord over the great waters, as the thunder which reveals his power and majesty: like a new deluge overturning the ramparts of false science, leveling every height raised against God and fertilizing the desert. O fountain of the gardens hiding thyself so calm and pure in Sion, the silence which keeps thee from the knowledge of the profane, hides from their sullied eyes the source of thy wavelets which carry salvation to the farthest limits of the Gentile world. To thee, as to the Wisdom sprung from thee, is applied the prophetic word: I have poured out rivers. Thou givest to drink to the newborn Church thirsting for the Word. Thou art, as the Holy Spirit said of Esther, thy type: “The little fountain which grew into a river and was turned into a light, and into the sun, and abounded into many waters.” The Apostles, inundated with divine science, recognized in thee the richest source, which having once given to the world the Lord God, continued to be the channel of his grace and truth to them.

As a mountain spreads out at its base in proportion to the greatness of its height, the incomparable dignity of Mary rested on her ever growing humility. Nevertheless we must not think that the Mother of the Church was to be nothing more than a silent winner of heaven’s favors. The time had come for her to communicate to the friends of the Spouse the ineffable secrets known to her virginal soul alone; and as to the public facts of our Savior’s history, what memory surer or more complete than hers, what deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation, could furnish the Evangelists with the inspiration and the matter of their sublime narrations? How could the chiefs of the Christian people not consult in every undertaking the heavenly prudence of her, whose judgment could never be obscured by the least error, any more than her soul could be tarnished by the least fault? Thus, although her gentle voice was never heard abroad, although she loved to put herself in the shade and take the last place in their assemblies, Mary was truly from that time forward, as the Doctors observe, the scourge of heresy, the mistress of the Apostles and their beloved inspirer. “If,” says Rupert, “the Holy Ghost instructed the Apostles, we must not therefore conclude that they had not recourse to the most sweet teaching of Mary. Yea, rather, her word was to them the word of the Spirit himself; she completed and confirmed the inspirations received by each one from him who divideth as he wills.” And St. Ambrose, the illustrious Bishop of Milan, speaking of the privilege of the beloved disciple at the the last Supper, does not hesitate to attribute the greater sublimity of his teachings to his longer and more intimate intercourse with our Lady: “This beloved of the Lord, who, resting on his bosom, drank from the depths of Wisdom, I am not astonished that he has explained divine mysteries better than all the others, for the treasure of heavenly secrets hidden in Mary was ever open to him.”

Happy were the faithful of those days, permitted to contemplate the ark of the covenant, wherein, better than on tables of stone, dwelt the plenitude of the law of love! At her side, the rod of the new Aaron, the scepter of Simon Peter, kept its vigor and freshness, and under her shadow the true manna of heaven was accessible to the elect of this world’s desert. Denis of Athens, Heirotheus, both of whom we shall soon see again beside this holy ark, and many others, came to the feet of Mary to rest on their journey, to strengthen their love, to consult the august propitatory where the divinity had resided. From the lips of the Mother of God, they gathered words sweeter than honey, calming their souls, ordering their life, filling their noble minds with the brightness of heaven. To these privileged ones of the first age might be addressed those words of the Spouse, who in these years was completing his gathering from his chosen garden: I have gathered my myrrh with my aromatical spices: I have eaten the honeycomb with my honey: I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved.

No wonder that in Jerusalem, favored with so august a presence, the first group of faithful rose unanimously above the observance of the precepts to the perfection of the counsels; they persevered in prayer, praising God in gladness and simplicity of heart, having favor with all the people; and they were of one heart and one soul. This happy community could not but be an image of heaven on earth, since the Queen of heaven was a member of it; the example of her life, her all-powerful intercession, her merits more vast than all the united treasures of all created sanctities, was Mary’s contribution to this blessed family where all things were common to all.

From the hill of Sion, however, the Church had spread its branches over every mountain and every sea; the vineyard of the Pacific King was extended among all nations; it was time to let it out to the keepers appointed to guard it for the Spouse. It was a solemn moment; a new phase in the history of our salvation was about to begin: Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the friends hearken: make me hear thy voice. The Spouse, the Church on earth, the Church in heaven, all were waiting for her, who had tended the vine and strengthened its roots, to utter a word such as that which had heretofore brought down the Spouse to earth. But today heaven, not earth, was to be the gainer. Flee away, O my beloved; it was the voice of Mary about to follow the fragrant footsteps of the Lord her Son, up to the eternal mountains whither her own perfumes had preceded her.

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Let us enter into the sentiments of the Church, who prepares by the fasting and abstinence of this Vigil to celebrate the triumph of Mary. Man may not venture to join on earth in the joys of heaven, without first acknowledging that he is a sinner and a debtor to the justice of God. The light task imposed on us today will appear still easier if we compare it with the Lent whereby the Greeks have been preparing for our Lady’s feast ever since the first of this month.


Deus, qui virginalem aulam beatæ Mariæ, in qua habitares, eligere dignatus es: da, quæsumus; ut sua nos defensione munitos, jucundos facias suæ interesse festivitati. Qui vivis.
O God, who didst vouchsafe to choose for thy habitation the virginal womb of the Blessed Mary, grant, we beseech thee, that, defended by her protection, we may joyfully assist at her festival. Who livest, &c.

To this Collect of the Vigil let us add, with the Holy Liturgy, the commemoration of a holy Confessor, whose imprisonment and sufferings at Rome, in the time of the Arians, made him well-high equal to the martyrs. As he is honored with a Church in the eternal City, Eusebius is entitled to the homage of the whole world.


Deus, qui nos beati Eusebii, Confessoris tui, annua solemnitate lætificas: concede propitius; ut, cujus natalita colimus, per ejus ad te exempla dradiamur. Per Dominum.
O God, who givest us joy by the annual solemnity of the blessed Eusebius, thy Confessor, mercifully grant that, celebrating his festival, we may approach to thee by following his example. Through our Lord, &c.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Early Church Fathers on The Assumption
Taken from here

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The doctrine of the Assumption was one that developed over time. It was not something new but rather the logical result of what was already known. Genesis 3:15 makes it clear that Mary could not have sinned. In Genesis 2:17 God warns Adam that if he sins he will be doomed to death. We know that God’s warning was ignored. Consequently, we see in Genesis 3:19 God making good on His promise. He says to Adam: “By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken. For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.” Therefore, since corruption in the grave is the result of sin and Mary never sinned, it was only logical that she would be assumed body and soul into heaven.

Pseudo – Melito

If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: “Be it done according to your will” (The Passing of the Virgin 16:2-17 [A.D. 300]).

Obsequies of the Holy Virgin

Our Lord made a sign to Michael, and Michael began to speak with the voice of a mighty angel. And angels descended on these clouds; and the number of angels on each cloud was a thousand angels, uttering praises before Jesus. And the Lord said to Michael: ‘Let them bring the body of Mary into the clouds.’ And when the body of Mary had been brought into the clouds, Our Lord said to the Apostles that they should draw near to the clouds. And when they came to the clouds they were singing with the voice of angels. And Our Lord told the clouds to go to the gate of paradise. And when they had entered paradise, the body of Mary went to the tree of life; and they brought her soul and made it enter her body. And straightway the Lord dismissed the angels to their places (Fourth Century).


Like the bodies of the saints, however, she [the Blessed Virgin Mary] has been held in honor for her character and understanding. And if I should say anything more in her praise, she is like Elijah, who was virgin from his mother’s womb, always remained so, and was taken up, but has not seen death (Panarion 79 [A.D. 376]).

Timothy of Jerusalem

Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption (Homily on Simeon and Anna [A.D. 400]).

John the Theologian

The Lord said to his Mother, “Let your heart rejoice and be glad. For every favor and every gift has been given to you from my Father in heaven and from me and from the Holy Spirit. Every soul that calls upon your name shall not be ashamed, but shall find mercy and comfort and support and confidence, both in the world that now is and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens”. . . And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise (The Dormition of Mary [A.D. 400]).

Assumption of Mary

and for three days the voices of invisible angels were heard glorifying Christ our God, who had been born of her. And when the third day was ended, the voices were no longer heard; and from that time forth all knew that her spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise (A.D. 400).

Gregory of Tours

[T]he Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones. . . (Eight Books of Miracles 1:4 [A.D. 575]).

Theoteknos of Livias

It was fitting … that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinized, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory … should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God (Homily on the Assumption [ca. A.D. 600]).

Modestus of Jerusalem

As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him (Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae [ante A.D. 634]).

Germanus of Constantinople

You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life (Sermon I [A.D. 683]).

John Damascene

It was fitting that the she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father, It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God (Dormition of Mary [A.D. 697]).

Gregorian Sacramentary

Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten Thy Son our Lord incarnate from herself (Gregorian Sacramentary, Veneranda [ante A.D. 795]).
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
A reminder ....
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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