Feast of the Assumption - August 15, 2021
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August 15 – Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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“Today the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ forever.” The Church will close her chants on this glorious day with this sweet antiphon which resumes the object of the feast and the spirit in which it should be celebrated.

No other solemnity breathes, like this one, at once triumph and peace; none better answers to the enthusiasm of the many and the serenity of souls consummated in love. Assuredly that was as great a triumph when our Lord, rising by his own power from the tomb, cast hell into dismay; but to our souls, so abruptly drawn from the abyss of sorrows on Golgotha, the suddenness of the victory caused a sort of stupor to mingle with the joy of that greatest of days. In presence of the prostrate Angels, the hesitating Apostles, the women seized with fear and trembling, one felt that the divine isolation of the Conqueror of death was perceptible even to his most intimate friends, and kept them, like Magdalene, at a distance.

Mary’s death, however, leaves no impression but peace; that death had no other cause than love. Being a mere creature, she could not deliver herself from that claim of the old enemy; but leaving her tomb filled with flowers, she mounts up to heaven, flowing with delights, leaning upon her Beloved. Amid the acclamations of the daughters of Sion, who will henceforth never cease to call her blessed, she ascends surrounded by choirs of heavenly spirits joyfully praising the Son of God. Nevermore will shadows veil, as they did on earth, the glory of the most beautiful daughter of Eve. Beyond the immovable Thrones, beyond the dazzling Cherubim, beyond the flaming Seraphim, onward she passes, delighting the heavenly city with her sweet perfumes. She stays not till she reaches the very confines of the Divinity; close to the throne of honor where her Son, the King of ages, reigns in justice and in power; there she is proclaimed Queen, there she will reign for evermore in mercy and in goodness.

Here on earth Libanus and Amana, Sanir and Hermon dispute the honor of having seen her rise to heaven from their summits; and truly the whole world is but the pedestal of her glory, as the moon is her footstool, the sun her vesture, the stars of heaven her glittering crown. “Daugher of Sion, thou art all fair and sweet,” cries the Church, as in her rapture she mingles her own tender accents with the songs of triumph: “I saw the beautiful one as a dove rising up from the brooks of waters; in her garments was the most exquisite odor; and as in the days of spring, flowers of roses surrounded her and lilies of the valley.”

The same freshness breathes from the facts of Bible history wherein the interpreters of the sacred Books see the figure of Mary’s triumph. As long as this world lasts a severe law protects the entrance to the eternal palace; no one, without having first laid aside the garb of flesh, is admitted to contemplate the King of heaven. There is one, however, of our lowly rare, whom the terrible decree does not touch; the true Esther, in her incredible beauty, advances without hindrance through all the doors. Full of grace, she is worthy of the love of the true Assuerus; but on the way which leads to the awful throne of the King of kings, she walks not alone; two handmaids, one supporting her steps, the other holding up the long folds of her royal robe, accompany her; they are the angelic nature and the human, both equally proud to hail her as their mistress and lady, and both sharing in her glory.

If we go back from the time of captivity, when Esther saved her people, to the days of Israel’s greatness, we find our Lady’s entrance into the city of endless peace, represented by the Queen of Saba coming to the earthly Jerusalem. While she contemplates with rapture the magnificence of the mighty prince of Sion, the pomp of her own retinue, the incalculable riches of the treasure she brings, her precious stones and her spices, plunge the whole city into admiration. There was brought no more, says the Scripture, such abundance of spices as these which the Queen of Saba gave to King Solomon.

The reception given by David’s son to Bethsabee, his mother, in the third Book of Kings, no less happily expresses the mystery of today, so replete with the filial love of the true Solomon. Then Bethsabee came to King Solomon … and the king arose to meet her, and bowed to her, and sat down upon his throne: and a throne was set for the king’s mother: and she sat on his right hand. O Lady, how exceedingly dost thou surpass all the servants and ministers and friends of God! “On the day when Gabriel came to my lowliness,” are the words St. Ephrem puts into thy mouth, “from handmaid I became Queen; and I, the slave of thy divinity, found myself suddenly the mother of thy humanity, my Lord and my Son! O Son of the King who hast made me his daughter, O thou heavenly One, who thus bringest into heaven this daughter of earth, by what name shall I call thee?” The Lord Christ himself answered; the God made Man revealed to us the only name which fully expresses him in his two-fold nature: he is called The Son. Son of Man as he is Son of God, on earth he has only a Mother, as in heaven he has only a Father. In the august Trinity he proceeds from the Father, remaining consubstantial with him; only distingushed from him in that he is Son; producing together with him, as one Principle, the Holy Ghost. In the external mission he fulfills by the Incarnation to the glory of the Blessed Trinity—communicating to his humanity the manners, so to say, of his Divinity, as far as the diversity of the two natures permits—he is in no way separated from his Mother, and would have her participate even in the giving of the Holy Ghost to every soul. This ineffable union is the foundation of all Mary’s greatnesses, which are crowned by today’s triumph. The days within the Octave will give us an opportunity of showing some of the consequences of this principle; today let it suffice to have laid it down.

“As Christ is the Lord,” says Arnold of Bonneval, the friend of St. Bernard, “Mary is Lady and sovereign. He who bends the knee before the Son, kneels before the Mother. At the sound of her name the devils tremble, men rejoice, the Angels glorify God. Mary and Christ are one flesh, one mind, and one love. From the day when it was said The Lord is with thee, the grace was irrevocable, the unity inseparable; and in speaking of the glory of Son and Mother, we must call it not so much a common glory as the self-same glory.” “O thou, the beauty and the honor of thy Mother,” adds the great deacon of Edessa, “thus hast thou adorned her in every way; together with others she is thy sister and thy bride, but she alone conceived thee.”

Rupert in his turn cries out: “Come then, O most beautiful one, thou shalt be crowned in heaven Queen of saints, on earth Queen of every kingdom. Wherever it shall be said of the Beloved that he is crowned with glory and honor, and set over the works of his Father’s hands, everywhere also shall they proclaim of thee, O well beloved, that thou art his Mother, and as such Queen over every domain where his power extends; and, therefore, emperors and kings shall crown thee with their crowns and consecrate their palaces to thee.”

Mass.—Who is this King of glory? asked the keepers of the eternal gates, on the day of Emmanuel’s triumphant Ascension. Their question is twice repeated in the Psalm, and a third time in Isaias, who cries out in the name of the heavenly citizens: Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength? In like manner do the Angelic Princes twice express their admiration of the Virgin Mother. It is the sacred Canticle that tells us so. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising? This first question, as St. Peter Damian says, refers to Mary’s birth, which put an end to the night of sin.

Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices? This is the expression of the Angels’ astonishment at the Virgin’s incomparable life, with its uninterrupted progress in all the virtues, like the sweet smoke rising from the incense.

Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved? Such, in the sight of the Angels, was Mary rising from her tomb.

She had fulfilled her mission, accomplished the prophecy, crushed the head of the serpent. The blessed spirits who accompanied her, cried out to the guardians of the heavenly ramparts, in the words of the triumphant Psalm: “Open your gates!” So Judith, a type of Mary returning victories, had cried: Open the gates, for God is with us, who hath shown his power in Israel. The eternal gates were lifted up, and all the inhabitants of heaven, from the least to the greatest, went forth to meet the second Judith coming up from the earth’s lowly valley; and they rejoiced with far greater exultation than did Israel brought the figurative Ark into the holy city.

Let us echo the heaven’s joy, and with our solemn Introit as a triumphal march, usher Mary into the true Jerusalem. The Verse is taken from the forty-fourth Psalm, the Epithalamium, thus linking the chants of the Holy Sacrifice with last night’s Lessons from the sacred Canticle.


Introit
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatæ Mariæ Virginis: de cujus Assumptione gaudent Angli, et collaudant Filium Deo.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for those whose Assumption the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God.

Ps. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi. ℣. Glorida Patri. Gaudeamus. 
s. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. ℣. Glory, &c. Let us all.


The following Prayer asks for the pardon and salvation through the intercession of the Mother of God. Its apparent want of harmony with the mystery of the feast might surprise us, did we not remember that it is only the second Collect for the day, in the Sacramentary; the first, which we have given above, and which was said over the faithful at the beginning of the assembly, expressly declares that Mary could not be held by the bonds of death.

Collect
Famulorum tuorum quæsumus Domine, delictis innosce: ut, qui tibi placere de actibus nostris non valemus, Genitrices Filii tui Domini nostri intercessione salvemur. Qui tecum.
Pardon, we beseech thee, O Lord, the sins of thy servants; that we, who are not able to please thee by our deeds, may be saved by the intercessions of the Mother of thy Son. Who lives, &c.


Epistle
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Ch. xxiv.

In all things I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle, And he said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect. From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints. I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a cypress tree on mount Sion. I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades, and as a rose plant in Jericho: As a fair olive tree in the plains, and as a plane tree by the water in the streets, was I exalted. I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon. and aromatical balm: I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh.

Quote:The Epistle we have just read is closely connected with the Gospel that is to follow. The rest that Mary sought is the better part, the repose of the soul in the presence of the Peaceful King; and when a soul is thus full of peace, she forms the choicest part of her Lord’s inheritance. No creature has attained so nearly as our Lady to the eternal, unchangeable peace of the ever-tranquil Trinity; hence no other has merited to become, in the same degree, the resting place of God.

A soul occupied by active works cannot attain the perfection or the fruitfulness of one in whom our Lord takes his rest, because she is at rest in him; for this is the nuptial rest. As the Psalm says: “When the Lord shall give sleep to his beloved, then shall their fruit be seen.”

Let us, then, who became Mary’s children on the day the Lord first rested in her tabernacle, understand these magnificent expressions of Eternal Wisdom; for they reveal to us the glory of her triumph. The branch that sprang from the stock of Jesse bears the divine Flower on which rests the fullness of the Holy Ghost; but it has taken root also in the elect, into whose branches it passes the heavenly sap, which transforms them and divinizes their fruit. These fruits of Jacob and of Israel, i.e., the works of the ordinary Christian life or of the life of perfection, belongs therefore to our Blessed Mother. Rightly then does Mary enter today upon her unending rest in the eternal Sion—the true holy city and glorified people—the Lord’s inheritance. Her power will be established in Jerusalem and the Saints will forever acknowledge that they owe to her the fullness of their perfection.

But the plenitude of Mary’s personal merits far surpasses that of all the Saints together. As the cedar of Libanus towers above the flowers of the field, far more does our Lad’s sanctity, next to that of her divine Son, surpass the sanctity of every other creature. In a homily for this Feast, the Angelic Doctor says: “The trees to which the Blessed Virgin is compared in this Epistle may be taken to represent the different orders of the blessed. This passage therefore means: that Mary has been exalted above the Angels, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, and all the Saints, because she possesses all their merits united in her single person.”

The Gradual is taken, as was the Verse of the Introit, from the 44th Psalm. In it we sing those perfections of the Bride that have caused the King of kings to call her to himself. The Alleluia Verse tells us how the angelic army hailed the entrance of its Queen.

Gradual
Propter veritatem, et mansuetudinem, et justitiam, et deducet te mirabiliter dextera tua.
Because of truth, and meekness, and justice, and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.

℣. Audi filia, et vide, et inclina aurem tuam: quia concupivit Rex speciem tuam.
℣. Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear: for the King hath greatly desired thy beauty.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Assumpta est Maria in cœlum, gaudet exercitus Angelorum. Alleluia.
℣. Mary is assumed into heaven: the host of Angels rejoiceth. Alleluia.


Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. x.

At that time: Jesus entered into a certain town; and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’ s feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Quote:To this Gospel the Roman Liturgy formerly added, as the Greek and the Mozarabic still add, the following verses from another chapter of St. Luke: As he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

The words thus added turned the people’s thoughts towards our Lady; still the episode of Martha and Mary in the Gospel of the day remained unexplained. We will use the words of St. Bruno of Asti to express the reason tradition gives for the choice of this Gospel. “These two women,” he says, “are the leaders of the army of the Church, and all the faithful follow them. Some walk in Martha’s footsteps, others in Mary’s; but no one can reach our heavenly fatherland unless he follows one or the other. Rightly then have our fathers ordained that this Gospel should be read on the principal feast of our Lady, for she is signified by these two sisters. For no other creature combined the privileges of both lives, active and contemplative, as did the Blessed Virgin. Like Martha she received Christ—yea, she did more than Martha, for she received him not only into her house, but into her womb. She conceived him, gave him birth, carried him in her arms, and ministered to him more frequently than did Martha. On the other hand, she listened, like Mary, to his words, and kept them for our sake, pondering them in her heart. She contemplated his Humanity and penetrated more deeply than all others into his Divinity. She chose the better part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

“He,” continues St. Bernard, “whom she received at his entrance into this poor world, receives her today at the gate of the holy City. No spot on earth so worthy of the Son of God as the Virgin’s womb: no throne in heaven so lofty as that whereon the Son of Mary places her in return. What a reception each gave to the other! It is beyond the power of expression, because beyond the reach of our thought. Who shall declare the generation of the son, and the Assumption of the Mother?”

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In honor of both Mother and Son, let us put this Lesson of the Gospel into practice in our lives. When our soul is troubled, like Martha, or distracted with many anxieties, let us always remember, as Mary did, that there is but one thing necessary. Our Lord alone, either in himself or in his members, should be the one object of our thoughts.

Every human thing is of more or less importance in proportion to its relation to God’s glory; we should value everything in this proportion, and then the grace of God which surpasseth all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Today the Church on earth, represented by Martha, complains that she has been left alone to struggle and labor; but our Lord defends Mary, and confirms her in her choice of the better part. The Angels are keeping a great feast in heaven; the Offertory once more tells of their joy.

Offertory
Assumpta est Maria in cœlum: gandent Angeli, collaudantes benedicunt Dominum. Alleluia.
Mary is assumed into heaven, the Angels rejoice, praising together they bless the Lord. Alleluia.


We must not allow anything like regret or envy to cast a shadow over our hearts. Mary has finished her pilgrimage and left our earth; but now that she has entered into her glory, she still prays for us. So says the Secret.

Secret
Subveniat, Domine, plebi tuæ Dei Genitricia oratrio: quam etsi pro conditione carnis migrasse cognoscimus, in cœlesti gloria apud te pro nobis intercedere santiamus. Per eumdem.
May the prayer of the Mother of God assist thy people, O Lord; though we know her to have passed out of this world, may we experience her intercession for us with thee in the glory of heaven. Through the same Lord, &c.


Preface
Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: Et te in Assumptione beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis collaudare, benedicere et prædicare. Quæ et Unigenitum tuum Sancti Spiritus obumbratione concepit, et virginitatis gloria permanente, lumen æternum mundo effudit, Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates; Cœli, cœlorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God: and that we should praise, bless and glorify thee on the Assumption of the blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, who by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, conceived thy Only Begotten Son, and the glory of her Virginity still remining, brought forth to the world the eternal Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. By whom the Angels praise thy majesty, the Dominations adore it, the Powers tremble before it; the heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, with common jubilee, glorify it. Together with whom, we beseech thee that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, saying: Holy! Holy! Holy!


If you loved me, said our Lord to his disciples when about to leave them, you would indeed be glad because I go to the Father. Let us, who love our Lady, be glad because she goes to her Son, and, as we sing in the Communion Anthem, the better part is hers forever.

Communion
Optimam partem elegit sibi Maria: quæ non auferetur ab ea in æternum.
Mary hath chosen for herself the best part: which shall not be taken from her for ever.


The sacred Bread, for which we are indebted to Mary, remains always with us. May It, through her intercession, preserve us from all evils!

Postcommunion
Mensæ cœlestis participes effecti, imploramus clementiam tuam, Domine Deus noster: ut, qui Assumptionem Deo Genitricis colimus, a cunctis malis imminentibus, ejus intercessione liberemur. Per eumdem.
Having been made partakers of a heavenly banquet, we implore thy mercy, O Lord our God: that we who celebrate the Assumption of the Mother of God, may by her intercession be delivered from all threatening evils. Through the same Lord, etc.


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Thou didst taste death, O Mary! But that death, like the sleep of Adam at the world’s beginning, was but an ecstasy leading the Bride into the Bridegroom’s presence. As the sleep of the new Adam on the great day of salvation, it called for the awakening of resurrection. In Jesus Christ our entire nature, soul and body, was already reigning in heaven; but as in the first paradise, so in the presence of the Holy Trinity, it was not good for man to be alone. To-day at the right hand of Jesus appears the new Eve, in all things like to her Divine Head, in His vesture of glorified flesh: henceforth nothing is wanting in the eternal paradise.

O Mary, who according to the expression of thy devout servant John Damascene, has made death blessed and happy, detach us from this world, where nothing ought now to have a hold on us. We have nothing ought now to have a hold on us. We have accompanied thee in desire; we have followed thee with the eyes of our soul, as far as the limits of our mortality allowed; and now, can we ever again turn our eyes upon this world of darkness? O Blessed Virgin, in order to sanctify our exile and help us to rejoin thee, bring to our aid the virtues whereby, as on wings, thou didst soar to so sublime a height. In us, too, the must reign; in us, they must crush the head of the wicked serpent, that one day they may triumph in us. O day of days, when we shall behold not only our Redeemer, but also the Queen who stands so close to the Sun of Justice as even to be clothed therewith, eclipsing with her brightness all the splendours of the saints!

The Church, it is true, remains to you, O Mary, the Church, who is also our Mother, and who continues thy struggle against the dragon with its seven hateful heads. But she, too, sighs for the time when the wings of an eagle will be given her, and she will be permitted to rise like thee from the desert and to reach her Spouse. Look upon her passing, like the moon, at thy feet, through her laborious phases; hear the supplications she addresses to thee as Mediatrix with the divine Sun; through thee may she receive light; through thee may she find favour with Him who loved thee, and clothed thee with glory and crowned thee with beauty.
"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
Reply
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The Feast of the Assumption


The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 15 August; also called in old liturgical books Pausatio, Nativitas (for heaven), Mors, Depositio, Dormitio S. Mariae.

This feast has a double object: (1) the happy departure of Mary from this life; (2) the assumption of her body into heaven. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin.


The fact of the Assumption

Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady's death, nothing certain is known. The earliest known literary reference to the Assumption is found in the Greek work De Obitu S. Dominae. Catholic faith, however, has always derived our knowledge of the mystery from Apostolic Tradition. Epiphanius (d. 403) acknowledged that he knew nothing definite about it (Haer., lxxix, 11). The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ's Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown; but some argue in favour of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem.

The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious. St. John of Damascus (P.G., I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B.V.M., I, viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous.


The feast of the Assumption

Regarding the origin of the feast we are also uncertain. It is more probably the anniversary of the dedication of some church than the actual anniversary of Our Lady's death. That it originated at the time of the Council of Ephesus, or that St. Damasus introduced it in Rome is only a hypothesis.

According to the life of St. Theodosius (d. 529) it was celebrated in Palestine before the year 500, probably in August (Baeumer, Brevier, 185). In Egypt and Arabia, however, it was kept in January, and since the monks of Gaul adopted many usages from the Egyptian monks (Baeumer, Brevier, 163), we find this feast in Gaul in the sixth century, in January [mediante mense undecimo (Greg. Turon., De gloria mart., I, ix)]. The Gallican Liturgy has it on the 18th of January, under the title: Depositio, Assumptio, or Festivitas S. Mariae (cf. the notes of Mabillon on the Gallican Liturgy, P.L., LXXII, 180). This custom was kept up in the Gallican Church to the time of the introduction of the Roman rite. In the Greek Church, it seems, some kept this feast in January, with the monks of Egypt; others in August, with those of Palestine; wherefore the Emperor Maurice (d. 602), if the account of the "Liber Pontificalis" (II, 508) be correct, set the feast for the Greek Empire on 15 August.

In Rome (Batiffol, Brev. Rom., 134) the oldest and only feast of Our Lady was 1 January, the octave of Christ's birth. It was celebrated first at Santa Maria Maggiore, later at Santa Maria ad Martyres. The other feasts are of Byzantine origin. Duchesne thinks (Origines du culte chr., 262) that before the seventh century no other feast was kept at Rome, and that consequently the feast of the Assumption, found in the sacramentaries of Gelasius and Gregory, is a spurious addition made in the eighth or seventh century. Probst, however (Sacramentarien, 264 sqq.), brings forth good arguments to prove that the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, found on the 15th of August in the Gelasianum, is genuine, since it does not mention the corporeal assumption of Mary; that, consequently, the feast was celebrated in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome at least in the sixth century. He proves, furthermore, that the Mass of the Gregorian Sacramentary, such as we have it, is of Gallican origin (since the belief in the bodily assumption of Mary, under the influence of the apocryphal writings, is older in Gaul than in Rome), and that it supplanted the old Gelasian Mass. At the time of Sergius I (700) this feast was one of the principal festivities in Rome; the procession started from the church of St. Hadrian. It was always a double of the first class and a Holy Day of obligation.

The octave was added in 847 by Leo IV; in Germany this octave was not observed in several dioceses up to the time of the Reformation. The Church of Milan has not accepted it up to this day (Ordo Ambros., 1906). The octave is privileged in the dioceses of the provinces of Sienna, Fermo, Michoacan, etc.

The Greek Church continues this feast to 23 August, inclusive, and in some monasteries of Mount Athos it is protracted to 29 August (Menaea Graeca, Venice, 1880), or was, at least, formerly. In the dioceses of Bavaria a thirtieth day (a species of month's mind) of the Assumption was celebrated during the Middle Ages, 13 Sept., with the Office of the Assumption (double); today, only the Diocese of Augsburg has retained this old custom.

Some of the Bavarian dioceses and those of Brandenburg, Mainz, Frankfort, etc., on 23 Sept. kept the feast of the "Second Assumption", or the "Fortieth Day of the Assumption" (double) believing, according to the revelations of St. Elizabeth of Schönau (d. 1165) and of St. Bertrand, O.C. (d. 1170), that the B.V. Mary was taken up to heaven on the fortieth day after her death (Grotefend, Calendaria 2, 136). The Brigittines kept the feast of the "Glorification of Mary" (double) 30 Aug., since St. Brigitta of Sweden says (Revel., VI, l) that Mary was taken into heaven fifteen days after her departure (Colvenerius, Cal. Mar., 30 Aug.). In Central America a special feast of the Coronation of Mary in heaven (double major) is celebrated 18 August. The city of Gerace in Calabria keeps three successive days with the rite of a double first class, commemorating: 15th of August, the death of Mary; 16th of August, her Coronation.

At Piazza, in Sicily, there is a commemoration of the Assumption of Mary (double second class) the 20th of February, the anniversary of the earthquake of 1743. A similar feast (double major with octave) is kept at Martano, Diocese of Otranto, in Apulia, 19th of November.

Note: By promulgating the Bull Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith. Likewise, the Second Vatican Council taught in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium that "the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things (n. 59)."
"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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#3
Taken from a Sermon by St. Francis de Sales, August 15, 1618 on the Feast of the Assumption:

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“But before speaking of her reception into Heaven, I must tell you how and by what manner of death she died (Treatise on the Love of God). You all know the history of her glorious death. Yet I always feel urged to dwell upon the mysteries we celebrate. Our Lady and most worthy Mistress died at 63, or rather fell asleep in the sleep of death. Some will wonder at this and say: How is it that Our Lord, who loved His Holy Mother so tenderly and so deeply, did not grant her the privilege of not dying? Since death is the penalty for sin and she had never committed any, why did He permit her to die?”

“O mortal, how different are your thoughts from those of the saints, how distant are you judgments from those of the Divine Majesty [Cf. Is. 55:8-9]: Do you not know that death is no longer ignominious but precious [Ps. 116:15], since Our Lord and Master allowed Himself to be attacked by it on the tree of the Cross. It would have not been an advantage nor a privilege for the Holy Virgin not to die, for she had desired death since she saw it in the arms and in the very heart of her most sacred Son. Death is so sweet and so desirable that the angels would consider themselves happy if they could die. And the saints have rejoiced to suffer death, which gave them much consolation, because our Divine Saviour who is our Life [Col. 3:4] had abandoned Himself as a prey to death.”

“When the hour came for the most glorious Virgin to leave this life, love made the separation of her soul from her body, death being only this separation. Her most holy soul went immediately to Heaven. For what, I ask, could have prevented it, since she was all pure and had never contracted the least stain of sin? What prevents the rest of us from going directly to Heaven when we die, as Our Lady did, is that almost all of us have dust or stains on our feet which must be washed away and purified in that place called Purgatory before we enter Heaven.”

“When the most holy soul of Our Lady left her most pure body, this body was carried to the sepulcher and returned to the earth like that of her Son. For it was most proper that the Mother should not have a greater privilege than the Son. But just as Our Lord rose at the end of three day, so did she rise at the end of three days, yet in a different manner, inasmuch as the Saviour rose by His own power and authority and Our Lady rose by the almighty power of God her Son, who commanded the blessed soul of His most holy Mother to be reunited to her body. Certainly it was very fitting that this most pure body should in no way be tainted by any corruption, since that of Our Lord had been drawn from her chaste womb and had reposed in it for nine months.”

“…And just as there was never such an abundance of perfumes seen in the city of Jerusalem as the Queen of Sheba carried with her when she went to visit the great King Solomon, who in exchange made her presents according to his greatness and royal magnificence [1 Kings 10:1-2, 10]; likewise, I say, never were there seen so many merits and so much love carried to Heaven by any pure creature s the most holy Virgin brought there at her glorious Assumption. In reward for this the eternal and great king, the Almighty God, gave her a degree of glory worthy of her greatness, and also power to distribute to her clients graces worthy of her liberality and magnificence. Amen.”
"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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#4
"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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#5
Sermon of St. Bonaventure: IV de Assumption B.V.M. pars. I: "He that made me rested in my tabernacle"
Taken from here.
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The Virgin Mary can say, He that made me rested in my tabernacle, because the Creator of all that is chose her virginal womb to rest in on his wedding night, there to become our Brother; and made of it a royal throne, there to sit as our King; and put on a priestly robe in it, so to make himself our Priest. Through the marriage-union the Virgin became God's mother, the royal throne made her Queen of Heaven, the priestly robe the advocate of the human race. It was appropriate that she should be all these things, since she belonged to the human race herself and her ancestors had been kings and priests. How that Virgin loved God, and how justifiably she can say: He that made me rested in my tabernacle.

That God would consummate his marriage in her womb David foresaw in the Spirit with prophetic certitude when he said, He hath set his tabernacle in the sun. He added as a bridegroom because the Virgin's room was the bridal room in which God was united to human nature, the place where he kissed his bride as he made the contract that bound her to him in marriage.

In that womb also God set up his royal throne, there to sit as our King. As the prophet says: Mercy and faithfulness return; a throne set up in David's dwelling-place, for a judge that loves right and gives redress speedily.

And from that womb God took the priestly vestment which he would have to wear if he was to enter the holy of holies. Christ has taken his place as our high priest, to win us blessings that still lie in the future. He makes use of a greater, a more complete tabernacle, which human hands never fashioned; it does not belong to this order of creation at all. It is his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves, that has enabled him to enter, once for all, the sanctuary. On his way to the holy of holies, Christ our high priest passed through the Virgin's womb, where he put on the priest's robe, and from there proceeded to the cross, where he offered the holiest of all victims and o obtained for us God's friendship. The reason why the Lord was bent on robing in the tabernacle of the Virgin's womb was this: he wanted to make her our advocate as well as himself. There could be no resisting mother and Son together; the two of them would bring firm confidence to us poor wanderers, bidding us cling to the hope we have in view. I will set my tabernacle in the midst of you, he said, and my soul shall no more cast you off; for the blessed Virgin, our advocate, can never ask in vain.

We can approach the Virgin, then, with every confidence; whatever our need, we can go to her in all security. We shall do well to honor this tabernacle and flee to it for refuge, since the Lord himself took his ease there and the blessed Virgin could say with literal truth: He that made me rested in my tabernacle.
"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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#6
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Feast of the Assumption


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"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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#7
The Assumption Proclamation 1950

"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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