The Assumption of the B.V.M.

As so often, the Preface for this feast expresses with wonderful economy of words both its theological meaning and its devotional significance:

. . . hodie Virgo Deipara in caelos assumpta est,
Ecclesiae tuae consummandae initium et imago,
ac populo peregrinanti certae spei et solacii documentum;
corruptionem enim sepuleri
eam videre merito noluisti,
quae Filium tuum, vitae omnis auctorem,
ineffabiliter de se genuit incarnatum.

. . . today the Virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven
as the beginning and pattern of your Church’s perfection
and a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people,
For justly you would not allow her
to see the corruption of the tomb,
because from her own flesh she brought forth ineffably
your incarnate Son, the author of all life.

It is impossible to think of  Mary apart from her Son or apart from the Church. In her we see what an ordinary human being can become, utterly transfigured by grace. That is why we celebrate her feast with such joy and gladness. She shows us what the Church (= ourselves) will be when all is made new at the end of time.

As I tap out these words my head is filled with the plainchant Alelleuia for the feast, Assumpta est Maria, which soars and eddies with a lyrical grace the neumes on the page can hardly contain. It is a reminder that Mary, alone of all our race, has lived her vocation with a degree of perfection the rest of us can only strive to emulate. But, if Mary is the Mother of God (as she is), she is our mother, too. We can ask her prayers with confidence: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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8 thoughts on “The Assumption of the B.V.M.”

  1. I attended Mass yesterday(15/8) in a small town in France to celebrate the Assumption. It was a heartwarming experience. Full of people of all ages singing and praying. A true celebration of Mass.

  2. Lucky to have a visiting priest who had prepared a superb homily which pulled elements of the readings together and left us with the notion (obvious but extremely challenging/profound) that as Mary was assumed into heaven we are to follow i.e. we are challenged to live our lives as closely as possible to her state of grace. It was challenging but comforting that God’s desire and intention is that other humans should ultimately join with Mary in heaven – and that we can ask for her help…

  3. This week we prayed the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary during Chapel in addition to the usually prayed Divine Praises. It was difficult to hold back tears, but it was necessary to continue voicing one’s petition. Mary most amiable–was my favorite of her virtues when I was a child. May the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, pray for us! How could a prayerful request of His Mother be any more pleasing to the ear of Jesus? I do not know. Thank you, for facilitating, so to speak, inspiration on your blog, Sr Catherine.
    De’ana Maria, OSBCn

  4. The Hail Mary is a prayer that is dear to me. It immediately comes to mind and heart in difficult moments and moments of great peace. Sometimes just the words “Hail Mary” are enough. They summon forth the thoughts you expressed so well in this post. Thank you

  5. Beautiful and moving post. Thank you. I would love to hear what you imagine in your mind, to experience the beauty of the plainchant of which you speak. I found online a version by Leonin. May I ask for the detail to help an online search? L&P

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