The Joy of Heaven has entered Paradise!


Today we celebrate the glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God! Our Eastern brethren refer to this historical event as the Dormition of the Theotokos.

What a solemn moment in the history of humanity and in the economy of salvation! “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory“! (“Munificentissimus Deus“)

Humanity joins angelic choirs in singing with you:

<<O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?>>

1Cor 15:55

This was fitting, for Our Lady alone, “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin“. (“Ineffabilis Deus”, IT EN)

Of both historical events Our Lady herself gives witness when, appearing to little Bernadette (St. Marie-Bernard), identifies Herself with the words:

<<Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou!>>

[an official source here]

These words, this identity, becomes so near and dear to the heart of that great lover of God and knight of the Immaculate, Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, that he would write:

“It is a question of drawing nearer to [the Immaculata] through the will, of letting our wills become one with hers, just as her will is united in a most perfect way with the will of God. Beyond this nothing else is necessary. Let us intensify continuously, every day, every instant, our love for the Immaculata, and let us do our best so that others may love her as we do and even more than we do.”

KW 1212-1213

Indeed, Lord Jesus Christ, we praise and glorify you with the words of St. Ephraem:

“Certainly you alone and your Mother are from every aspect completely beautiful, for there is no blemish in you, my Lord, and no stain in your Mother”.

Hymn. B. Maria 13:5-6 (quoted by Rev. Matthew Mauriello in the Fairfield County Catholic on January 1996, in turn quoted here).

Truly St. Germanus wrote well when he wrote about the Immaculate:

“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”

 In Sanctae Dei Genetricis Dormitionem, Sermo I (quoted in Munificentissimus Deus)

“It was fitting” – writes St. John Damascene – that

“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, 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.”

Encomium in Dormitionem Dei Genetricis Semperque Virginis Mariae, Hom. II, n. 14 (quoted in Munificentissimus Deus)

Holy Mother Church has traditionally ascribed the chant of Psalm 44:11-12,14 to the Holy Mass for the Assumption:

<<Hear, O daughter, and see;
turn your ear; for the King shall desire your beauty.
All glorious is the King’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold. Alleluia, alleluia!>>
“Mary is taken up into Heaven:
the choirs of the angels rejoice! Alleluia!”

Audi, filia, et vide(courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed)

There also exists a solemn Preface to the Blessed Virgin Mary that was traditionally chanted on this Solemnity, and is still occasionally used (known as “Preface I of the Blessed Virgin Mary” in the current editio typica of the Roman Missal):

It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father,
almighty and eternal God,
and to praise, bless, and glorify your name
on [the Assumption] of the Blessed ever-Virgin Mary

For by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit
she conceived your Only Begotten Son,
and without losing the glory of virginity,
brought forth into the world the eternal Light,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through him the Angels praise your majesty,
Dominions adore and Powers tremble before you.
Heaven and the Virtues of heaven
and the blessed Seraphim
worship together with exultation.
May our voices, we pray,
join with theirs in humble praise, as we acclaim:

[Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…]

Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary (chanted in Latin by H.E. Archbishop Alexander Sample at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 2018 )

Our Eastern brothers have some beautiful prayers and chants “remembering our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary” that testify, if not directly at least indirectly, to this “day of joy” on which “mors stupebit et natura” in observing a human being rise in body and soul to the glory of Heaven… For lack of time and space, we shall only quote a couple:

<<It is truly proper to glorify you,
O Theotokos!
The ever blessed, Immaculate,
and the Mother of our God!

More honorable than the Cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim!
Who, a virgin, gave birth to God the Word!
You, truly the Theotokos,
we magnify!>>

Axion Estin (performed at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church)

<<Beneath your compassion we take refuge
o Virgin Theotokos!
Despise not our prayers in our need
but deliver us from danger,
for you alone are pure….
for you alone are pure…
for you alone are pure and blessed!>>

Beneath your compassion(performed at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church)

Let us rejoice and fully entrust Holy Mother Church, our souls, and the entirety of creation to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and, as St. Maximilian Kolbe reminds, us, “a loving mother [to whom God] entrusted the whole economy of mercy….. He made her so good that she is unable to abandon even the worst of sinners who has recourse to God’s Infinite Heart (KW 1248).

<<Arise, O Lord, into your resting place:

you and the ark, which you have sanctified>>

– Psalm 132

<<My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant!

[A]ll generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name!>>

– the Magnificat

Franciscans of Life

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