Wednesday, August 15, 2018
FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verse 21
Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
Moses was the heir apparent to the throne of Egypt in his youth. As a member of the Egyptian court he would have seen many fearful spectacles yet imagine what it must have been like to have been a witness of God descending on Mount Sinai to give the law. He was terrified and trembling. Again, now imagine if Moses was somehow resurrected and was able to walk into an ordinary catholic church that has a very modest Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Do you think his reaction would be any different than the first time he encountered the living God?
Be Still and Know that I am God
On the evening of October 1995, John Paul II was scheduled to greet the seminarians at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. It had been a very full day that began with a Mass at Oriole Park in Camden Yards, a parade through downtown streets, a visit to the Basilica of the Assumption, the first cathedral in the country, lunch at a local soup kitchen run by Catholic Charities; a prayer service at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore; and finally a quick stop at Saint Mary’s Seminary. The schedule was tight, so the plan was simply to greet the seminarians while they stood outside on the steps. But the Pope made his way through their ranks and into the building. His plan was to first make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. When his wishes were made known, security flew into action. They swept the building paying close attention to the chapel where the Pope would be praying. For this purpose, highly, trained dogs were used to detect any person who might be present. The dogs are trained to locate survivors in collapsed buildings after earthquakes and other disasters. These highly intelligent and eager dogs quickly went through the halls, offices and classrooms and were then sent to the chapel. They went up and down the aisle, past the pews and finally into the side chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. Upon reaching the tabernacle, the dogs sniffed, whined, pointed, and refused to leave, their attention riveted on the tabernacle, until called by their handlers. They were convinced that they discovered someone there. We Catholics know they were right — they found a real, living Person in the tabernacle!
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
The National 54 Day Rosary Novena goes from the Feast of the Assumption (Aug. 15) to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 7), which commemorates the Holy League victory at the Battle of Lepanto.
Assumption of Mary Facts
· The Assumption of Mary isn't in the Bible. The theology it is based upon is from several early church documents and sermons. The Orthodox Church continued the tradition, but it didn't become doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church until 1950 when Pope Pius XII declared the belief infallible.
· Thomas was the only disciple who purportedly saw Mary's ascension into heaven. In a reversal of his story in scripture, the other disciples didn't believe him at first. Mary dropped her girdle when she reached heaven, and Thomas caught it.
· The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is a high feast Day in the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. The day venerates the assumption into heaven of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is held on August 15. In the Orthodox tradition, the feast, called the Dormition of the Theotokos, is held the same date, although the day may be later for churches that follow the Gregorian calendar.
· Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, and guide us on the way that leads to Heaven. - Pope Francis on the Feast of the Assumption via twitter on Aug 15, 2013.
Assumption of Mary Top Events and Things to Do
· Attend an Orthodox Church during the Feast of the Assumption to see the blessing of flowers.
· Historically, both flowers and herbs are brought to church as offerings or to be blessed during the Feast of the Assumption.
· Start an herb garden or plant some bulbs to bloom in spring in honor of Mary.
· The Assumption of Mary is a popular subject in Christian art. One of the most famous is The Assumption of the Virgin, by El Greco and available for viewing in the Art Institute of Chicago. See if your local art museum has paintings of the Assumption.
· Sing or Listen to a rendition of "Ave Maria". One of the more popular renditions is by Luciano Pavarotti.
· Many faithful in the Orthodox Church will also be breaking a two-week fast after the service honoring the Assumption of Mary. If you are fasting attend a community meal offered by many Orthodox Churches.
Most likely the oldest and certainly the highest annual feast day of Mary, the Feast of the Assumption is held in both east and west as a day of great solemnity. Processions would wind their way either through cities and towns in order to publicly honor Mary or through fields in order to pray for God's blessing upon the harvest. Marian hymns would be sung, and statues of the Blessed Virgin carried. In some places there would even be a dramatic representation of the mystery of the assumption. The statue of Mary would be carried through town to an elaborate arch of flowers symbolizing the gate of Heaven. From here another statue, a statue of Christ, would greet "her" and conduct her to the church as a symbol of her entrance into eternal glory. The procession would then conclude with Benediction.
Our Lady’s 30 Days
In pre-Christian times the season from the middle of August to the middle of September was observed as a period of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the successful harvest of grains. Many symbolic rites were aimed toward assuring man of prosperous weather for the reaping of the fall fruits and for winter planting. Some elements of these ancient cults are now connected with the feast and season of the Assumption. All through the Middle Ages the days from August 15 to September 15 were called "Our Lady's Thirty Days" (Frauendreissiger) in the German-speaking sections of Europe. Many Assumption shrines even today show Mary clothed in a robe covered with ears of grain. These images (Maria im Gerteidekleid, Our Lady of Grains) are favored goals of pilgrimages during August. Popular legends ascribe a character of blessing and goodness to Our Lady's Thirty Days. Both animals and plants are said to lose their harmful traits. Poisonous snakes do not strike, poison plants are harmless, wild animals refrain from attacking humans. All food produced during this period is especially wholesome and good and will remain fresh much longer than at other times of the year. The fact that herbs picked in August were considered of great power in healing occasioned the medieval practice of the "Blessing of Herbs" on Assumption Day. The Church thus elevated a popular belief of pre-Christian times into an observance of religious import and gave it the character of a Christian rite of deep and appropriate meaning. In central Europe the feast itself was called "Our Lady's Herb Day" (Kräutertag in German, Matka Boska Zielna in Polish). In the Alpine provinces the blessing of herbs is still bestowed before the solemn service of the Assumption. The city of Wurzburg in Bavaria used to be a favored center of these blessings, and from this fact it seems to have received its very name in the twelfth century (Würz: spice herb). The Roman Ritual still provides an official blessing of herbs on Assumption Day which, among other prayers, contains the petition that God may bless the medicinal powers of these herbs and make them mercifully efficient against diseases and poisons in humans and domestic animals. The Eastern Rites have similar blessings. In fact, the Syrians celebrate a special feast of "Our Lady of Herbs" on May 15. Among the Armenians, the faithful bring the first grapes from their vineyards to church on Assumption Day to have them solemnly blessed by the priest. Before breakfast the father distributes them to his family. No one would dream of tasting the new harvest before consuming the first blessed grapes on Our Lady's Day.
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
40. When judging other people, why do you put into your criticism the bitterness of your own failures?
· Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.
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