FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
46 And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; 47 my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 48 For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. 49 The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. 51 He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. 52 He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. 53 The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, 55 according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
This canticle of Mary is often referred to as the Magnificat. We have many reasons to give due consideration and prayerful reflection to the Magnificat. It is the longest discourse recorded of Mary in Divine Revelation. Many are the stories written telling about the heart of Mary as shown in that beautiful prayer. Certainly inspired, it was pronounced by Mary herself when she was carrying the Divine Child in her womb. It is the perfect act of humility and of profound humble adoration. It is part of the Church’s liturgy and has been such since the very first centuries. It has been recited or sung daily by ancient monks and hermits and other Religious who have consecrated themselves to God. It is indeed the prayer of consecrated souls and all clients of Mary. All the great biblical masters of the ages have affirmed that there are four parts to the Magnificat. In the first strophe, Mary expresses her gratitude to God; in the second, she praises God for his power, His holiness and His mercy; in the third, she compares how differently God deals with the proud and the humble; in the fourth, she recalls that all the ancient prophecies to the Jews are now being fulfilled in the Messiah, Who was at that moment present in her womb.
The Holy League and the United States Grace Force is calling on Mary via the 54 Day Rosary being said 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 to help us save the soul of America. Join the League and the USGF.
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.
· 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.
· The Directory on Popular Piety talks about the deep significance of this feast day. It also refers to the custom of blessing herbs:
o In the Germanic countries, the custom of blessing herbs is associated with 15 August. This custom, received into the Rituale Romanum, represents a clear example of the genuine evangelization of pre-Christian rites and beliefs: one must turn to God, through whose word "the earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seeds in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds" (Gen 1, 12) in order to obtain what was formerly obtained by magic rites; to stem the damages deriving from poisonous herbs, and benefit from the efficacy of curative herbs.
o This ancient use came to be associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, in part because of the biblical images applied to her such as vine, lavender, cypress and lily, partly from seeing her in terms of a sweet smelling flower because of her virtue, and most of all because of Isaiah 11, 1, and his reference to the "shoot springing from the side of Jesse", which would bear the blessed fruit of Jesus.
o This Blessing of Herbs is included in the prayers library.
· In an age of sensuality and materialism the Assumption points out the dignity and destiny of our human body, extols the dignity of womanhood, and turns our eyes to the true life beyond the grave. At Mass today ask Mary for the grace to keep your mind fixed on things above and to aspire continually to be united with her and to be brought to the glory of the Resurrection.
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.
Full Sturgeon Moon
According to the almanac today we are having a Full Sturgeon Moon; plan to spend some time fishing or visit an aquarium with your children or grandchildren.