Mother of the Church
Monday Night at the Movies
King of Kings, 1961
FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
John, Chapter 7,
Still, no one spoke openly about him because they were AFRAID of the Jews.
people were divided over Jesus, and he was either loved or hated. Even today
you must decide to follow Christ or follow the world for there is no middle
Building up the Kingdom
and the Church teach us that we have three divinely ordained purposes that give
our lives meaning:
— seeking to save our eternal souls and help save the souls of others (that
salvation, the Church teaches, is God's free gift but requires our cooperation
through faith in God, obedience to his commandments, and repentance of our
— using our God-given talents to build God's kingdom here on earth.
— growing in holiness.
The third of these life goals, sanctity, is central to building Catholic character. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says something that is stunning: "Be thou made perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). St. Gregory put it this way: "The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God." Scripture tells us, "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16). If we want to be like God, our vocation is to love. The essence of love is to sacrifice for the sake of another, as Jesus did. Love is self-gift. What, then, is our goal if we want to develop Catholic character in our children and ourselves? Look to the character of Christ: A life of self-giving.
high goal of Christ-like character builds on a base of what the Church calls
"natural virtues." Among the natural virtues that families and
schools should nurture are the four advanced by the ancient Greeks, named in
Scripture (Wis 8:7), and adopted by the Church as "the cardinal
virtues": prudence, which enables us to judge what we should do; justice,
which enables us to respect the rights of others and give them what they are
due; fortitude, which enables us to do what is right in the face of
difficulties; temperance, which enables us to control our desires and avoid
abuse of even legitimate pleasures. These natural virtues are developed through
effort and practice, aided by God's grace.
develop a Christ-like character, however, we need more than the natural
virtues. We also need the three supernatural, or "theological,"
in God, which enables us to believe in God and the teachings of his church.
in God, which leads us to view eternal life as our most important goal and to
place total trust in God.
of God, which enables us to love God above all things and our neighbor as
ourselves for the love of God.
The three theological virtues are considered supernatural because they come from God and have as their purpose our participation in God's divine life. As the Catechism (1813) teaches, the theological virtues are not separate from the natural virtues; rather, they "are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character." The Catholic writer Peter Kreeft points out, "The Christian is prudent, just, courageous, and self-controlled out of faith in God, hope in God, and love of God." The supernatural virtues, like the natural virtues, grow stronger through our effort and practice, in cooperation with God's grace.
Instruction on Intemperance
“Be sober and watch.” I. Peter v. 8.
St. Peter prescribes sobriety and watchfulness as necessary means for resisting the attacks of the devil, who by day and night goes about seeking whom he may devour. Woe to those who, by reason of their drunkenness, (The term drunkard applies to any person who is caught up in the addiction cycle, whether it is drink, gambling, drugs or sex.) live in a continual night and lie in the perpetual sleep of sin! How will it be with them if, suddenly awakened from this sleep by death, they find themselves standing, burdened with innumerable and unknown sins, before the judgment-seat of God? For who can number the sins, committed in and by reason of drunkenness, which the drunkard either accounts as trifles, easily pardoned, or else, not knowing what he has thought, said, and done in his fit of intoxication, considers to be no sins at all? Will the divine Judge, at the last day, thus reckon? Will He also find no sin in them? Will He let go unpunished the infamous deeds and the scandals of their drunkenness? He Who demands strict account of every word spoken in vain, will He make no inquiry of so many shameful, scandalous, and blasphemous sayings, of so much time wasted, of so much money squandered, of so many neglects of the divine service, of the education of children, of the affairs of home, and of innumerable other sins? Will they be able to excuse themselves before this Judge by saying that they did not know what they were doing? Or that what they did was for want of reflection, or in jest? Or that they were not strong, and could not bear much? Will not such excuses rather witness against them that they are the worthier of punishment for having taken more than their strength could bear, thereby depriving themselves of the use of reason, making themselves like brutes, and, of their own free will, taking on themselves the responsibility for all the sins of which their drunkenness was the occasion? What, then, awaits them? What else than the fate of the rich glutton who, for his gluttony, was buried in hell? (Luke xvi. 22.) Yes, that shall be the place and the portion of the drunkard! There shall they in vain sigh for a drop of water. There, for all the pleasures and satisfactions which they had in the world, as many pains and torments shall now lay hold of them (Apoc. xviii. 7); there shall they be compelled to drain the cup of God’s anger to the dregs, as they, in life, forced others into drunkenness. This is what they have to hope for, for St. Paul says expressly that drunkards shall not possess the kingdom of God (i. Cor. vi. 10). What then remains for them but to renounce either their intemperance or heaven? But how rare and difficult is the true conversion of a drunkard! This is the teaching of experience. Will not such a one, therefore, go to ruin?
Reflect on your use of TV, internet, media,
food, etc.; alcohol is only one form of intemperance-keep your heart free of
all that tarnishes love.
feast is so called because on this day, according to a very old and pious
belief, the Blessed Virgin was, in body and soul, taken up into heaven. This
feast is of very great antiquity; it was fixed on the 15th of August at the
request of the Emperor Maurice, and afterwards, by Pope Leo IV, was extended to
the whole Church.
the Introit of the Mass the Church invites us to universal joy by singing, “Let
us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this festival in honor of the most
blessed Virgin Mary, on whose assumption into heaven the angels rejoice and
give praise to the Son of God. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works
to the King.
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 intercession of the Mother of Thy Son.
Ecclus. xxiv. 11-20.
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 in heritance 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 honorable 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 odor like the best myrrh.
Luke x. 38-42.
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
Why does the Church
read this gospel to-day?
it readily admits of being applied to Mary, the Mother of God, since she, far
more worthily and lovingly than Martha, chose the best part, and thereby
obtained the most glorious reward, which no one shall ever take from her.
What is the one thing
glory of God and the salvation of the soul. Let a man, therefore, fulfil the duties
which are binding upon him; but in so doing let him look only to God, avoid all
uneasiness and distraction, all extravagance and excess, all that is unjust,
and sooner sacrifice everything than suffer injury to his soul.
of Mary The day that the mother of God was assumed body and soul into heaven and
Catholics believe Mary, the Virgin mother of Jesus, never physically died and
instead ascended into heaven. Mary, as the mother of God, is believed by some
Christian faiths to have lived a life without sin. Some early-church
theologians believed that since she and Christ were both without sin that Mary
must have raised bodily to heaven just as Christ was. This belief began
the feast of the Assumption of Mary.
Assumption of Mary Facts
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.
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.
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
Assumption of Mary Top Events and
Things to Do
an Orthodox Church during the Feast of the Assumption to see the blessing of
an herb garden or plant some bulbs to bloom in spring in honor of Mary.
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.
or Listen to a rendition of "Ave Maria". One of the more
popular renditions is by Luciano Pavarotti.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
of Herbs and Fruits for the Feast of the Assumption
Church "baptized" an old pre-Christian belief in the great healing
power of herbs picked in August by instituting a ritual for the blessing
of herbs and fruits on the Feast of the Assumption. Since that time,
Christians from both East and West have blessed herbs and fruit on the Feast of
the Assumption in the belief that these sacramentals provide protection against
harm and danger. But this custom also hearkens back to the Hebrew observance of
the harvest, and more importantly, it
teaches us something about our Lady's role in the economy of salvation. Eve
foolishly used herbs (fig leaves) to hide and aggravate her sin, thereby
bringing about a disorder of body and soul (Gen. 3.7). By contrast, Mary, the
new Eve whose soul and body are untouched by sin or the decay of death (as we
celebrate on this day), foreshadows a healing of our corporeal frailties, a
healing represented by herbs.
Likewise, fruits are an appropriate
symbol for the new Eve because she never ate of the forbidden fruit but brought
forth only the fruit of good works and, most importantly, the Fruit of her womb, Jesus Christ. The blessed fruit
thus betokens the fruit of a holy and generous life which we are called to
enjoy from our Lord through the patronage of His mother. In any case the solemn
blessing of herbs and fruits on this day became so popular that in central
Europe August 15 was simply called Our Lady's Herb Day. Usually,
these blessings would take place before Mass and would involve whatever was
brought by the congregation to the church. Afterwards the herbs would be kept
for medicinal use while the fruit would be served at dinner. The following is
one of the special blessings from the Roman ritual that is used for herbs and
fruits on Assumption Day:
O God, who by Moses Thy servant didst command
the children of Israel to carry their sheaves of new fruits to the priests for
a blessing, to take the finest fruits of the orchards, and to make merry before
Thee, the Lord their God: Kindly hear our supplications, and pour forth the
abundance of Thy blessing upon us and upon these sheaves of new grain, new
herbs, and assortment of fruits, which we gratefully present to Thee and which
we bless on this feast in Thy name. And grant that men, cattle, sheep, and beasts
of burden may find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores,
injuries, spells, the poison of snakes, and the bites of other venomous and
nonvenomous creatures. And may they bring protection against diabolical
illusions, machinations, and deceptions wherever they are kept or carried, or
with whatever arrangement is made of them: that with sheaves of good works and
through the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Feast of the Assumption we
celebrate, we may deserve to be lifted up to heaven. Through our Lord Jesus
Christ, Thy son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, God unto endless ages. Amen.
blessing of herbs and fruits has also led to the lovely custom of giving and
receiving baskets of fruit on the Feast of the Assumption, a custom
which was especially popular in Sicily.
Blessing of Nature
August 15th is the Feast
of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and just as Mary's assumption into
heaven signifies her purity of body and soul, so too does it remind us of her
freedom from the curses of the Fall, such as having to live by the sweat of
one's brow on a land that yields only thorns and thistles (Gen. 3.18,19). It is
perhaps for this reason that the Feast or the Octave of the Assumption was a favorite
time for blessing the scene of man's labors, especially those related
to the production of food. In Western Europe, for example, fields would often
be blessed by the parish priest, while in America and Latin countries
Assumption Day is traditionally the occasion for blessing the fishing fleets of
coastal towns. Also tying into this theme of nature is the German and Austrian
time Mary is invoked for assistance or thanked for the autumn harvest of
grains. This period lasts from Assumption Day until September 15, the Feast of
the Seven custom of Our Lady's Thirty Days (Frauendreissiger),
during which Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin. Legend states that nature is
particularly benign during this time: snakes do not bite, wild animals do not
attack, and food picked within the thirty days is especially wholesome.
Finally, parts of England and Ireland observe Our Lady's Health Bathing,
where bathing in rivers, lakes, the ocean, or any natural body of water is
considered particularly good for one's health.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE
CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION
I. What is This Sacrament Called?
1423 It is called the
sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to
conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has
strayed by sin.
It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.
1424 It is called the
sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest
is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a
"confession" - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and
of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent "pardon and peace."
It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: "Be reconciled to God." He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: "Go; first be reconciled to your brother."
Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting:Unite in the work of the
30 Days of Women and Herbs – Frauendreissiger –
Nr. 1 Scarlet
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 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.