The Catholic feast of the Assumption is celebrated on Aug. 15, and Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics celebrate the Dormition of the Theotokos (the falling asleep of the Mother of God) on or around the same date.
Mary was with the disciples in the Upper Room, waiting for and praying for the Promised Holy Spirit. From the earliest days of the church, Mary was spoken of in the Christian community as the ‘Second Eve’, the ‘Mother of all the living’. Jesus Christ was spoken of as the Second Adam… undoing what the first Adam had done: Mary, helping in that work, ‘crushing the head of Satan’ with her heel. This, even from the first century after Christ. Blessed John Henry Newman wrote of her holiness and her dignity being spoken of from the very start.
Her Assumption was celebrated in different churches from around the year 400.
‘Our tainted nature’s solitary boast’. William Wordsworth.
Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!
From Benedict XVI: “By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful. Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon. We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand. Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary’s guidance.”
Ná tréig Muire Máthair Dé, an old Irish saying,- ‘Do not neglect Mary, Mother of God.’
If you neglect Mary, you neglect her son. She is Theotokos. He is the Son of God, and the Son of Mary. To neglect her is to neglect the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation, Word made flesh, dwelling among us in time and place.
She is Mother of her Son, and of all who make up the body of her Son. She holds us all in her embrace and watches over us with care and love. She is always Mother, always running to catch us as we fall,- the one who is always running, -Mater de perpetuo succursu.
Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.
HYMN FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION: ‘QUEEN OF THIS DAY‘ (Adapted from ‘Bring Flowers the Rarest’)
Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady:
‘Queen of This Day’
BRING FLOWERS THE RAREST..
Bring flowers the rarest
bring blossoms the fairest,
from garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
our full hearts are swelling,
our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of this day:
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of this day.
Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Ah, grant that thy children on earth be as true
as long as the bowers
are radiant with flowers,
as long as the azure shall keep its bright hue