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Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15: The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

El Greco's "Assumption of the Virgin"
I always find it best to begin a reflection on the great Mystery of the Assumption with the Dogmatic definition as it was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950:
"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that 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."
What does this mean for us?  Bl. John Paul II put it best in his homily from the Solemnity of the Assumption 2001:
"Mary's assumption is an event that concerns us precisely because every human being is destined to die.  But death is not the last word.  It is the passage to the eternal happiness in store for those who toil truth and justice and do their utmost to follow Christ."
The very glory which Mary experienced in her Assumption is the same glory that awaits all the Faithful at the resurrection of the dead.  God assumed Mary into heaven not just because of her own merits and his desire to preserve her body from the corruption and decay of death, but to give us a foretaste of that awesome reward which we, too, hope to obtain by our continued perseverance in this valley of tears!

May God bless all of you on this great Feast of Our Lady, and may the Blessed Virgin's prayers help keep you on the path to eternal life!

Incidentally, here at St. Anthony's at the 6:00 p.m. we celebrated a Solemn Mass and blessed herbs according to the traditional blessing found in the old Roman Ritual.  It was a truly beautiful experience.  If there are photos to be had, they will be posted later.

Following the Mass, my own blessed herbs (mainly sweet basil) were then harvested and turned into enough pesto to last the winter! 

On a side note, this was not a Holy Day of Obligation so much as a Holy Day of Opportunity, and I was delighted to see that almost 50 parishioners came out for the evening Mass, which is usually not on the schedule.  Next year, I expect that number to triple!  I'm just sayin'...

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