Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary 2013 Updated

As I was writing this post the news came in that Pope Francis is planning on consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   

A 'Marian Day' ceremony, is scheduled to take place at the Vatican on Sunday, October 13th, and will be attended by hundreds of religious movements and institutions that have a special Marian devotion. 

This Mass is one of the last main events scheduled for the 'Year of Faith." The statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima will travel from Portugal to the Vatican, on the morning of October 12th. On Saturday October 12th, different prayer events are scheduled along with a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter. Then on the 13th, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square.

Crowning of the Virgin : Paris 13th Century. Source Flickr

There are two different sets of Scripture readings for this feast.

Vigil Mass here and the Mass during the Day here.

Click here for a very detailed but readable and interesting reflection on the first reading from the Vigil Mass Old Testament Book Of Chronicles about the Ark of the Covenant. This links to the first reading from the Book of Revelations written by the apostle John in the Mass of the Day, where it explores the New Testament fulfillment in Mary as the New Ark or Theotokos /Mother of God.

The Gospel reading for the Mass during the Day celebrates Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth.

 Image above taken from my 2010 post here.

Arvo Part Magnificat


Nice article here.

This feast is also celebrated in the Orthodox Church as The Dormition of The Virgin Mary - the term is explained here.

Extract below.

"The Koimisistis Theotokou, Dormition of the Virgin Mary, or Assumption of the Virgin Mary all are names referring to the feast commemorating what is believed to be the miraculous transport of Mary, in bodily form, to Heaven after her death. 

Some accounts claim that she died in Jerusalem; others put her death at the Graeco-Roman city of Ephesus, now in Turkey, and the site of an alleged "House of the Virgin Mary"

The Ephesian origin is plausible as it was the Council of Ephesus which first proclaimed the feast. The story itself does not appear in the Bible, but is found in apocryphal stories and folklore, with written records dating back to as early as the third century and accounts of the story differ."

I've never heard the story about the "floating Thomas" but I admit that I am looking forward to visiting Ephesus in September- St John of the Cross was supposed to have gone there and is where he is allegedly buried; maybe I'll have a revelation ! 
Other highlights will be a visit to Corinth in the footsteps of St Paul and I'm very excited at the prospect of visiting Istanbul ( hope there's no trouble,) and the Haghia Sophia plus The Blue Mosque.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser has written some excellent articles on Mary and the Catholic World. 

Click here for the complete article - closing comments posted below.

 " Among devotions, the ones to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, have had the privileged place, especially among the poor. In Marian devotions, the faith takes on a special relationship to the poor. In a manner of speaking, Marian devotions are the mysticism of the poor. In relating to her, countless people, without the benefit of professional training in theology or liturgy have wonderfully appropriated to themselves deep, essential truths about God's person, presence, compassion, and providence. They know and taste God's love, through their relationship to Mary.

Many years ago, when I was an 18 year-old novice, a very pious old priest gave us a talk. He shared how a young man had come to him complaining that he'd lost his faith. The old priest had simply told him: "You've lost your faith because you've lost your mother, Mary." Funny how among the hundreds of hours of talks and conferences that I heard during my novitiate year, that pious, overly-simplistic, near-saccharine, theologically-impoverished comment is about the only thing I still remember."

I'd go a step further than Fr. Rolheiser in suggesting that it's hardly a surprise that one of the reasons so many have left the church is because they've sensed that the church has lost its sense of the feminine. 

It is wearying to see how women are marginalised and treated with condescending put downs whenever they try and make their voices heard, and the feeling of many that the church displays institutional misogyny is going to be hard to change.  

I sense that the anima is being recovered via Pope Francis - he has said he wants the church to develop a deeper theology of women so it will be interesting to see how that develops.

In this intriguing passage from Luke's Gospel it seems at first sight as if Jesus denigrates motherhood 
Luke 11:27-28:As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!"  But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
But Fr. Ron Rolheiser in an excellent article on Mary as a model of faith, explains : 
"Here, as in other places, we have to be careful to understand what Jesus is really telling us about his mother. We see places in the gospels where he seemingly does not speak highly of her when in fact the reverse is true. For example, the instance when he is approached and told: "You're mother is here, trying to see you," and he answers, "Who is my mother?" Then, pointing to the people sitting around him, he says, "Those who hear the word of God and keep it are mother and brother and sister to me."

Is Jesus distancing himself from his mother here? No. He's pointing out the real link between them, namely, among all the people in the gospels, Mary is the pre-eminent example of the one who hears the word of God and keeps it. 

For this reason, more than because of biological motherhood, Jesus claims her as his mother. 

Giving birth to Christ is something more than biological.  Moreover, it's also something we're asked to do. How?"  
Thanks to Fr. Austin Fleming for this article on Mary from Pray Tell and another one interesting one, here for the Feast of The Assumption posted at his blog, A Concord Pastor comments.

It's been interesting to read about the Feast of the Assumption in different parts of the world.

For Korea and the Korean Church, 15 August is a special day. In addition to the Assumption of Mary in Heaven, Koreans celebrate the end of Japanese imperialism and World War II. Korean Catholics have always interpreted this liberation as a gift from Mary. 

Click here for the full text of the Archbishop's of Seoul's message  to be read in Seoul's Myeong-dong Cathedral during the solemn Mass on 15 August.

Deacon Greg Kandra posts are here on The Assumption and The Wedding Of The Sea, a custom in many coastal regions in the US and Europe to have special blessings of the water – the sea or ocean – on the Feast of the Assumption. 

The custom originated in 15th century Italy, when a bishop traveling from Venice, during a storm at sea on the Feast of the Assumption, prayed and threw his pastoral ring into the sea from the ship — and the waters were calmed. I'm still unsure about the date for the Wedding Of The Sea ceremony celebration in Venice known as La Sensa I thought it was celebrated for the feast of the Ascension in May.

I've made several attempts at getting to grips with this feast since I started blogging so here are past efforts.

Related Reflections

Reflection here from Sharon Pearson.

Women In Theology have a reflection here.

 The Mocking of Christ was created in 1440 by Fra Angelico in the convent of San Marco in Florence. This fresco, painted in the private space of a monk’s cell, has 41 panels depicting images from the New Testament.

I've picked out some of the panels showing images of Mary

Close up of Mary's face from the image above

No one is paying attention to the sky !!

The image below shows Jesus crowning his mother Queen of Heaven. This ritual is a mystical marriage between Christ and his church, which Mary symbolizes. The architecture of heaven is depicted as radiant clouds and rings of circles symbolic of unity, perfection, eternity. 

Below them on celestial clouds the spirits of Saints Thomas Aquinas, Benedict, Dominic, Francis of Assisi, Peter Martyr, and Mark are united in their contemplation with the infinite and eternal God.

Image source Sacred Space102fm
Some quotes from the Bible on Mary
Luke 1:48: for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.  For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
What God did for Mary
Luke 1:49: for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Mary's sufferings
Luke 2:34-35:and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
Mary's role at the Wedding of Cana.
John 2:3-5:When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."  And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come."  His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Mary is our Mother
John 19:26-27: When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"  Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Mary and Jesus are united as one, and there's hope for the rest of us.
1 Corinthians 6:17: But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Mary,  the New Testament Ark of the Covenant, she is in heaven and she is Queen of heaven
Revelation 11:19-12:1:Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;
But the devil still is out there folks, doing what devils do best...
Revelation 12:17:Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

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