Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This daughter of Jerusalem is lovely and beautiful as she ascends to heaven like the rising sun at daybreak

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary



Today is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation that, like so many others these days in the Western U.S., does NOT fall on the nearest Sunday. So, go to Mass and treat today as you would a Sunday. Since dogmas, like the Assumption, are no small matters of confusion, even among Catholics, take the time to learn about this dogma, which must be believed with divine and catholic faith. A good place to start is with Papa Pacelli's encyclical DEIPARAE VIRGINIS MARIAE ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON THE POSSIBILITY OF DEFINING THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AS A DOGMA OF FAITH. Then, of course, the Apostolic Constitution that declares and defines the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a dogma, also by Pope Pius XII, is MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS: DEFINING THE DOGMA OF THE ASSUMPTION.

(On a sidenote, I want to draw attention to the very holy man who is Pius XII, perhaps the most maligned man of the 20th century, by directing readers to Society That Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules)


The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it is known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was bodily raised up into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread; and, in consultation with bishops throughout the world, Pope Pius XII formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church. In a word, it became .
In these difficult days of division and violence, let's not hesitate to call upon our Blessed Mother for peace throughout the world. As Pope Benedict said when speaking of the war in Israel and Lebanon "Thus, in the face of the bitter observation that so far the voices asking for an immediate ceasefire in that tormented region have gone unheard, I feel the urgent need to renew my pressing appeal in this regard, asking everyone to make an effective contribution to build a just and lasting peace. I entrust this renewed appeal to the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin". Even though there is now a cease-fire in place and it appears to be holding Deo gratias, let us still implore the Blessed Virgin for peace whereever there is violence.

Let this be our prayer today, all day:

Ave Maria

Ave, Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum;
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.


Or, in English

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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