Celebrating the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Home
Today we are invited to celebrate and enter into the mystery of Our Lady’s being taken up into heaven body and soul. “By a special privilege, she was enriched by divine grace from the moment of her conception, and Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Father, opened the doors of his kingdom to her, first among human creatures.”
The Preface for the Mass celebrating the Assumption of Our Lady wonderfully puts into words this wonderful mystery of faith, of how Mary is the “sign of sure hope and comfort to [God’s] pilgrim people.” And so we look to Mary, free from corruption of sin and preserved from a bodily corruption, as our model of perfection.
Perfection in the biblical sense is better understood as a wholeness by which we understand ourselves as beloved servants of God and subsequently deepen our relationship with God and others. Perfection implies a readiness to accept our faults, seek truth, and to stand back up after we have fallen.
We as Catholics believe that it was at the end of her earthly life that she was assumed into God’s Kingdom. For, “it was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles...it was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and the Handmaid of God.”
So today we ask for Mary’s intercession today as we continue to avoid sin—which corrupts physically, mentally and spiritually—while striving to do good.
I invite you all to pray together with your families, for your families as well as for all other families, that they may be led, through Mary, to Christ in that perfection which we are called to live.
I also invite you to read the readings and view this piece of sacred art, discussing and meditating upon them with your families.
Preface for the Mass:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For today the Virgin Mother of God
was assumed into heaven
as the beginning and image
of Your Church’s coming to perfection
and a sign of sure hope and comfort to Your pilgrim people;
rightly You would not allow her
to see the corruption of the tomb
since from her own body she marvelously brought forth
Your incarnate Son, the Author of all life.
Your holy and all-virginal body was consigned to a holy tomb, while the angels went before it, accompanied it, and followed it; for what would they not do to serve the Mother of their Lord?
Meanwhile, the apostles and the whole assembly of the Church sang divine hymns and struck the lyre of the Spirit: “We shall be filled with the blessings of your house; your temple is holy; wondrous in justice” (Psalm 65:4). And again: “The Most High has sanctified his dwelling” (Psalm 46.5); “God’s mountain, rich mountain, the mountain in which God has been pleased to dwell” (Psalm 68:16-17). The assembly of apostles carried you, the Lord God’s true Ark, as once the priests carried the symbolic ark, on their shoulders. They laid you in the tomb, through which, as if through the Jordan, they will conduct you to the promised land, that is to say, the Jerusalem above, mother of all the faithful, whose architect and builder is God. Your soul did not descend to Hades, neither did your flesh see corruption. Your virginal and uncontaminated body was not abandoned in the earth, but you are transferred into the royal dwelling of heaven, you, the Queen, the sovereign, the Lady, God’s Mother, the true God-bearer [Theotokos].
O, how did heaven receive her, who surpasses the wideness of the heavens? How is it possible that the tomb should contain the dwelling place of God? And yet it received and held it. For she was not wider than heaven in her bodily dimensions; indeed, how could a body three cubits long, which is always growing thinner, be compared with the breadth and length of the sky? Rather it is through grace that she surpassed the limits of every height and depth. The Divinity does not admit of comparison.
O holy tomb, awesome, venerable, and adorable! Even now the angels continue to venerate you, standing by with great respect and fear, while the devils shrink in horror. With faith, men make haste to render you honor, to adore you, to salute you with their eyes, with their lips, and with the affliction of their souls, in order to obtain an abundance of blessings. A precious ointment, when it is poured out upon the garments or in any place and then taken away, leaves traces of its fragrance even after evaporating. In the same way your body, holy and perfect, impregnated with divine perfume and abundant spring of grace, this body which had been laid in the tomb, when it was taken out and transferred to a better and more elevated place, did not leave the tomb bereft of honor but left behind a divine fragrance and grace, making it a wellspring of healing and a source of every blessing for those who approach it with faith. (John Damascene, Homily 1 on the Dormition 12–13 [PG XCVI, 717D–720C]).
Written by Rev. Father David Carvajal, Parochial Vicar