Thought for the Day – 15 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“It is generally believed that Our Blessed Lady died, since she would not have wished to escape death anymore than her divine Son did.
Our Lord, however, had see her sharing in His agony and death upon Mount Calvary and He willed that her own death would be so peaceful as hardly to justify the name.
The just die, in the love of God and the Martyrs died, for the love of God.
But Mary died, consumed by the love of God.
It was not disease which brought an end to her life but love.
Her love for Jesus, was more ardent and more perfect, than that of any other creature.
She loved Him, when she held Him in her arms in the stable at Bethlehem, when she fled with Him into Egypt and, when she offered Him in the temple to His heavenly Father.
She loved Him, when she found Him after He had been lost and when she looked after Him in their home at Nazareth.
She loved Him, as she followed Him to His death on Calvary.
She loved Him, in the joy of His Resurrection and, subsequently, of His Ascension into Heaven.
Jesus desired her to remain on earth for a while, to comfort the infant Church and to initiate the loving patronage which she would exercise over it, in Heaven.
Her love grew, from day to day, until it entirely consumed her and her Immaculate Heart could no longer contain it.
Mary fulfilled, in a most perfect manner, the Creator’s command to His creatures, to love Him with all their hearts and with all their strength.
Consequently, her love reached such a peak, that her soul, in it’s final ecstasy, glided from her body.
Let us ask our Mother, Mary, to help us to die with the love and grace of God in our hearts and, with the names of Jesus and Mary on our lips.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 August – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
“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 honoured by every creature as the Mother and the Handmaid of God.”
St John Damascene (675-749)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Saviour and our God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by Him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with Him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to Himself in a way known only to Him.”
St Modestus of Jerusalem (Died 630)
“And with regard to ourselves, how deservedly do we keep the Feast of the Assumption with all solemnity. What reasons for rejoicing, what motives for exultation have we on this most beautiful day! The presence of Mary illumines the entire world so that even the holy city above has now a more dazzling splendour from the light of this virginal Lamp. With good reason, thanksgiving and the voice of praise, resound today throughout the courts of Heaven… let us not complain, for here we do not have a lasting city but we seek one that is to come, the same which the blessed Mary entered today.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
“Now, behold, Mary leaves the earth and calling to mind the many graces she had there received from her Lord, she looks on it affectionately. And now Jesus offers her His Hand and the Blessed Mother rises in the air, passes beyond the clouds and arrives at the gates of heaven.”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor
One Minute Reflection – 15 August – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, Readings: Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10, Psalms 45: 10, 11, 12, 16, 1 Corinthians 15:20-27, Luke 1:39-56
My soul glorifies the Lord … Luke 1:46
REFLECTION – “He himself is your son, O Mary, He Himself rose from the dead on the third day and with your flesh ascended above all the heavens that He might fill all things. Therefore, O blessed lady, you have your joy, the object of your desire and the crown of your head have been granted you. He has brought to you the sovereignty of heaven through His glory, the kingdom of the world though His mercy, the subjugation of hell through His power. All things with their diverse feelings respond to your great and unspeakable glory – angels by honour, mortals by love, demons by terror. For you are venerated in heaven, loved in the world, feared in hell.
Rejoice, therefore and be glad, for He who receives you has arisen, your glory, lifting up your head. You rejoiced at His conception, you were afflicted at His passion. Rejoice again in His resurrection and your joy no-one will take from you. Christ, rising from the dead, dies no more; death will have no more dominion over Him.
The Spirit calls you, God says to you: “Arise, hasten, my love, my dove, my fair one and come. For the winter is past, the rain has departed and gone, the flowers have appeared on our earth. The time for pruning has come” (Sg 2:10-12). … Then the censer, following the incense and lifted up by the hand of the Lord, mounts to the throne of God. It goes up attended by a train of angelic spirits calling out on high and saying: “Who is this who comes up through the desert like a column of smoke from the odour of myrrh and incense and all the powders of perfume?” (Sg 3:6). … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk, then Bishop – Homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary VI, SC 72
PRAYER – My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!
For He has blessed me lavishly
and makes me ready to respond.
He shatters my little world
and lets me be poor before Him.
He takes from me all my plans
and gives me more than I can hope for or ask.
He gives me opportunities
and the ability to become free
and to burst through my boundaries.
He gives the strength to be doing,
to build on Him alone,
for He shows Himself
as the ever greater One in my life.
He has made known to me this!
It is in my being servant that it becomes possible.
For God’s kingdom to break through
here and now.
A Magnificat Translated from the German by Olga Warnke of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Our Morning Offering – 15 August – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
Who is She Ascends So High? By Sir John Beaumont (1582-1628)
Who is she ascends so high,
Next the heav’nly King,
Round about whom angels fly,
And her praises sing?
Who is she adorned with light,
Makes the sun her robe?
At whose feet the queen of night
Lays her changing globe?
This is she in whose pure womb
Heaven’s Prince remained,
Wherefore in no earthly tomb
Could she be contained.
Heav’n she was, which held that fire,
Whence the world took light,
And to heav’n doth now aspire,
Flames with flames unite.
She that did so clearly shine,
Our Day once begun,
See how bright her beams decline,
Sitting with the Sun.
Who is She Ascends So High? was written by the English poet, Sir John Beaumont (1582-1628). In 1607 and again in 1625, both he and and his wife were charged and fined as Roman Catholic Recusants for refusing to attend Anglican services. In 1626 he was created a Baronet by King Charles I (1600-1649), who himself had married a Catholic and allowed her to practice her faith openly and freely. In the Divine Office, Who is She Ascends So High? is used on Feast Days of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The suggested musical setting in the Divine Office is the hymn tune – Assumpta Est. The tune used in the following video is unknown.
Saint of the Day – 15 August – Blessed Alfred of Hildesheim OSB (Died 874) Bishop, Benedictine Monk, Confessor, Founder of Essen Abbey, Hildesheim Cathedral, many Convents, Schools and Seminaries, Royal Spiritual Adviser to the East Frankish King Louis the German, Diplomatic Peacemaker, he was know for his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Born in the early 9th century in Cologne, Germany and died on 15 August 874 of natural causes. Patronage – Hildesheim, Essen, Germany.
Alfred was born into an aristocratic family in Saxony, Germany at around 800. Not long before he was born, King Charlemagne of the Franconian Empire, conquered the Saxons after some long and bitter battles. The Saxons were converted to Christianity. St Alfred was born to a family of new converts.
He was probably educated at a convent. At the time, there were only two sources of education – schools opened by imperial courts and schools run by convents.
Alfred became a monk at Corvey Abbey and in 851 he was appointed Bishop of Hildesheim and initiated the construction of the first Cathedral of the city. On 1 November 872, the Cathedral was Consecrated by the saint himself and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, St Cosmas and St Damian, St Cecilia, St Valerian and St Tiburtius as Patron Saints. A Cathedral school was also opened, which became the foundation of the educational system in Hildesheim.
Even before his Consecration as Bishop, Alfred had been active in the foundation of several female religious communities. The most important one was the Canonesses Convent in Essen. He funded this Convent which was built on his inherited land. With donations from generous donors across generations, the Convent became one of the richest in Germany. The Church therein was consecrated by Alfred and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Holy Mother of God, St Cosmas and St. Damian. Between 845-847 Alfred had acquired the relics of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Rome.
Bishops at that time were greatly revered in the kingdom and were often given duties by the kings. Alfred’s level of involvement in the politics of his time may be a little unimaginable to us today. After King Charlemagne’s death, his descendants divided up his kingdom. Disputes and feuds happened often as the princes fought for expansion of power. As Alfred was a good friend and adviser to Ludwig der Deutsche, king of East Fraconia, he was often given diplomatic duties to negotiate with the king’s brothers and nephews.
His adherence to justice and his political wisdom had brought successes to his diplomatic missions and earned him the reputation of peace-maker.
On 15 August 874, Alfred died “rich in days” after some two decades as Bishop of Hildesheim. The place of Altfrid’s death is not known, although the date is recorded by Abbot Altbert of Lobbes as the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 15 August 874, which occurred on a Sunday that year. He was buried, according to his wishes, in the church of Essen Abbey. A Gothic tomb stands over his grave in the east crypt, which is named after him.
After his death Alfred was particularly venerated at his tomb in Essen. Many miracles were reported at his grave, which greatly increased the veneration and the effects of a healing spring close to the Church were also ascribed to his intercession. After a serious fire in the Church in the 13th century a Gothic stone sarcophagus was obtained for his bones. Alfred’s feast day – which in Essen was celebrated on 16 August, rather than on 15 August – is the most festive in the Abbey’s yearly calendar.
The almanac of Bishops of Essen which was edited in the 12th century has a record that says: – “Alfred passed away at an advanced age and joined rank with the saints. He was buried at the Essen Cathedral which he built and Consecrated. Ever since then, there have been many miracles. Pilgrims from other places bear witness to these matters.”
In 1965, Pope Paul VI approved a feast day for Alfred, Bishop and Confessor, who had been regarded as a saint for centuries. Mass in his honour has since been celebrated. The long-time devotion to the saint was finally recognised by the Church.
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (however, in most countries of Africa, the Solemnity will be celebrated on the Sunday following the 15th).
The Feast celebrates the Assumption of the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven upon her death. According to Pope Benedict XIV, it is a probable opinion, which it is impious to deny, though not an article of faith but has since in 1950 has been raised to a DOGMA of the Faith. The origin of the Feast day is not known but it was celebrated in Palestine before the year 500.
It is a holy day of obligation, it’s vigil being a fast day, in many English-speaking countries. Among the many masters who have painted the subject of the Assumption are Fra Angelico, Ghirlandajo, Rubens, Del Sarto and Titian. Patronages – Acadians, Cajuns, Cistercian Order, Cistercians, fish dealers, fish-mongers, French air crews, harness makers, France, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Malta, Paraguay, Slovakia, east Africa (region of east Africa which includes diverse countries, proclaimed on 15 March 1952 by Pope Pius XII) South Africa (this is not a region but a country) and the Assumption is, therefore, the Patronal Feast of the Country of South Africa – proclaimed on 15 March 1952 by Pope Pius XII), 24 dioceses, 38 cities.
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together. No details survive but the names – Eutychian, Philip and Straton. They were martyred in Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey).
Martyred in the Mexican Revolution: 4 Saints –
St David Roldán Lara
St Luis Batiz Sainz
St Manuel Moralez
St Salvador Lara Puente
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939.
• Blessed Agustì Ibarra Angüela
• Blessed Carmelo Sastre y Sastre
• Blessed Clemente Vea Balaguer
• Blessed Francisco Míguez Fernández
• Blessed Ildefonso Alberto Flos
• Blessed Jaume Bonet Nadal
• Blessed Joan Ceró Cedó
• Blessed Josep Santonja Pinsach
• Blessed Juan Francisco Barahona Martín
• Blessed Juan Mesonero Huerta
• Blessed Luis Ros Ezcurra
• Blessed Manuel Formigo Giráldez
• Blessed Miguel Alberto Flos
• Blessed Sebastià Balcells Tonijuan
• Blessed Severiano Montes Fernández