Thought for the Day – 15 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven
“The fourth Book of Kings tells us, that the prophet Elias was brought up into Heaven in a fiery chariot without having first endured the pains and humiliations of death (Cf 4 Kings 2:11). Why did God not do likewise in the case of the Blessed Virgin, commanding His Angels to bear her to Heaven before death struck her innocent body? As St Paul says, it was sin which caused death to enter the world. From the moment of her conception, Mary was free from the slightest taint of sin, for she was immaculate and full of grace. Nevertheless, according to the most widely held tradition, Mary chose to die, even as her divine Son had willed to die. Jesus “was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7). The same is true in Mary’s case, with only this difference. Jesus died a cruel death after the most hideous tortures in the midst of a blaspheming and hate-ridden mob. Nothing like this happened to Mary, although she is called the Queen of Martyrs because of the sword which pierced her soul at the sight of her divine Son, dying in such agony.
Jesus willed, however, that the immaculate body of His Mother would remain intact. It was only her great love and intense desire of being reunited with her Son, which gradually consumed her mortal life. Her ever-incresing love for God, broke the bonds of her mortal frame until she went to sleep at last, in the Lord.
Quote/s of the Day – 15 August – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
“How can death devour this truly blessed woman, who gave birth to the Whole Person of the Word of God, through union with God? How can hell receive her? When Christ, who is the way and the truth, said “Where I am, there will my servant be also, .” why would there not be a dwelling for His own Mother with Him, with an even greater justification? It is well said, that precious in the sight of the Lord God of Hosts, is the death of his saints – but even more precious, is the passing of the Mother of God from this life..”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 15 August – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, Readings: Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10,; Psalm 45: 10-12, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56
“For behold, henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed.” – Luke 1:48
REFLECTION – “If Saint Mary Magdalene – who had been a sinner and from whom the Lord had cast out seven demons – merited to be glorified by him to the extent that her praise abides forever among the assembly of the saints, who can measure the extent to which “the upright rejoice and dance for joy in the presence of the Lord” with regard to holy Mary, who knew not man? … If the Apostle Peter, – who was not only unable to watch for one hour with Christ but, who even went so far as to deny him, – afterwards won such favour that the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven were entrusted to him, of what praises is holy Mary not worthy, who bore the King of Angels Himself in her womb, He Whom the Heavens cannot contain? If Saul, who “breathed murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord” … was the object of such mercy … that he was “caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body,” it is not surprising, that the holy Mother of God – who stayed beside her Son through all the trials He endured, from His cradle onwards – should have been lifted up to Heaven, even in her body and exalted high above the Choirs of Angels.
If there is “joy in heaven before the angels over one sinner who repents”, who can tell what joyful and lovely praises rise up before God, concerning Holy Mary who never sinned? … Indeed, if those who “once were darkness” and have now become “light in the Lord” “will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” who is able to tell “the eternal weight of glory” of Holy Mary, who came into the world “like dawn arising, beautiful as the moon, resplendent as the sun” and of whom was born “the true light which enlightens everyone coming into the world?” Moreover, since our Lord said: “Whoever serves me must follow me and where I am, there will my servant also be,” where do we think His Mother must be, who served Him with such eagerness and fidelity? If she followed Him and obeyed Him, even to death, no-one can wonder, that now, more than anyone else, she “follows the Lamb wherever he goes.” – St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) – Cistercian Monk – 2nd sermon for the Assumption, from the Durham collection. (Biblical references : Lk 8:2; Ps 149:1; Ps 68:4; Lk 1:34; Mt 26:40.70; Mt 16:19; Acts 9:1; 2 Cor 12:2; Lk 22:28; Lk 15:7; Eph 5:8; Mt 13:43; 2 Cor 4:17; Sg 6:9; Jn 1:9; Jn 12:26; Rv 14:4)
PRAYER – God our Father, You crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary on the day of her Assumption with a glory beyond compare. You had looked on her lowliness and had made her the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son. Grant that by her prayers, we may be saved by the mystery of Your redemption and share with her in the glory of eternal life. We make our prayer through Christ Your Son, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 August – The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Prayer in Honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary By Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of men, we believe with all the fervour of our faith, in thy triumphal Assumption, both body and soul, into Heaven, where thou art acclaimed as Queen by all the Choirs of Angels and all the legions of the Saints. And we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord, who has exalted thee above all other pure creatures and to offer thee the tribute of our devotion and our love. Amen
Saint of the Day – Saint Alypius of Thagaste (Died 430) Bishop of the See of Thagaste (in what is now Algeria) in 394, Confessor, Reformer, Defender of the Fith against heresy, Lawyer, teacher, spiritual advisor. He was a lifelong friend of Saint Augustine of Hippo and joined him in his conversion (in 386; Confessions 8.12.28) and life in Christianity. He is credited with helping establish Augustine’s Monastery in Africa. Most of what is known about him comes from Augustine’s autobiographical Confessions. Born sometime in the middle of the fourth century in Thagaste, North Africa and died in 430 of natural causes. Also known as – Alipio, Alipius.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In Thagaste in Africa, St Alypius Bishop, who was the friend and disciple of the blessed Augustine and the companion of his conversion, his colleague in the pastoral charge, his valiant fellow-soldier in combating heretics and, finally, his partner in the glory of Heaven.”
He was born in Thagaste (today Souk Ahras, Algeria), to parents who were part of the local noble class. Small in stature but strong-minded and virtuous in character, he established an affectionate and intimate friendship with Augustíne, to the point where they repeatedly call each other “frater cordis mei” – brother of my heart. With him he shared the errors of youth, conversion, religious life and the toil of the apostolate. Saint Augustine describes him as a person of a religious nature, of great honesty and impartiality for his love of justice.
Some years younger than his friend, he attended the grammar schools of his land and the rhetoric schools in Carthage. He preceded him to Rome, where he went to study law and later, accompanied him to Milan. In Rome he was an advisor to the distributor of subsidies to Italy and he showed signs, rare in these circumstances, of integrity and prudence. He energetically resisted the pretensions of a powerful senator who tried to induce him to commit irregularities, showing indifference, with general admiration, both in the face of threats and flattery – “A rare soul,” writes Saint Augustine, “who did not pay attention to friendship, nor did he fear the resentment of such a powerful man, famous for the innumerable means at his disposal to do good or evil. “
With his friend, Alypius lived the adventure of returning to faith. Chaste of custom, he was a great help in the fight against passions and advised against joining a woman, so as not to give up living freely in the love of wisdom. He was present in the conversion crisis and followed suit. He withdrew with Augustine to Casiciaco, where he participated in philosophical discussions and, together with him, received Baptism on 25 April 387. The following year, Alypius returned to Africa and in Thagaste, he retired with friends to cenobitic life. . In 391 he followed Augustine to the Monastery of Hipona. Soon after,, he travelled to the East and made friends with Saint Jerome. He was esteemed by Saint Paulinus of Nola, who admired his holiness and his zeal.
Elected Bishop of Thagaste, around the year 394, when Augustine was still a Priest. For almost forty years, he shone in the Church of Africa as a reformer of the clergy, teacher of monastic life (Saint Melania, the young woman, remained seven years in Thagaste under his direction) and defender of the faith against Donatists and Pelagians.
In 411 he participated in the Carthage Synod, being one of the seven Catholic Bishops who disputed with the Donatists. In 416 he participated in the Council of Milevi (Numidia) and wrote about this meeting to Pope Innocent.
For the reason of the Pelagian cause he travelled several times to Italy, taking with him the works of St Augustine to present to the Pontiff Boniface. The last news we have from him was in 428 in correspondence to Augustine.
It is believed that he was in Hippo at the time of the death of Saint Augustine and that he died in the same year ,430. He was Canonised in 1584 by Pope Gregory XIII.
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary +2021
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. In 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed Mary’s Assumption a Catholic Dogma: “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” (Munificentissimus Deus). He did not specify whether she died first – Catholic Doctrine leaves that open. St Epiphanius of Salamis (Cyprus, died 403) had written, “No-one knows how her life ended.” But the Assumption of Mary is a nexus of Catholic faith in God’s power to resurrect the body and unite it with the soul in everlasting life. Among the many masters who have painted the subject of the Assumption are Fra Angelico, Ghirlandaio, 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.
St Simplician (c 320-c 401) Archbishop of Milan and Successor of St Ambrose (340-397) Doctor of the Church in the Archdiocese of Milan, Teacher, Catechist, Writer, Mystic. St Ambrose used to call Simplician father, as a sign of spiritual relationship but they were also great friends. Simplician took also an active part in the conversions of both Alypius of Thagaste and Augustine of Hippo. The meeting between Augustine and Simplican occurred in Milan in 386 and it is recorded in Augustine’s Confessions. After his conversion, Augustine also called Simplician father and in 397 he dedicated to Simplician two books on the issue of predestination, known as De Diversis Quaestionibus ad Simplicianum. St Augustine, remembered and referred to him with deep gratitude, calling him the “spiritual father of my soul” and would submit his own writings to him to review and comment. Details of the life of St Simplician here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/saint-of-the-day-15-august-st-simplician-of-milan/
St Stanislaus Kostka SJ (1550-1568) Polish Jesuit Novice. On the evening of the Feast of Saint Lawrence (10 August), Stanislaus felt a mortal weakness, magnified by a high fever and clearly saw, that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to the skies, there to celebrate with her, the glorious Anniversary of her Assumption (15 August). His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many favours, was this time again rewarded – on 15 August 1568, towards 4:00 in the morning, while he prayed to God, to the Saints and to the Virgin Mary, he died. Many in the City proclaimed him a saint and people hastened from all parts to venerate his remains and to obtain, if possible, arelic. St Stanislaus was Beatified on 19 October 1605 by Pope Paul V and Canonised on 31 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. https://anastpaul.com/2017/11/13/saint-of-the-day-13-november-st-stanislaus-kostka-sj-1550-1568/
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