‘Twas the night before Assumption,
and all through the city,
people filled with anticipation
set clocks with trepidation,
in hopes of waking with alacrity.
Those in Rochester who are carpooling to the Fr. Corapi conference in Buffalo are leaving their houses at the hours of 4:30am or 5am; I have the “late” leave time of 5:30am. (A note of thanks to the unknown benefactor who provided my ticket.) That little bit of doggerel above was explanation why this post is appearing on the vigil of the Assumption, rather than the day itself.
This year the Assumption is not a holy day of obligation – don’t get me started on the sometimes yes, sometimes no aspect of that; if you want to read the bishops’ decision, it’s here.
The second reading of the day’s Office of Readings is from the 1950 bull Munificentissimus Deus, in which Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This is an excerpt of Munificentissimus Deus at EWTN.
If you are curious about how Catholic teaching is built layer by layer, Munificentissimus Deuswas preceded by the 1946 encylical Deiparae Virginis Mariae .
Those are the Vatican documents. The documents themselves are likely unfamiliar to many Catholics (I gave them a quick read when I started the first draft of this post several weeks ago), but unfortunately even the idea of Mary may also be unfamilar to some Catholics today.
The reason for that is a topic for another post, but the bare bones is that Mary’s “Yes” to God, her fiat (Latin for let it be done) made possible God’s plan of salvation. Jesus took his flesh from her. She’s the person closest to Jesus, both the joys and sorrows: Simeon’s prophecy, the flight into Egypt, when they returned, a mother’s every day joy of her child’s childhood, losing track of Jesus when he was 12, following the events of Jesus’ early ministry, meeting Jesus carrying his Cross to Calvary, standing at the foot of the Cross, Jesus’ burial, then Resurrection, Pentecost, and Catholic teaching of the special role given to Mary, of intercession and that all graces flow through her.
There’s a saying that Mary always points to Jesus and Jesus always points to the Father.
Rev. Peter John Cameron has a good article on “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin” in The Catholic Answer Book of Maryedited by the Very Reverend Peter Stravinskas.
The Assumption is the principal feast of Mary; may you have a very blessed holy day.