And all heaven’s powers stood by the Master,
filled with awe and love,
as they prepared to welcome you,
in whom the Word of God had dwelt.
With joyful voices they sang forth their hymns of praise:
Today, all creation rejoices,
for the Queen of all,
the very handmaid of the Lord, is nigh!
Open wide, all your portals on high:
Make way for the Mother of light to enter in,
for through her all the world received salvation,
from this Maid who exceeds all praise,
for her greatness is beyond all understanding.
So the, O fairest Lady,
we, too, celebrate your holy Dormition.
Now that you dwell in everlasting glory with your divine Son,
we give you thanks on this glorious day and we bless you,
for you never cease praying for us!
The above text from Vespers sung by Byzantine Church which celebrates a vigil of the Dormition, as they call the feast. They use the term for the vigil as the “foretaste” of the Dormition of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Hymn texts are very great communicators of what the Church believes to be beautiful, good and true. Like music, sacred art has an interesting way to move a believer to know a truth. In the image I placed with the text was painted by the Dominican Fra Angelico (Blessed John of Fiesole). You’ll notice the dormition (the falling asleep) of Mary and her Assumption, an act seemingly happening at the same moment. From a dogmatic point of view, the Catholic Church never definitively taught whether Mary experienced death, or not. Pope Pius XII left it an open question. Perhaps it is a both/and point.