- Monday, 15 August 2011 07:56
In the Ascension, the Lord, with His Resurrection, has
become the Master of the World. Therefore, there is One among us who will save
everything that we are, who is so powerful as to save our life, as to preserve
it entire in order to give it back to us whole by forgiving our sins. The
demonstration of this is the mystery of the Assumption, when He took Our Lady’s
humanity and did not leave her in the clutches of death even for an instant.
the mystery of the Assumption, the Lord says, “You see, I will not let you lose
anything of what I have given you, of what you have used, of what you have
tasted, even of what you have misused, if you are humble with me. Blessed are
the poor in spirit, that is to say: if you acknowledge that everything is
grace, that everything is mercy, because your criteria are nothing, my
criterion will be everything.” Our Lady is already at this ultimate, profound
level of Being from which all beings draw substance, life, and destiny. This is
why she was bodily lifted into heaven, where the Mystery of God dwells: so that
she would be for us, daily, the Mother of the event.
The glorification of Our
Lady’s body indicates the ideal of Christian morality, the valuing of every
moment, every instant. Therefore it is the prizing of life, of our existence,
the life of the world’s body, it is the exaltation of matter lived by the soul,
lived by the consciousness which is relationship with God. It is the prizing of
our earthly life, not because it is a lucky one due to particular
circumstances, but because through even the smallest things is borne our
relationship with the Infinite, with the mystery of God
(Luigi Giussani, The
- Monday, 15 August 2011 07:00
Today’s feast celebrates the ultimate fulfillment of Mary’s
journey as God’s faithful and humble servant. As we reflect on this joyful
feast, we hopefully realize that she is inviting us and teaching us to sing the
Magnificat [the text for today’s Gospel] along with her as we continue along
our own journeys, however near or far the fulfillment of our journey remains.
We too are invited to proclaim in joy and humble service the compassion and
justice of our God. Today’s feast assures us that like Mary, in serving the
reign of God, we too will one day share in her destiny. (Father Damian, Abbot of Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer)
The Office of Readings leads us to shout for joy:
Dearest brethren, this is a time
when all flesh should shout for joy, because the Mother of the Word made flesh
is assumed into heaven; nor should human mortality desist from singing songs of
praise on this glorious festival, when the nature of man is elevated in the
Virgin to solitary eminence, high above all the orders of immortal spirits. (Saint Bernard, Second Nocturn)
- Friday, 12 August 2011 11:34
August 1 through 14 is a period of fasting in the
Byzantine churches in preparation for the feast of the Dormition of the
Theotokos (Assumption) on August 15.
Unfortunately, we in the Roman Church have lost the Assumption fast, but we continue to bless herbs and flowers on this solemnity.
It is truly right to bless you, O
Theotokos, as the ever-blessed and immaculate Mother of our God. More honorable
than the cherubim, and by far more glorious than the seraphim, ever a virgin, you
gave birth to God the Word; O true Theotokos, we magnify you!
- Tuesday, 19 July 2011 07:17
Saturday was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the liturgical
commemoration of Mary on which we automatically thought of the brown
scapular. Or, we did make an association with the BVM of Mount Carmel and the scapular. Our sensibilities have changed dramatically to the point that only the old people remember such devotions by-and-large.
Recently at the parish we were talking about selling rosaries,
bibles, catechisms nun-made fudge, and I introduced offering the brown
scapular. The person who is organizing this very small “church store” looked at me
quizzically: what are scapulars? So much for Catholic culture and the Catholic
liturgical imagination! I explained that as a concept originally referred to a
form of clothing, a wide band of clothe put on the shoulders reaching down to the front and back of the legs, often to the ankles. The scapular is worn by priests, nuns, and sisters like, but not limited to
the Dominicans; the scapular historically was worn as an apron that would
protect the tunic. Later the scapular was blessed taking it out of the realm of
a work outfit. But I am not talking about the scapular worn as part of the religious habit of the religious.
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