Message to the Faithful and Reflections on the Scripture Readings on the Occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Mass of an important occasion and an important part of our faith, that is celebrating the Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven by the power and the will of God. This is the dogma and definitive teaching of the Church, declared by the great Pope Pius XII on this day, sixty-four years ago, on the fifteenth day of August of the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ has long been the subject of veneration and respect for many generations since the beginning days of the Church. Mary as the mother of Jesus, who is the Son of God, the Divine Word incarnate into flesh, has been considered as the Theotokos, or the Mother of God ever since the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in the year of 325 of our Lord. This is because she was the vessel through which our Lord and Saviour was born into this world.

If you had noticed, that the readings today, the songs from the psalms and the Gospel itself talk about the Ark of God, or the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two slabs of stone on which God had written in stone His laws and commandments for His people, and for mankind to be kept faithfully for all eternity. That Ark of the Covenant came to be considered as the Holy Presence of God among men, as God Himself resided in the world, among His people through the Ark.

That was why in the Scripture Reading from the Book of Chronicles today, we are told of the meticulous and very detailed preparations for the carrying of the Ark of God into the Holy City of Jerusalem, that it may be brought from the wilderness where the Ark had resided, to the Tent which the king David of Israel had prepared for the Ark of the Lord. This is because the Ark itself represents the dwelling of God among men, and therefore, later on, it was to be enshrined in the holiest part of the Temple of Jerusalem, in what is called the Holy of holies.

So sacred is that Ark, that indeed, before the occurrence of what is in the First Reading today, what happened was that the Ark had been attempted to be moved to the city of Jerusalem earlier on, but one of the priests of the Levites tribe accidentally touched the Ark when it slipped along the way, and the offending priest was cast down immediately by God for the accidental touching of the Ark. The meticulous preparation was indeed partly because no one, and no human hands should ever touch the Holy Ark of God.

And how is this relevant to what we are celebrating today? That is because the Blessed Virgin Mary is herself an Ark of the Covenant, and in fact, she is the Ark, the one and true Ark, of a covenant that had been established anew by the Lord, the new covenant of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. As she bore the Lord and Saviour in her womb, she essentially became the new Ark of the new covenant which Jesus was to establish and seal by His death on the cross.

And as the Blessed Virgin Mary bore the Lord in herself, she has become the new Ark, that is indeed truly equally sacred and holy in all ways, the same as the old Ark had been. For truly, it must be inconceivable that for the Lord to be born into the world through physical attachments corrupted by sin. That is why, today’s feast is essentially inseparable from that of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin herself, which means that the Mother of our Lord was conceived without sin, pure and immaculate.

This dogma truly had the background in this purity and holiness of the Ark of God, which was then made anew through Mary, who was to bear the Lord and Saviour of all creation, and no longer just merely the two slabs of stone on which was written the laws and commandments of God. Mary was therefore prepared and made special, pure and immaculate, free from all forms of sin and evil. And therefore, just as in her birth, where she was without sin like her Son, it was truly also inconceivable that death should have any power over her.

This is why the Assumption, in which the Lord brought His own earthly mother into heaven, to show that for she was without sin, pure and immaculate, death has no power over her. Assumption is the proof that God showed men, using the example of His own mother, that death has no final say on us. Instead, He Himself by His sacrifice on the cross had conquered death, and death no longer bound us to itself, and we now have a new hope of life eternal in God.

In the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we honour and look up to Mary, who is both the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and also the foremost and greatest among all saints, as the one whose examples inspire all of us to do better and aim for the better for ourselves. Mary gives us hope that we too may one day be like her, receiving the gift of heavenly glory and our everlasting inheritance as part of the promise and hope which our God had given us.

However, on this sacred and joyful day, we also have to remember that we have our duties and obligations as well. Why is this so? Because all of us who believe in the Lord and who have accepted Him into ourselves, with our God becoming a part of us, and we as a part of the Lord as one Body, we too become the Arks of the Lord’s new covenant. And what is this covenant, exactly? We have to remember what Jesus said at the Last Supper, that the covenant He made was sealed by the giving of His Body and Blood to all mankind.

This covenant becomes ours and we are a part of the covenant when we receive the Lord who is present in the Most Holy Eucharist. Therefore, whenever we receive the Lord in the Holy Communion, we truly become like Mary, to bear the Lord unto ourselves, for the bread and wine are truly transformed completely into the very essence of our Lord, that He is truly present in us, and we become His Ark, or also known as what is called the Temple of God, or the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

And therefore it is very important for us to take note that as the Ark is holy and sacred, and as the Blessed Virgin Mary is holy and blessed, we too must also aspire and work towards having a holy and sacred Ark in ourselves, which means to avoid all sorts of fornications or sins that taint the body, or the soul or both body and soul.

If we are not able to do this, we will not be worthy bearers of the Lord, and we will be punished and cast out from our intended inheritance, and we will not share in the glory of Mary, whom God had brought body and soul into heaven for her role in the plan of God’s salvation of mankind. She is our role model and our hope, for through her God had made it clear to us, that death will not have any power over us, unless if we allow it to rule us again when we succumb to the temptations of sin and defile our bodies and our souls, unworthy of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all reflect on this occasion, and on God’s loving presence among us, and within us. Let us from now on, whenever we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, work harder and be more intent on keeping ourselves holy and worthy to receive our Lord into ourselves. Surely, we are all sinners and delinquents before God, but if we make the effort to keep ourselves holy and devoted to Him, He will grant us His favour.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven body and soul by the power and favour of our Lord Jesus Christ, continue to pray for us and intercede for our sake, that we too may also experience the same glory she had received, and join her with all the other saints and holy people of God, to be with God for eternity and where death no longer has any power or say over us. God be with us all, forever and ever. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Friday, 15 August 2014 : Offertory Prayer, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Postcommunion Prayer

Offertory Prayer

Inimicitias ponam inter te et Mulierem, et semen tuum et Semen illius.

English translation

I will put enmities between you and the Woman, and between your seed and her Seed.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Ascendat ad Te, Domine, nostrae devotionis oblatio, et, beatissima Virgine Maria in caelum assumpta intercedente, corda nostra, caritatis igne succensa, ad Te jugiter adspirent. Per Dominum…

English translation

May the offering of our devotion ascend to You, o Lord, and through the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, who was taken up into heaven, may our hearts be inflamed with the fire of love, and continually long for You. Through our Lord…

Communion

Beatam me dicent omnes generationes, quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est.

English translation

All generations shall call me blessed, because He who is mighty had done great things to me.

Postcommunion Prayer

Sumptis, Domine, salutaribus sacramentis : da, quaesumus; ut, meritis et intercessione beatae Virginis Mariae in caelum assumptae, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per Dominum…

English translation

Now that we have received, o Lord, the Sacrament of salvation, grant, we beseech You, that through the merits and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was taken up into heaven, we may be brought to the glory of the resurrection. Through our Lord…

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Friday, 15 August 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 1 : 41-50

In illo tempore : Repleta est Spiritu Sancto Elisabeth et exclamavit voce magna, et dixit : Benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedictus Fructus ventris tui. Et unde hoc mihi ut veniat mater Domini mei ad me? Ecce enim ut facta est vox salutationis tuae in auribus meis, exsultavit in gaudio infans in utero meo.

Et beata, quae credidisti, quoniam perficientur ea, quae dicta sunt tibi a Domino.

Et ait Maria : Magnificat anima mea Dominum; et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo; quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae, ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.

Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est, et sanctum Nomen Ejus, et misericordiae Ejus a progenie in progenies timentibus Eum.

English translation

At that time, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb. And how is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leapt for joy.”

“And blessed are you who had believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to you by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because He had regarded the humility of His handmaid, for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

“Because He who is mighty had done great things unto me, and Holy is His Name, and His mercy is from generation unto generations, to those who fear Him.”

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Friday, 15 August 2014 : Gradual and Alleluia

Psalm 44 : 11-12, 14 and Sacred Tradition

Audi, filia, et vide, et inclina aurem tuam, et concupiscit Rex decorem tuum.

Response : Omnis gloria ejus filiae Regis ab intus, in fimbriis aureis circumamicta varietatibus.

Alleluja, alleluja.

Response : Assumpta est Maria in caelum : gaudet exercitus Angelorum. Alleluja.

English translation

Listen, o daughter and see, incline your ear, and the King shall greatly desire your beauty.

Response : The daughter of the King comes in, all beautiful. Her robes are of golden cloth.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Response : Mary has been taken up into heaven, the choirs of angels rejoice. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) – Friday, 15 August 2014 : Epistle

Lectio libri Judith – Lesson from the book of Judith

Judith 13 : 22-25 and Judith 15 : 10

Benedixit te Dominus in virtute sua, quia per te ad nihilum redegit inimicos nostros. Benedicta es tu, filia, a Domino Deo excelso, prae omnibus mulieribus super terram.

Benedictus Dominus, qui creavit caelum et terram, qui te direxit in vulnera capitis principis inimicorum nostrorum; quia hodie nomen tuum ita magnificavit, ut non recedat laus tua de ore hominum, qui memores fuerint virtutis Domini in aeternum, pro quibus non pepercisti animae tuae propter angustias et tribulationem generis tui, sed subvenisti ruinae ante conspectum Dei nostri.

Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.

English translation

The Lord had blessed you by His power, because through you He had brought our enemies to nought. Blessed are you, o daughter, by the Lord the Most High God, above all women upon the earth.

Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who had directed you to cut off the head of the prince of our enemies, because He had so magnified your name this day, that your praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord, forever. For that you had not spared your life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of your people, but had prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.

You are the glory of Jerusalem. You are the joy of Israel. You are the honour of our people.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I Classis) -Friday, 15 August 2014 : Introit and Collect

Introit

Apocalypse 12 : 1, Psalm 97 : 1

Signum magnum apparuit in caelo : mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus ejus, et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim.

Cantate Domino canticum novum : quia mirabilia fecit.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Sing all of you to the Lord a new canticle, for He had done wonderful things.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Immaculatam Virginem Mariam, Filii Tui genetricem, corpore et anima ad caelestem gloriam assumpsisti : concede, quaesumus; ut, ad superna semper intenti, ipsius gloriae mereamur esse consortes. Per eumdem Dominum…

English translation

Almighty, everlasting God, who had taken up the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of Your Son, with body and soul into heavenly glory, grant we beseech You, that we may always be intent on higher things, and deserve to be partakers of her glory. Through the same…

Friday, 15 August 2014 : Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour! He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name! From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence.”

“He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

“He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and His descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.