Category Archives: Assumption of Our Lady

Our Lady’s special privilege

Damsel of the Faith here. Thank you all for your continued prayers.  Please keep them up for South Louisiana.

In honor of Our Lady’s Assumption, whose glorious Solemnity and Feast has just recently passed, I quote some words of the Blessed Virgin to Ven. Mary of Agreda on her death and the special privilege she gives to her children:

“My daughter, besides what thou hast understood and written of my glorious Transition, I wish to inform thee of another privilege, which was conceded to me by my divine son in that hour. Thou hast already recorded, that the Lord offered me the choice of entering into beatific vision with or without passing through the portals of death. … I chose death freely in order to imitate and follow Him. … Since I had seen my Son and true God die, I would not have satisfied the love I owe Him, if I had refused death, and I would have left a great gap in my conformity to and my imitation of my Lord, the God-man, whereas He wished me to bear a great likeness to Him in His most sacred humanity. … Hence my choosing to die was so pleasing to Him, and my prudent love therein obliged Him to such an extent, that in return, He immediately conceded to me a singular favor for the benefit of the children of the Church… It was this, that all those devoted to me, who should call upon me at the hour of death, constituting me as their Advocate in memory of my happy Transition and of my desiring to imitate Him in death, shall be under my special protection in that hour, shall have me as a defense against the demons, as a help and protection, and shall be presented by me before the tribunal of His mercy and there experience my intercession. In consequence the Lord gave me a new power and commission and He promised to confer great helps of His grace for a good death and for a purer life on all those who, in veneration of this mystery of my precious death, should invoke my aid.”

Archbishop Lefebvre on the Assumption

With the passing of the Feast of the Assumption, I had completely forgotten about this great sermon from Archbishop Lefebvre. What beautiful words from a saintly man.  Without further ado, I re-produce it here:

Twenty fifth Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Dogma of
the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15, 1975 Ecône, Switzerland

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

My dear brethren,

We celebrate today the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary by our Holy Father Pope Pius XII. It was November 1, 1950. I had the joy and pleasure of being present at Rome in St. Peter’s Square on this holy day and I still hear the words of our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, proclaiming the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary as dogma of our Faith.

Did the Holy Church of God hear about the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for the first time on November 1, 1950? Certainly not! One needs just to read the text by which Our Holy Father Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to see that since the most ancient times of the Church, the faithful already professed faith in the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Whether in ikons, whether in stained glass windows, whether in the writings of the Fathers, already everywhere, faith in the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was professed, but it was not yet solemnly defined by Holy Church.

These dogmas, indeed, we must remember, cannot be new truths. The Revelation was wholly completed at the death of the last Apostle. One must therefore look before the death of the last Apostle in the Deposit of Tradition, of Revelation, bequeathed to us, given to us by the Apostles, to find there the truths which we must still believe today. No Pope can invent a new truth which he would like to submit to our Faith. He can only find this truth in the course of centuries, signifying that this truth was already implicitly contained in that Revelation and Faith which the Apostles have given us. This is the teaching of the Church.

Thus when we believe in the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, that is, when we believe that the Good Lord granted that the body of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary be already glorified now, we do nothing else than unite ourselves to the faith of the whole Church, to the Church of all the centuries. And this must be for us a great joy, a great consolation, to think that our Faith today, stronger than ever, more solid than ever, is in union with that of the Catholics of all the centuries.

There is in this dogma of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary a very precious truth, very useful for our times, for our days. In these days, some want to deny miracles; in our days, some want to deny all supernatural realities. This word “supernatural” contains something somehow mysterious; the supernatural state may be difficult to understand for some faithful, it may be difficult to grasp. Yet it is present in the whole teaching of the Church.

In our catechisms we have learned that we became the sons of God, that the Good Lord has deigned not only to give us a human nature, a human soul, but that He wanted to make of us His privileged sons, sharing His Divine Nature, and thus being able to know God, to love God and to love our neighbor infinitely more than if we had only our natural state. We must always remember that: the Good Lord has called us to be His children, though we should have been merely His servants. If we had only had our nature, we would have never been able to know God directly, we would have known God only indirectly through creatures, through the effects of His almighty power, ascending from them to the Almighty Cause which made all these things that surround us, and even ourselves. We climb from the effect to the cause and naturally we think there is a Being extraordinarily powerful, a Being that can only be God for He made all these things by His almighty power. And our knowledge of Him would have remained there, without going further.

But the Good Lord did not want that. He wanted us to enter into His intimacy, He wanted us to enter somehow in Him, to know Him better, to love Him better. And this is a grace, a gift – the word “grace” signifies precisely this – an extraordinary, unbelievable gift to which we could not pretend ourselves.

We might be tempted to say, “But why did the Good Lord love us so much, why did He not leave us with our poor human nature? Did we need to enter into the very nature of God, to be so close to God? This gives us greater responsibilities!”

Yes, indeed, indeed! It gives us greater responsibilities. It changes completely our spirituality. It changes our interior life. It must change our whole interior life. And it does!

Our spiritual life is changed right from the beginning, as soon as we receive Baptism. As soon as we receive this grace of divine filiation in Baptism, and original sin is washed away from our soul, we become God’s privileged adopted children.

And today, this Feast of the Assumption shows us the very crowning of the work of God, of the supernatural work of God. God wants it for us too, as He did for the Most Blessed Virgin. He wants to “assume” our body, to spiritualize our body in a certain way and to give us all the joys of the spirit and all the joys of our divine filiation.

And how does that change our daily life? How must this supernatural life, this divine adoption, change our daily life?

Because we must not see things as we would have seen them if we had merely had our human nature! To know that we are called to live for God, to live in God, to know Him directly, Him Who has created all things, must arouse in our hearts, in our intelligences, a desire of God, a longing to love God, through this divine nature, which is in us by grace, by sanctifying grace, a longing as those aroused throughout all the centuries of the Church from the very beginning of the Christian era.

It has raised up countless acts of heroism, souls so much drawn by God, so much drawn by the desire to know God, to live with God, that they secluded themselves in deserts, in monasteries, in the religious life. And even in lay life they gave themselves completely: all these families were so Catholic that they lived in God. They prayed from morning to evening, they recited their daily family prayer, they had devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, they lived a Christian life! And thus they had a certain contempt, they esteemed in a lesser way, the things of nature, created things, material things.

But now we are reproached for this, the Church is reproached for this! And now, within the Church itself, those who, in the Church, should continue to teach us these things, reproach the Church for them. They should use as models those who were detached from the things of this world, so that they might already here below give themselves completely to God. They should exalt Christian families who are detached, Christian homes where the family prays, where the idea of a religious vocation, of a priestly vocation in the family is held in esteem, is desired so that in a certain way the whole family is consecrated to God, out of love for God.

This is grace! This is supernatural grace. It is the divine filiation which is in your heart which must make you ask for this, which must make you desire this, long for this, so that your family might be totally consecrated to God, that nothing in your family might become a scandal leading souls away from God. This ought to be your main concern.

How much more this ought to be the main concern of those who give themselves to God, of future priests, of those who want to be united to God in the bonds of religious profession.

And see today how they have under-esteemed religious life, how they have under-esteemed Christian life in Catholic families, to such a point that they ceaselessly repeat the esteem that they have for the values of this world, for human values, the values of our reason, for the values of science. All this is false. All this is rooted in the contempt for the supernatural order, in the negation of the grace of the Good Lord, in the negation of all that Our Lord Jesus Christ came to bring us. This amounts to a denial of Our Lord Jesus. Continually insisting upon the human values, the values of this world, the values of science, one ends up denying Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Indeed, for what did Our Lord Jesus Christ come? For what purpose did He die on the cross? Why did He become incarnate? “Propter nos et nostram salutem – For us and for our salvation!” To give us His grace, to restore this Divine filiation. Our Lord is God, He is the True Son of God, the only Son of God, First-born of all creatures; He came to give us His Blood, His life, and to communicate to us His Divine Life already here below. Thus, by participation in Our Lord Jesus Christ, we truly participate in the Divine Nature.

Therefore, if we are truly conscious of this, we must despise the things of this world, despise the goods of the body, despise the good of our senses, as centuries of Christendom have done in the past. But today they desire to satisfy all their natural desires. Our Lord Jesus Christ never taught us this! Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us precisely to despise the things of this world because we are called to a life infinitely greater, infinitely higher.

This has been the whole spirituality of Christian life for all the centuries before us. The example of all those faithful who withdrew from the world and enclosed themselves for their whole life in a monastery was admirable, it was an encouragement for all Catholics.

But now see these deserted monasteries, these broken grilles in the convents of Franciscan nuns, of Carmelites. These nuns had a very strict enclosure, to be with God, to become more aware of their Divine filiation, to live already with heaven before being in heaven. Knowing that the few years they had to live on earth had to prepare them for heavenly life, they took refuge far from the world, far from the pleasures of this world, in order to live this life they received at Baptism, that was confirmed by the Sacrament of Confirmation and vivified by the Holy Eucharist and Penance. Those elite souls wanted to be enclosed! But what happened? The [Modernists] have broken the enclosures, they have broken the grilles, they have asked the nuns to leave; Our Lord Jesus Christ too left the convent!

And this is why there are no more vocations, this is why there is no more contemplative life. What shall draw souls to this contemplative life if one does not speak of the life of God which we have in us? What shall draw Christian families to live in a more Christian way, if they are not taught that through marriage they receive the special grace where the Most Blessed Virgin Mary is honored, where the crucifix is in a place of honor, where the Blessed Virgin Mary reigns, a family which is the beloved kingdom of Jesus and Mary. If this is no longer taught, there shall be no more Catholic families, there shall be no more vocations, and souls will be lost!

This is what the mystery of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us today. And there shall be a similar crowning for us too. We must expect this, we must hope for this. This is the great virtue of Hope. Now, this virtue of Hope is disappearing today precisely because all hope is here below. Now social progress, social justice, material progress, the equal distribution of goods of this world: these are the great themes of today’s sermons!

But we were not made for this. We are made, first of all, to be the children of God, to live with God. It does not matter whether we have lived in poverty or at ease, all that matters is the love that we have had for God, how we have spent these years which the Good Lord has given us to live here below with Him. How did we spend them in regard to this hope of heaven? How did we hand on this hope of heaven to our children, these heavenly realities? This is what the Good Lord shall ask of us.

Thus, my very dear friends, who in a few moments are going to pronounce your Profession of Faith and to repeat the Anti-Modernist Oath, you shall notice that this Anti-Modernist Oath is precisely almost in each one of its points a profession of the supernatural realities, against those who want to destroy the grace of the Good Lord, to destroy the Divine reality of the grace of God and of Our Divine filiation. Doing this they reduce to naught their very own intelligence. They pretend that their intelligence is incapable to know God, this is the first part [of the oath].

These people despise the Divine intelligence, the Divine life in which we somehow partake; despising the grace which the Good Lord has given us, the light which the Good Lord has put in our hearts and in our minds, they lose at the same time their own reason. They themselves say that they are no longer capable of knowing God. Thus according to them man is radically, definitively cut off from God, incapable of knowing Him. As a consequence they despise all the goods that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us – Divine grace, the Sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – all this is reduced to a natural state.

But you, on the contrary, you shall profess your faith in the grace of the Good Lord, in the supernatural life which the Good Lord has given us and in which He enables us to participate. And this on the Feast of the Assumption; you could not do this on a better day, all these blessings which the Good Lord has given us, this great charity which the Good Lord has had for us.

Indeed, it is a blasphemy to say what the Modernists say. It is to blaspheme against Our Lord Jesus Christ because they deny all that Our Lord Jesus Christ came to do here below: they deny His Church, they deny His Sacrifice, they deny His Sacraments, they deny everything and nothing is left. And this is what the modern catechisms teach today. For this reason these catechisms are very harmful because they reduce to nought the entire life of grace, the entire Divine Life, which is what is most precious to us.

Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary on this day of her Assumption to help us truly understand what our supernatural life is, a participation in the Divine Life. God knows that She knows it, this participation in the Divine Life, She who has given natural life to Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the grace of the Holy Ghost. How much did the Good Lord flood her with spiritual graces! And how much is She capable of making us understand how beautiful, how good, how sweet it is to be united with Our Lord, to know the Good Lord and to live with God!

Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to put in our souls, in our hearts, this immense desire, this unquenchable desire, of all the moments of our life, of our whole life, of each week, month and year, to be with God for all eternity.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

St. Alphonsus Liguori on Our Lady’s Assumption

Another meditation on the Assumption of Our Lady, by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

Death being the punishment of sin, it would seem that the Divine Mother —- all holy, and exempt as she was from its slightest stain —- should also have been exempt from death, and from encountering the misfortunes to which the the children of Adam, infected by the poison of sin, are subject. But God was pleased that Mary should in all things resemble Jesus; and as the Son died, it was becoming that the Mother should also die; because, moreover, He wished to give the just an example of the precious death prepared for them, He willed that even the most Blessed Virgin should die, but by a sweet and happy death. Let us, therefore, now consider how precious was Mary’s death: first, on account of the special favors by which it was accompanied; secondly, on account of the manner in which it took place.

1.

There are three things that render death bitter: attachment to the world, remorse for sins, and the uncertainty of salvation. The death of Mary was entirely free from these causes of bitterness, and was accompanied by three special graces, which rendered it precious and joyful. She dies as she had lived, entirely detached from the things of the world; she died in the most perfect peace; she died in the certainty of eternal glory.

  1. And in the first place, there can be no doubt that attachment to earthly things, renders the death of the worldly bitter and miserable, as the Holy Ghost says: O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man who hath peace in his possessions! [1] But because the Saints die detached from the things of the world, their death is not bitter, but sweet, lovely, and precious; that is to say, as St. Bernard remarks, worth purchasing at any price, however great. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. [2] Who are they who, being already dead, die? They are those happy souls who pass into eternity already detached, and so to say, dead to all affection for terrestrial things; and who, like St. Francis of Assisi, found in God alone all their happiness, and with him could say, “My God and my all.” But what soul was ever more detached from earthly goods, and more united to God, than the beautiful soul of Mary? She was detached from her parents; for at the age of three years, when children are most attached to them, and stand in the greatest need of their assistance, Mary with the greatest intrepidity, left them, and went to shut herself up in the Temple to attend to God alone. She was detached from riches, contenting herself to always live poor, and supporting herself with the labor of her own hands. She was detached from honors, loving a humble and abject life, though the honors due to a queen were hers, as she was descended from the kings of Israel. The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that when her parents left her in the Temple. she resolved in her heart to have no father, and to love no other good than God.

St. John saw Mary represented in that woman, clothed with the sun, who held the moon under her feet. And a great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet. [3] Interpreters explain the moon to signify the goods of this world, which like her, are uncertain and unchangeable. Mary never had these goods in her heart, but always despised them and trampled them under her feet; living in this world as a solitary turtle in a desert, never allowing her affection to center itself in any earthly thing; so that of her it was aid: The voice of the turtle is heard in our land. [4] And elsewhere: Who is she that goeth up by the desert? [5] When the Abbot Rupert says, “Thus didst thou go by the desert; that is, having a solitary soul.” Mary, then, having lived always and in all things detached from the earth, and united to God alone, death was not bitter, but on the contrary, very sweet and dear to her; since it united her more closely to God in Heaven, by an eternal bond.

  1. Peace of mind renders the death of the just precious. Sins committed during life are the worms that so cruelly torment and gnaw the hearts of poor dying sinners, who, about to appear before the Divine tribunal, see themselves at that moment surrounded by their sins, which terrify them, and cry out according to St. Bernard, “we are thy works; we will not abandon thee.” Mary certainly could not be tormented at death by any remorse of conscience, for she was always pure, and always free from the least shade of actual or Original Sin; so much so, that of her it was aid, Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. [6] from the moment that she had the use of reason, that is, from the first moment  of her Immaculate Conception in the womb of St. Anne, she began to love God with all her strength, and. continue do so, always advancing more and more throughout her whole life in love and perfection. And all her thoughts, desires, and affections were of and for God alone; she never uttered a word, made a movement, cast a glance or breathed, but for God and His glory ; and never departed a step or detached herself for a single moment from the Divine love. Ah, how did all the lovely virtue that she had practiced during life surround her blessed bed in the happy hour of her death! That faith so constant; that loving confidence in God; that unconquerable patience in the midst of so many sufferings; that humility in the midst of so many privileges; that modesty; that meekness; that tender compassion for souls; that insatiable zeal for the glory of God; and, above all, that most perfect love towards Him, with that entire conformity to the Divine will: all, in a word, surrounded her and consoling her, said: “We are thy works; we will not abandon thee.” Our Lady and Mother, we are all daughters of thy beautiful heart; now that thou a leaving this miserable life, we will not leave thee; we also will go, and be thy eternal accompaniment and honor in Paradise, where, by our means thou wilt reign as Queen of all men and of all Angels.

III. Finally, the certainty of eternal salvation renders death sweet. Death is called a passage; for by death we pass from a short to an eternal life. And as the dread of those is indeed great who die in doubt of their salvation, and who approach the solemn moment with welI-grounded fear of passing into eternal death; thus on the other hand, the joy of the Saints is indeed great at the close of life, hoping with some security to go and possess God in Heaven. A nun of the Order of St. Teresa, when the doctor announced to her her approaching death, was so filled with joy that she exclaimed, ” O how is it, sir, that you announce to me such welcome news, and demand no fee?” St. Laurence Justinian, being at the point of death, and perceiving his servants weeping round him, said: “Away, away with your tears; this is no time to mourn.” Go elsewhere to weep; if you would remain with me, rejoice, as I rejoice, in seeing the gates of Heaven open to me, that I may be united to my God. Thus also a St. Peter of Alcantara, a St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and so many other Saints, on hearing their death was at hand, burst forth into exclamations of joy and gladness. And yet they were not certain of being in possession of Divine grace, nor were they secure of their own sanctity, as Mary was.

But what joy must the Divine Mother have felt in receiving the news of her approaching death! She who had the fullest certainty of the possession of Divine grace especially after the Angel Gabriel had assured her that she was full of it, and that she already possessed God.  Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee . . . thou hast found grace. [7] And well did she herself know that her heart was continually burning with Divine love; so that as Bernardine de Bustis says, ” Mary, by a singular privilege granted to no other Saint, loved, and was always actually loving God, in every moment of her life with such ardor, that St. Bernard declares, it required a continued miracle to preserve her life in the midst of such flames.”

Of Mary it had already been asked in the sacred canticles, Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar smoke, of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, allthe powders of the perfumer? [8] Her entire mortification typified by the myrrh, her fervent prayers signified by the incense, and all her holy virtues united to her perfect love for God, kindled in her a flame so great that her beautiful soul, wholly devoted to and consumed, by Divine love, arose continually to God as a pillar of smoke, breathing forth on every side a most sweet odor. “Such smoke, nay even such a pillar of smoke,” says the Abbot Rupert, “Hast thou, O Blessed Mary, breathed forth a sweet odor to the Most High.” Eustachius expresses it in still stronger terms: “A pillar of smoke, because burning interiorly as a holocaust with the flame of Divine love, she sent forth a most sweet odor.”  As the loving Virgin lived, so did she died. As Divine love gave her life, so did it cause her death; for the Doctors and holy Fathers of the Church generally say she died of no other infirmity than pure love; St. Ildephonsus says that Mary either ought not to die, or only die of love.

  1. But now let us see how her blessed death took place. After the ascension of Jesus Christ, Mary remained on earth to attend to the propagation of the faith. Hence the disciples of our Lord had recourse to her, and she solved their doubts, comforted them in their persecutions, and encouraged them to labor for the Divine glory and the salvation of redeemed souls. She willingly remained on earth, knowing that such was the will of God, for the good of the Church; but she could not but. feel the pain of being far from the presence and sight of her beloved Son, who had ascended to Heaven. Where your treasure is, there Will your heart be also, said the Redeemer. Where anyone believes his treasure and his happiness to be, here he always holds the love and desires of his heart fixed. If Mary, then, loved no other good than Jesus, He being in Heaven, all her desires were in Heaven.

Tauler says, that “Heaven was the cell of the Heavenly and most Blessed Virgin Mary; for, being there with all her desires and affections, she she made it her continual abode. Her school was eternity; for she was always detached and free from temporal possessions. Her teacher was Divine truth; for her whole life was guided by this alone. Her book was the purity of her own conscience, in which she always found occasion to rejoice in the Lord. Her mirror was the Divinity; for she never admitted any representations into her soul but such as were transformed into and clothed with God, that so she might always conform herself to His will. Her ornament was devotion; for she attended solely to her interior sanctification, and was always ready to fulfill the. Divine commands. Her repose was union with God; for He alone was her treasure and the resting-place of her heart.”

The most holy Virgin consoled her loving heart during this painful separation by visiting, as it is related, the holy places of Palestine, where her Son had been during His life. She frequently visited —- at one time the stable at Bethlehem, where her Son was born; at another, the workshop of Nazareth, where her Son had lived so many years poor and despised; now the Garden of Gethsemani, where her Son began His Passion; then the Prætorium of Pilate, where He was scourged,  and the spot on which He was crowned with thorns; but visited most frequently the Mount of Calvary, where her Son expired; and the Holy Sepulchre in which she had finally left Him: thus did the most loving Mother soothe the pains of her cruel exile. But this could not be enough to satisfy her heart, which was unable to find perfect repose in this world. Hence she was continually sending up sighs to her Lord, exclaiming with David: Who will giveth me wings like a dove, and I will fly and be at rest? [9] Who will give me wings like a dove, that I may fly to my God, and there find my repose? As the heart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, my God. [10] As the wounded stag pants for the fountain, so does my soul, wounded by Thy love, O my God, desire and sigh after Thee.

Yes, indeed, the sighs of this holy turtle-dove could not but deeply penetrate the heart of her God, Who indeed so tenderly loved her. The voice of the turtle heard in our land. [11] Wherefore being unwilling to de any longer the so-much-desired consolation of His beloved, behold, He graciously hears her desire, and calls her to His Kingdom.

Cedrenus, Nicephorus, and Metaphrastes, relate some days before her death. our Lord sent her the Archangel Gabriel, the same that announced to her that she was that blessed woman chosen to be the Mother of God: ” My Lady and Queen,” said the Angel, ” God has already graciously heard thy holy desires, and has sent me to tell thee to prepare thyself to leave the earth: for He wills thee in Heaven. Come, then, to take possession of thy kingdom; for it and all its holy inhabitants await and desire thee.,” On this happy annunciation, what else could our most humble and most holy Virgin do, but, with the most profound humility, answer in the same words in which she had answered St. Gabriel when he announced to her that she was to become the Mother of God: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Behold, she answered again, the slave of the Lord, He in His pure goodness chose me and made me His Mother; He now calls me to Paradise. I did not deserve that honor, nor do I deserve this, but since He is pleased to show in my person His infinite liberality, behold, I am ready to go where He pleases. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May the will of my God and Lord be ever accomplished in me!

After receiving this welcome intelligence she imparted it to St. John. We may well imagine with what grief and tender feelings he heard the news; he who for so many years had attended upon her as a son, and had enjoyed the Heavenly conversation of this most holy Mother. She then once more visited the holy places of Jerusalem, tenderly taking leave of them, and especially of Mount Calvary, where her beloved Son had died. She then retired into her poor cottage, there to prepare for death.

During this time the Angels did not cease their visits to their beloved Queen, consoling themselves with the thought that they would soon see her crowned in Heaven. Many authors, such as Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, Euthymius, assert that, before her death, the Apostles, and also many disciples who were scattered in different parts of the world, were miraculously assembled in Mary’s room, and that when she saw all these her dear children in her presence, she thus addressed them: ” My beloved children, through love for you and to help you my Son left me on this earth. The holy faith is now spread throughout the world, already the fruit of the Divine seed is grown up; hence my Lord, seeing that my assistance on earth is no longer necessary, and compassionating my grief in being separated from Him, has graciously listened to my desire to quit this life and to go and see Him in Heaven. Do you remain, then, to labor for His glory. If I leave you, my heart remains with you; the great love I bear you shall carry with me and always preserve. I go to Paradise to pray for you.”

Who can form an idea of the tears and lamentation of the holy disciples at this sad announcement, and the thought that soon they were to be separated from their Mother? All then, weeping, exclaimed, Then, O Mary, thou art already about to leave us. It is true that this world is not a place worthy of or fit for thee; and as for us, we are unworthy to enjoy the society of the  Mother of God; but, remember, thou art our Mother, hitherto thou hast enlightened us in our doubts; thou hast consoled us in our afflictions; thou hast been our strength in persecutions; and now, how canst thou abandon us, leaving us alone in the midst of so many enemies and so many conflicts, deprived of thy consolation? We have already lost on earth Jesus, our Master and Father, Who has ascended into Heaven; until now we have found consolation in thee, our Mother; and now, how canst thou also leave us orphans without father or mother? Our own sweet Lady, either remain with us, or take us with thee.” Thus St. John Damascene writes:

“No, my children” [thus sweetly the loving Queen began to speak], “this is not according to the will of God; be satisfied to do that which He has decreed for me and for you. To you it yet remains to labor on earth for the glory of your Redeemer, and to make up your eternal crown. I do not leave you to abandon you, but to help you still more in Heaven by my intercession with God. Be satisfied. I commend the holy Church to you; I commend redeemed souls to you; let this be my last farewell, and the only remembrance I leave you: execute it if you love me, labor for the good of souls and for the glory of my Son; for one day we shall meet again in Paradise, never more for all eternity to be separated.”

She then begged them to give burial to her body after death; blessed them, and desired St. John, as St. John Damascene relates, to give after her death two of her gowns to two virgins who had served her for some time. She then decently composed herself on her poor little bed, where she laid herself to await death, and with it the meeting with the Divine Spouse, who shortly was to come and take her with Him to the Kingdom of the blessed. Behold, she already feels in her heart a great joy, the forerunner of the coming of the Bridegroom, which inundates her with an unaccustomed and novel sweetness. The holy Apostles, seeing that Mary was , already on the point of leaving this world, renewing their tears, all threw themselves on their knees around her bed; some kissed her holy feet, some sought a special blessing from her, some recommended a particular want, and all wept bitterly; for their hearts were pierced with grief at being obliged to separate themselves for the rest of their lives from their beloved Lady. And she, the most loving Mother, compassionated all, and consoled each one; to some promising her patronage, blessing others with particular affection, and encouraging others to the work of the conversion of the world; especially, she called St. Peter to her, and as head of the Church and Vicar of her Son, recommended to him in a particular manner the propagation of the faith, promising him at the same time her especial protection in Heaven. But more particularly did she call St. John to her, who more than any other was grieved at this moment when he had to part with his holy Mother; and most gracious Lady, remembering the affection and attention with which this holy disciple had served her during all the years she had remained on earth since the death of her Son, said: ” My own John” [speaking with the greatest tenderness] —- ” my own John, I thank thee for all the assistance that thou hast afforded my Son, be assured of it, I shall not be ungrateful. If I now leave thee, I go to pray for thee. Remain in peace in this life until we meet again in Heaven, where I await thee. Never forget me. In all thy wants call me to aid; for I will never forget thee, my beloved son. So bless thee, I leave thee my blessing. Remain in peace. Farewell!”

But already the death of Mary is at hand; Divine love, with its vehement and blessed flames, had already almost entirely consumed the vital spirits; the Heavenly phoenix is already Iosing her life in the midst of this fire. Then the host of Angels come in choirs to meet her, as if to be ready for the great triumph with which they were to accompany her to Paradise. Mary was indeed consoled at the sight of these holy spirits, but was not fully consoled; for she did not yet see her beloved Jesus, Who was the whole love of her heart. Hence she often repeated to the Angels who descended to salute her: I adjure you, O daughters of  Jerusalem, if you find my Beloved, that you tell Him that I languish with love. [12] Holy Angels, O fair citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem, you come in choirs kindly to console me; and you all console me with your sweet presence. I thank you; but you do not fully satisfy me, for as yet I do not see my Son coming to console me; go, if you love me, return to Paradise, and on my part tell my Beloved that I anguish with love. Tell Him to come, and to come quickly, for I am dying with the vehemence of my desire to see Him.

But, behold, Jesus is now come to take his Mother to the kingdom of the blessed. It was revealed to St. Elizabeth that her Son appeared to Mary before she expired with His Cross in His hands, to show the special glory He had obtained by the Redemption; having, by His death, made acquisition of that great creature, who for all eternity was to honor Him more than all men and Angels. St. John Damascene relates that our Lord himself gave her the Viaticum, saying with tender love, ” Receive, O My Mother, from My hands that same Body that thou gavest to Me.” And the Mother, having received with the greatest love that last Communion, with her last breath said, ” My Son, into Thy hands do I commend my spirit. I commend to Thee this soul, which from the beginning Thou didst create rich in so many graces, and by a singular privilege didst preserve from the stain of Original Sin. I commend to Thee my body, from which Thou didst deign to take Thy flesh and blood. I also commend to Thee these my beloved children [speaking of the holy disciples, who surrounded her]; they are grieved at my departure. Do Thou, Who lovest them more than I do, console them; bless them, and give them strength to do great things for Thy glory.”

The life of Mary being now at its close, the most delicious music, as St. Jerome relates, was heard in the apartment where she lay; and, according to a revelation of St. Bridget, the room was also filled with a brilliant light. The sweet music, and the unaccustomed splendor, warned the holy Apostles that Mary was departing. This caused them again to burst forth in tears and prayers; and raising their hands, with voice they exclaimed, O, Mother, thou already goest to Heaven; thou leavest us; give us thy last blessing and never forget us miserable creatures.” Mary, turning her eyes around upon all, as if to bid the last farewell, said, ” Adieu, my children; I bless you, fear not, I will never forget you.” And now death came; not indeed clothed in mourning and grief, as it does to others, but adorned with light and gladness. But what do we say? Why speak of death? Let us rather say that Divine love came, and cut the thread of that noble life. And as a light, before going out, gives a last and brighter flash than ever, so did this beautiful creature, on hearing her Son’s invitation to follow him, wrapped in the flames of love, and in the midst of her amorous sighs, give a last sigh of still more ardent love, and breathing forth her soul, expired. Thus was that great soul, that beautiful dove of the Lord, loosened from the bands of this life; thus did she enter into glory of the blessed, where she is now seated, and will be seated, Queen of Paradise, for all eternity.

Mary, then, has left this world; she is now in Heaven. Thence does this compassionate Mother look down upon us who are still in this valley of tears. She pities us, and, if we wish it, promises to help us. Let us always beseech her by the merits of her blessed death to obtain us a happy death; and should such be the good pleasure of God, let us beg her to obtain us grace to die on a Saturday, which is a day dedicated in her honor, or on a day of a novena, or within the octave of one of her feasts; for this she has obtained for so many of her clients, and especially for St. Stanislaus Kostka, for whom she obtained that he should die on the feast of her Assumption, as Father Bartoli relates in his life of the Saint.

EXAMPLE

During his lifetime this holy youth, who was wholly dedicated to the love of Mary, happened, on the first of August, to hear a sermon preached by Father Peter Canisius, in which, exhorting the novices of the Society, he urged them all, with the greatest fervor, to live each day, as if it were the last of their lives, and the one on which they were to be presented before God’s tribunal. After the sermon St. Stanislaus told his companions that that advice had been for him. in an especial manner, the voice of God; for that he was to die in the course of that very month. It is evident, from what followed, that he said this either because God had expressly revealed it to him, or at least because He gave him a certain internal presentiment of it. Four days afterwards the blessed youth went with Father Emanuel to St. Mary Major’s. The conversation fell on the approaching feast of the Assumption, and the saint said, “Father, I believe that on that day a new Paradise is seen in Paradise, as the glory of the Motiler of God, crowned Queen of Heavens and seated so near to our Lord, above all the choirs of Angels, is seen. And if —- as I firmly believe it to be —- this festival is renewed every year, I hope to see the next.” The glorious Martyr St. Lawrence had fallen by lot to St. Stanislaus as his patron for that month, it being customary in the Society thus to draw lots for the monthly patrons. It is said that he wrote a letter to his Mother Mary, in which he begged her to obtain him the favor to be present at her next festival in Heaven. On the feast of St. Lawrence he received the holy Communion, afterwards entreated the Saint to present his letter to the Divine Mother, and to support his petition with intercession, that the most Blessed Virgin might graciously accept and grant it. Towards the close of that very day he was seized with fever; and though the attack was slight, he considered that certainly he had obtained the favor asked for. This indeed he joyfully expressed, and with a smiling countenance, on going to bed, said, “From this bed I shall never rise again.” And speaking to Father Claudius Aquaviva, he added, “Father, I believe that St. Lawrence has already obtained for me the favor from Mary to be in Heaven on the feast of her Assumption.” No one, however, took much notice of his words. On the vigil of the feast his illness still seemed of little consequence, but the Saint assured a brother that he should die that night. “O brother, ” the other answered, “it would be a greater miracle die of so slight an illness than to be cured.” Nevertheless in the afternoon he fell into a deathlike swoon; cold sweat came over him; and he lost all his strength. The Superior hastened to him, and Stanislaus entreated him to have him laid on the bare floor, that he might die as a penitent. To satisfy him, this was granted: he was laid on a thin mattress on the ground. He then made his confession, and in the midst of the tears of all present received the Viaticum: I say, of the tears of all present, for when the Divine Sacrament was brought into the room his eyes brightened up with celestial joy, his whole countenance was inflamed with holy love that he seemed like a seraph. He also received Extreme Unction, and in the meanwhile did nothing but constantly raise his eyes to Heaven and lovingly press to his heart an image of Mary. A Father asked him to what purpose he kept a rosary in his hand, since he could not use it? He replied, ” It is a consolation to me, for it is something belonging to my Mother.” ” O, how much greater will your consolation be,” added the Father, ” when in a short time you will see her and kiss her hands in Heaven!” On hearing this, the Saint, with his  countenance all on fire, raised his hands to express his desire soon to be in her presence. His dear Mother then appeared to him, as he himself told those who surrounded him; and shortly afterwards, at the dawn of day on the fifteenth of August, with his eyes fixed on Heaven, he expired like a Saint, without the slightest struggle; so much so, that it was only on presenting him the image of the Blessed Virgin, and seeing that he made no movement towards it, that it was perceived that he was already gone to kiss the feet of his beloved Queen in Paradise.

Prayer

 O most sweet Lady and our Mother, thou hast already left the earth and reached thy Kingdom, where, as Queen, thou art enthroned above all the choirs of Angels, as the Church sings : Sheis exalted above the choirs of Angels in the celestIal Kingdom, We well know that we sinners are not worthy to possess thee in this valley of darkness; but we also know that thou, in thy greatness, hast never forgotten, us miserable creatures, and that by being exalted to so great glory thou hast lever lost compassion for us poor children of Adam; nay, even that it is increased in thee. From the high throne, then, to which thou art exalted, turn, O Mary, thy compassionate eyes upon us, and pity us. Remember, also, that in leaving this world thou didst promise not to forget us. Look at us and succor us. See in the midst of what tempests and dangers we constantly are, and shall be until the end of our lives, By the merits of thy happy death obtain for us holy perseverance in the Divine friendship, that we may finally quit this life in God’s grace; and thus we also shall one day come to kiss thy feet in Paradise, and unite with the blessed spirits in praising thee and singing thy glories as thou deservest. Amen.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Excerpted from “The City of God” by Ven. Mary of Agreda:

In order that the Apostles, the Disciples, and many others of the faithful might not be too deeply oppressed by sorrow, and in order that some of them might not die of grief caused by the passing away of the Most Blessed Mary, it was necessary that the Divine Power, by an especial providence, furnish them with consolation and dilate their heart for new influences in their incomparable affliction. For the feeling, that their loss was irretrievable in the present life, could not be repressed; the privation of such a Treasure could never find a recompense; and as most sweet, loving and amiable intercourse and conversation of their Great Queen had ravished the heart of each one, the ceasing of Her protection and company left them as it were without the breath of life. But the Lord, Who well knew how to estimate the just cause of their sorrow, secretly upheld them by His encouragements and so they set about the fitting burial of the sacred body and whatever the occasion demanded.

Accordingly the Holy Apostles, on whom this duty specially devolved, held a conference concerning the burial of the most sacred body of their Queen and Lady. They selected for that purpose a new sepulchre, which had been prepared mysteriously by the providence of Her Divine Son. As they remembered, that, according to the custom of the Jews at burial, the Deified Body of Their Master had been anointed with precious ointments and spices and wrapped in the sacred burial cloths; they thought not of doing otherwise with the Virginal body of His Most Holy Mother. Accordingly they called the two maidens, who had assisted the Queen during Her life and who had been designated as the heiresses of Her tunics, and instructed them to anoint the Body of the Mother of God with highest reverence and modesty and wrap it in the winding-sheets before it should be placed in the casket. With great reverence and fear the two maidens entered the room, where the Body of the Blessed Lady lay upon its couch; but the refulgence issuing from it barred and blinded them in such a manner that they could neither see nor touch the Body, nor even ascertain in what particular place it rested.

In fear and reverence still greater than on their entrance, the maidens left the room; and in great excitement and wonder they told the Apostles what had happened. They, not without Divine Inspiration, came to the conclusion, that this Sacred Ark of the Covenant was not to be touched or handled in the common way. Then Saint Peter and Saint John entered the oratory and perceived the effulgence, and at the same time they heard the celestial music of the Angels, who were singing: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee.” Others responded: “A Virgin before childbirth, in childbirth and after childbirth.” From that time on many of the faithful expressed their devotion toward the Most Blessed Mary in these words of praise; and from them they were handed down to be repeated by us with the approbation of the Holy Church. The two Holy Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint John, were for a time lost in admiration at what they saw and heard of their Queen; and in order to decide what to do, they sank on their knees, beseeching the Lord to make it known. Then they heard a voice saying: “Let not the sacred body be either uncovered or touched.”

Having thus been informed of the Will of God, they brought a bier, and, the effulgence having diminished somewhat, they approached the couch and with their own hands reverently took hold of the tunic at the two ends. Thus, without changing its posture, they raised the sacred and Virginal Treasure and placed it on the bier in the same position as it had occupied on the couch. They could easily do this, because they felt no more weight than that of the tunic. On this bier the former effulgence of the body moderated still more, and all of them, by disposition of the Lord and for the consolation of all those present, could now perceive and study the beauty of that Virginal Countenance and of Her hands. As for the rest, the Omnipotence of God protected this His Heavenly Dwelling, so that neither in life nor in death anyone should behold any other part except what is common in ordinary conversation, namely, Her most inspiring countenance, by which She had been known, and Her hands, by which She had labored.

So great was the care and solicitude for His Most Blessed Mother, that in this particular He used not so much precaution in regard to His Own Body, as that of the Most Pure Virgin. In Her Immaculate Conception He made Her like to Himself; likewise at Her birth, in as far as it did not take place in the common and natural manner of other men. He preserved Her also from impure temptations and thoughts. But, as He was man and the Redeemer of the world through His Passion and Death, He permitted with His Own Body, what He would not allow with Hers, as that of a woman, and therefore He kept her Virginal body entirely concealed; in fact the Most Pure Lady during Her life had Herself asked that no one should be permitted to look upon it in death; which petition He fulfilled. Then the Apostles consulted further about Her burial. Their decision becoming known among the multitudes of the faithful in Jerusalem, they brought many candles to be lighted at the bier, and it happened that all the lights burned through that day and the two following days without any of the candles being consumed or wasted in any shape or manner.

In order that this and many other miracles wrought by the Power of God on this occasion might become better known to the world, the Lord Himself inspired all the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be present at the burial of His Most Blessed Mother, so that there was scarcely any person in Jerusalem, even of the Jews or the gentiles, who were not attracted by the novelty of this spectacle. The Apostles took upon their shoulders the sacred body and the Tabernacle of God and, as Priests of the Evangelical Law, bore the Propitiatory of the Divine Oracles and Blessings in orderly procession from the Cenacle in the city to the valley of Josaphat. This was the visible accompaniment of the dwellers of Jerusalem.

In the midst of this celestial and earthly accompaniment, visible and invisible, the Apostles bore along the sacred body, and on the way happened great miracles, which would take much time to relate. In particular all the sick, of which there were many of the different kinds, were entirely cured. Many of the possessed were freed from the demons; for the evil spirits did not dare to wait until the sacred body came near the persons thus afflicted. Greater still were the miracles of conversions wrought among many Jews and gentiles, for on this occasion were opened up the Treasures of Divine Mercy, so that many souls came to the knowledge of Christ Our Savior and loudly confessed Him as the True God and Redeemer, demanding Baptism. Many days thereafter the Apostles and Disciples labored hard in catechizing and Baptizing those, who on that day had been converted to the Holy Faith. The Apostles in carrying the sacred body felt wonderful effects of Divine Light and Consolation, in which the Disciples shared according to their measure. All the multitudes of the people were seized with astonishment at the fragrance diffused about the sweet music and the other prodigies. They proclaimed God great and powerful in this Creature and in testimony of their acknowledgment, they struck their breasts in sorrow and compunction.

When the procession came to the Holy Sepulchre in the valley of Josaphat, the same two Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint John, who had laid the Celestial Treasure from the couch onto the bier, with joyful reverence placed it in the Sepulchre and covered it with a linen cloth, the hands of the Angels performing more of these last rites than the hands of the Apostles. They closed up the Sepulchre with a large stone, according to custom at other burials. The Celestial Courtiers returned to Heaven, while the Thousand Angels of the Queen continued their watch, guarding the sacred body and keeping up the music as at Her burial. The concourse of the people lessened and the Holy Apostles and Disciples, dissolved in tender tears, returned to the Cenacle. During a whole year the exquisite fragrance exhaled by the Body of the Queen was noticeable throughout the Cenacle, and in Her oratory, for many years. This sanctuary remained a place of refuge for all those that were burdened with labor and difficulties; all found miraculous assistance, as well in sickness as in hardships and necessities of other kind. After these miracles had continued for some years in Jerusalem, the sins of Jerusalem and of its inhabitants drew upon this city, among other punishments, that of being deprived of this inestimable blessing.

Having again gathered in the Cenacle, the Apostles came to the conclusion that some of them and of the Disciples should watch at the Sepulchre of their Queen as long as they should hear the celestial music, for all of them were wondering when the end of that miracle should be. Accordingly some of them attended to the affairs of the Church in catechizing and baptizing the new converts; and others immediately returned to the Sepulchre, while all of them paid frequent visits to it during the next three days. Saint Peter and Saint John, however, were more zealous in their attendance, coming only a few times to the Cenacle and immediately returning to where was laid the Treasure of their heart.

Of the glory and felicity of the saints in the beatific vision Saint Paul says with Isaias [1 Cor. 2, 9; Is. 64, 4], that neither have mortal eyes seen, nor ears heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him and who hope in Him. In accordance with this Catholic Truth, we should not wonder at what is related of Saint Augustine, the Great Light of the Church, that, in setting out to write a book on the Glory of the Blessed, he was visited by his friend, Saint Jerome, who had just died and entered into the Glory of the Lord, and was admonished by his visitor, that he would not be able to compass His design; since no tongue or pen of man could describe the least part of the blessings enjoyed by the saints in the beatific vision.

If on this account the glory even of the least of the Saints is ineffable, what shall we say of the Glory of the Most Blessed Mary, since among the Saints She is the Most Holy and She by Herself is more like to Her Son than all the Saints together, and since Her grace and glory exceed those of all the rest. as those of an empress or sovereign over Her vassals? This truth can and should be believed; but in mortal life it cannot be understood, or the least part of it be explained; for the inadequacy and deficiency of our words and expressions rather tend to obscure than to set forth its greatness. Let us in this life apply our labor, not in seeking to comprehend it, but in seeking to merit its manifestation in glory, where we shall experience more or less of this happiness according to our works.

Our Redeemer Jesus entered heaven conducting the Purest Soul of His Mother at His right hand. She alone of all the mortals deserved exemption from particular judgment; hence for Her there was none; no account was asked or demanded of Her for what She had received; for such was the promise that had been given to Her, when She was exempted from the common guilt and chosen as the Queen privileged above the laws of the children of Adam. For the same reason, instead of being judged with the rest, She shall be seated at the right hand of the Judge to judge with Him all the creatures. If in the first instant of Her Conception She was the brightest Aurora, effulgent with the rays of the sun of the Divinity beyond all the brightness of the Most Exalted Seraphim, and if afterwards She was still further illumined by the contact of the Hypostatic Word, who derived His Humanity from Her Purest Substance, it necessarily follows that She should be His Companion for all eternity, possessing such a likeness to Him, that none greater can be possible between a God-man and a creature. In this light the Redeemer Himself presented Her before the Throne of the Divinity; and speaking to the Eternal Father in the presence of all the Blessed, who were ravished at this wonder, the most Sacred Humanity uttered these words: “Eternal Father, My Most Beloved Mother, Thy Beloved Daughter and the Cherished Spouse of the Holy Ghost, now comes to take possession of the Crown and Glory, which We have prepared as a reward for Her merit. She is the One Who was born as the Rose among thorns, untouched, pure and beautiful, worthy of being embraced by Us and of being placed upon a Throne to which none of our creatures can ever attain, and to which those conceived in sin cannot aspire. This is Our chosen and Our only One, distinguished above all else, to Whom We communicated Our Grace and Our Perfections beyond the measure accorded to other creatures; in Whom We have deposited the Treasure of our Incomprehensible Divinity and Its gifts; Who most faithfully preserved and made fruitful the talents, which We gave Her; who never swerved from Our Will, and who found grace and pleasure in Our eyes. My Father, Most Equitous is the Tribunal of Our Justice and Mercy, and in it the services of Our Friends are repaid in the most superabundant manner. It is right that to My Mother be given the reward of a Mother; and if during Her whole life and in all Her work She was as like to Me as is possible for a creature to be, let Her also be as like to Me in glory and on the Throne of Our Majesty, so that where Holiness is in essence, there it may also be found in its highest participation.”

This Decree of the Incarnate Word was approved by the Father and the Holy Ghost. The Most Holy Soul of Mary was immediately raised to the Right Hand of Her Son and True God, and placed on the Royal Throne of the Most Holy Trinity, which neither men, nor Angels nor the Seraphim themselves attain, and will not attain for all eternity. This is the most exalted and super-eminent privilege of our Queen and Lady, that She is seated on the Throne with the Three Divine Persons and holds Her place as Empress, while all the rest are set as servants and ministers to the Highest King. To the eminence and majesty of that position, inaccessible to all other creatures, correspond Her gifts of glory, comprehension, vision and fruition; because She enjoys, above all and more than all, that Infinite Object, which the other Blessed enjoy in an endless variety of degrees. She knows, penetrates and understands much deeper the Eternal Being and its infinite attributes; She lovingly delights in its mysteries and most hidden secrets, more than all the rest of the Blessed.

Just as little can be explained the extra joy, which the Blessed experienced on that day in singing the new songs of praise to the Omnipotent and in celebrating the glory of His Daughter, Mother and Spouse; for in Her He had exalted all the works of His Right Hand. Although to the Lord Himself could come no new or essential Glory, because He possessed and possesses it immutably infinite through all eternity; yet the exterior manifestations of His pleasure and satisfaction at the fulfillment of His eternal decrees were greater on that day.

On the third day after the most pure soul of Mary had taken possession of this Glory never to leave it, the Lord manifested to the Saints His Divine Will, that She should return to the World, resuscitate Her sacred body and unite Herself with it, so that She might in body and soul be again raised to the right hand of Her Divine Son without waiting for the general resurrection of the dead. The appropriateness of this favor, its accordance with the others received by the Most Blessed Queen and with Her super-eminent dignity, the Saints could not but see; since even to mortals it is so credible, that even if the Church had not certified it, we would judge those impious and foolish, who would dare deny it. But the blessed saw it with greater clearness, together with the determined time and hour as manifested to them in God himself. When the time: for this wonder had arrived, Christ Our Savior Himself descended from heaven bringing with Him at His right hand the soul of His Most Blessed Mother and accompanied by many legions of the Angels, the Patriarchs and ancient Prophets. They came to the sepulchre in the valley of Josaphat, and all being gathered in sight of the virginal temple, The Lord spoke the following words to the Saints.

“My Mother was conceived without stain of sin, in order that from Her virginal substance I might stainlessly clothe Myself in the humanity in which I came to the world and redeemed it from sin. My flesh is Her flesh; She co-operated with Me in the works of the Redemption; hence I must raise Her, just as I rose from the dead, and this shall be at the same time and hour. For I wish to make Her like Me in all things.” All the ancient Saints of the human race then gave thanks for this new favor in songs of praise and glory to the Lord. Those that especially distinguished themselves in their thanksgiving were our first parents Adam and Eve, Saint Anne, Saint Joachim and Saint Joseph, as being the more close partakers in this miracle of His Omnipotence. Then the Purest Soul of the Queen, at the command of the Lord, entered the Virginal Body, reanimated it and raised it up, giving it a new life of immortality and glory and communicating to it the four gifts of Clearness, Impassability, Agility and Subtlety, corresponding to those of the soul and overflowing from it into the body.

Endowed with these gifts the Most Blessed Mary issued from the tomb in body and soul, without raising the stone cover and without disturbing the position of the tunic and the mantle that had enveloped Her Sacred Body. Since it is impossible to describe Her beauty and refulgent glory, I will not make the attempt. It is sufficient to say, that just as the Heavenly Mother had given to Her Divine Son in Her womb the form of man, pure, unstained and sinless, for the Redemption of the World, so in return The Lord, in this Resurrection and new regeneration, gave to Her a glory and beauty similar to His Own. In this mysterious and Divine interchange each One did what was possible: Most Holy Mary engendered Christ, assimilating Him as much as possible to Herself, and Christ resuscitated Her, communicating to Her of His Glory as far as She was capable as a creature.

Then from the sepulchre was started a most solemn procession, moving with celestial music through the regions of the air and toward the Empyrean Heaven. This happened in the hour immediately after midnight, in which also the Lord had risen from the grave; and therefore not all of the Apostles were witness of this prodigy, but only some of them, who were present and watching at the sepulchre. The Saints and Angels entered Heaven in the order in which they had started; and in the last place came Christ Our Savior and at His right hand the Queen, clothed in the gold of variety [as David says Ps. 44, 10], and so beautiful that She was the admiration of the Heavenly Court. All of them turned toward Her to look upon Her and bless Her with new jubilee and songs of praise. Thus were heard those mysterious eulogies recorded by Solomon: Come, daughters of Sion, to see your Queen, who is praised by the morning stars and celebrated by the sons of the Most High. Who is She that comes from the desert, like a column of all the aromatic perfumes? Who is She, that rises like the aurora, more beautiful than the moon, elect as the sun, terrible as many serried armies? Who is She that comes up from the desert resting upon Her Beloved and spreading forth abundant delights? [Cant. 3, 6-9; 8, 5]. Who is She in whom the Deity itself finds so much pleasure and delight above all other creatures and whom He exalts above them all in the heavens! O novelty worthy of the Infinite Wisdom! O prodigy of His Omnipotence, which so magnifies and exalts Her!

Amid this glory the Most Blessed Mary arrived body and soul at the throne of the Most Blessed Trinity. And the three Divine Persons received Her on it with an embrace eternally indissoluble. The Eternal Father said to Her: “Ascend higher, My Daughter and My Dove.” The Incarnate Word spoke: “My Mother, of whom I have received human being and full return of My work in Thy perfect imitation, receive now from My hand the reward Thou hast merited.” The Holy Ghost said: “My Most Beloved Spouse, enter into the eternal joy, which corresponds to the most faithful love; do Thou now enjoy Thy love without solicitude; for past is the winter of suffering for Thou hast arrived at our Eternal embraces.” There the Most Blessed Mary was absorbed in the contemplation of the three Divine Persons and as it were overwhelmed in the boundless ocean and abyss of the Divinity, while the Saints were filled with wonder and new accidental delight. Since, at the occasion of this work of the Omnipotent happened other wonders, I shall speak of them as far as possible in the following chapter.

My Daughter, lamentable and inexcusable is the ignorance of men in so knowingly forgetting the Eternal Glory, which God has prepared for those who dispose themselves to merit it. I wish that Thou bitterly bewail and deplore this pernicious forgetfulness; for there is no doubt, that whoever willfully forgets the Eternal Glory and happiness is in evident danger of losing it. No one is free from this guilt, not only because men do not apply much labor or effort in seeking and retaining the remembrance of this happiness; but they labor with all their powers in things that make them forget the end for which they were created. Undoubtedly this forgetfulness arises from their entangling themselves in the pride of life, the covetousness of the eyes, and the desires of the flesh [John 2, 16]; for employing therein all the forces and faculties of their soul during the whole time of their life, they have no leisure, care or attention for the thoughts of Eternal Felicity. Let men acknowledge and confess, whether this recollection costs them more labor than to follow their blind passions, seeking after honors, possessions or the transitory pleasures, all of which have an end with this life, and which, after much striving and labor, many men do not, and can never attain.

This is a sorrow beyond all sorrows, and a misfortune without equal and without remedy. Afflict Thyself, lament and grieve without consolation over this ruin of so many souls bought by the Blood of My Divine Son. I assure Thee, My dearest, that, if men would not make themselves so unworthy of it, my charity would urge me, in the Celestial Glory where Thou knowest Me to be, to send forth a voice through the whole world exclaiming: “Mortal and deceived men, what are you doing? For what purpose are you living? Do you realize what it is to see God face to face, and to participate in His Eternal Glory and share His company? Of what are you thinking? Who has thus disturbed and fascinated your judgment? What will you seek, if once you have lost this true blessing and happiness, since there is no other? The labor is short, the reward is Infinite Glory, and the punishment is Eternal.”

A Blessed and Holy Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to all! May she intercede for the Church and bring Her swiftly to Her liberty and exaltation.

~Damsel of the Faith