The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15, 2021
“A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on a head a crown of twelve stars.”
~ Revelation 12:1
August is the known as the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Originally August held a special feast for the Virgin Mary in response to the turmoil of World War II and the devotion of Pope Pius XII to Our Lady of Fatima. Some believe that the dedication of the month of August to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is centered on the efforts of Catholics around the world to have her message at Fatima (to return to God and to pray the Rosary) heard in a more extended way.
Mary is the most famous woman in history. She has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine more than any other person. She is a remarkable woman, role model – the mother of Jesus. Mary points us to Jesus; we come to Christ through Mary. As the mother of Jesus, who is God, she is the Mother of God – Theotokos, or God-bearer. And no, we don’t worship Mary, we pray to Mary. We pray to Mary to intercede on our behalf.
On August 15 we celebrate the oldest feast of Our Lady – The Assumption. The feast has its origins in the years after Jerusalem was restored to a sacred city and the “Memory of Mary” was being celebrated. It is a rich history and brings us to the “Assumption of Mary”, since we celebrate more than just her dying. Mary was taken up to heaven, body and soul.
Though there is no recorded date of her death, Mary is said to have died in the presence of the apostles. Her earthly remains were never found in the tomb at the edge of Jerusalem. Many are of the opinion that Mary was raised again to life and then was transferred to her heavenly home – she ended her earthly life and entered eternity. Mary’s assumption into heaven provides each of us with the hope that we will also enter into eternal life upon our death.
Interestingly, despite centuries of celebrations and ancient beliefs surrounding the Assumption of Mary, it wasn’t until 1950 that Pope Pius XII, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, defined the dogma of the Assumption of Mary: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having complete the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.” With this, the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.
Daily Prayer for August
for the Intercession of
the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Most Blessed Mother,
heart of love, heart of mercy,
ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer.
As your children, we implore your intercession,
with Jesus your Son.
Receive with understanding and compassion,
the petitions we place before you today,
especially those so deep in our heart.
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open
to those who ask for your prayer.
We trust to your gentle care and intercession,
those whom we love
and who are sick or lonely or hurting.
Help all of us, Holy Mother,
to bear our burdens in this life,
until we may share eternal life and peace
with God, our Father forever.
The Assumption of the Virgin between St. Miniato and St. Julian is a painting by the Italian early Renaissance master Andrea del Castagno, executed around 1449–1450. It is now housed in the Gemäldegalerie of Berlin.