AUGUST 15, 2023

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary

In the middle of summer, when the activities stop and the games between the sand, the water and the umbrellas begin, the liturgical calendar does not stop and indeed, reminds us of one of the most important and beautiful feasts of the Christian-Catholic religion. It is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which commemorates the ascension to Heaven of the Mother of God after her earthly transit.


There is no trace of such an episode in the Sacred Scripture, and it is only the later Christian tradition that clarifies its development. Beginning with certain writings of the 4th century, in fact, the doctrine grew that the Blessed Virgin Mary, uncorrupted by original sin, could not be corrupted even at the moment of her departure from the Earth. This meant that Mary, having completed her earthly time, was was assumed body and soul into heaven.. Hence the feast of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. It is not clear whether or not Mary went through bodily death. . Some say yes, and say that the site of the Virgin’s tomb, near Gethsemane, is a reminder of just that. There are those who say no, that the Virgin went through a simple ‘Dormition‘, a deep sleep that is remembered inside the majestic shrine near the Cenacle, dedicated precisely to the Dormitio Beatae Virginis Mariae. . Neither the one nor the other hypothesis are arguments of faith: if Jesus himself could go through the experience of death, coming out alive and victorious, why could not his mother, a mirror of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, do the same?

The solemn functions in memory of the Virgin Assumed into Heaven

In the Grotto near Gethsemane, where an ancient tradition reports that Mary’s body (whether sleeping or dead) rested before the Virgin was assumed into Heaven, the Franciscan friars will hold a service starting at 8.30 pm. In the soft light of Jerusalem, in the evening, in front of the magnificent theatre of the walls of the Old City, interwoven with the gold of the Dome of the Rock and the thousands of lights that punctuate it, the minors will begin to pray intensely on the mystery of the Assumption.

And this prayer in Jerusalem will burn – a little like the fire Mary received at Pentecost – throughout the following day:after the 7.30 a.m. Mass in Arabic at the Grotto of the Virgin Mary, at 10 a.m. in the Basilica of All Nations, the Custos will preside over a solemn Mass. And then the prayer will continue until the evening, with vespers at 4.30 pm and the pilgrimage of the Franciscans to the tomb of Mary around 5.00 pm.


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