The Feast of the Assumption of Mary in the Holy Land
August: in the middle of summer, when the activities take a rest and the games in the sand begin, close to water and beach umbrellas, 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.
And indeed, August is precisely one of the periods in which the Church vigorously asks us to commemorate the figure of the Virgin. St Mary Queen of Angels, on the 2nd of August, St Mary Queen, on the 22nd of the same month: it is a time when the grace of the Virgin is meditated upon abundantly by the liturgy.. The feast of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is a great, a shining confirmation of the dedication of this time to the Mother of the Saviour.
The doctrine through time
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?
Be that as it may, 15 August is the feast of the Assumption. In Europe, and particularly in Italy, it is an occasion for great popular festivities, street gatherings, processions… In the Holy Land, the liturgy has a very high value, and it is important to safeguard it with care and attention.. That is why the feast on the 15th begins on the evening of Sunday 14th, with the solemn vigil of the Assumption of Mary.
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. Then the prayer will continue into the evening, with Vespers at 4.30 p.m. and the pilgrimage of Franciscans to the tomb of Mary at around 5 p.m.
Nor will this grace be experienced in Jerusalem alone: at 10.00 a.m., at the great Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, a solemn mass will commemorate the Virgin Assumed into Heaven, right there where Heaven first announced itself to the Virgin.
The Rosary Booklet (just for Italy)
But, it was said, every day in August is particularly suitable for remembering Mary, Mother of the Saviour. There are many, very many indeed, parishes that, in the summer heat of our cities, organise rosaries and prayers to respect this Marian time.
We at Pro Terra Sancta also join in this great prayer. We do so by relaunching the initiative of the rosary booklet personalised with the name of the person requesting it or of a loved one. It is a small booklet, containing the Mysteries of the Rosary and some meditations on this prayer, the most beautiful way to dialogue, today, with the Virgin who protects us.
How to request it? To whom? When to have it? All questions that you will see answered in the commercials that are already being aired on channels like TV2000 and that you can ask by writing to email@example.com.
Happy Feast of the Assumption to all!