The Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady is a celebration of our Christian calling. We rejoice that Mary, the God-bearer, is born by God’s holy angels into His glorious presence. It is a wonderful feast day and a reminder of our own destiny. Remember that phrase, “He is so heavenly-minded that he is no earthly use.”? We need to be heavenly-minded!
Although unable to be the celebrant of the mass, I did manage to get to church, having been in hospital all day undergoing various tests. Although not well in the morning (or the previous day) I decided that I was well enough to get to the mass on the eve. I could have tried for the 0800 mass on the day but I had no guarantee of being in a fit state. (Nothing serious, you understand, just an infection to be cleared.) You see, the problem for me was not so much being ill as trying to work out how I could keep the feast. The Church Catholic teaches that it is “an holy day of obligation”, in other words, not to be missed without good reason. I was mobile, the pain had subsided, I was, therefore, able to be present. I also wanted to be present. I didn’t stand for much of the mass but it was good for me to be there. (To quote S. Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration.) I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Keeping such a feast is a foretaste of heaven. “Going up” to receive holy communion with the Faithful was itself a reminder of what receiving the Sacrament is about. When we draw near to death, we should instruct our families and friends to call for the priest to administer Last Rites. These rites include confession, laying-on-of-hands, anointing with holy oil, and the receiving of holy communion. The last of these rites is called viaticum. This means food for the journey – the last earthly food, both physical and spiritual. I was conscious of receiving that most holy sacrament with an eye to heaven. It was made all the more clear given that we were celebrating Our Lady’s last day on earth.
You will have to forgive me for being so completely caught up in the Catholic Faith. I really don’t believe that there is any faith which comes near it. True, Catholics, both Anglican and Roman, mess up the church and bring it into disrepute – but that doesn’t change the essential truths. People mess up holy matrimony and treat that state with little reverence – but that does not change what matrimony is, God-given for the good estate of His people. The Catholic Faith is God-given. “This is The Way. Walk in it.”
I can only think that the people who did not attend mass on the Feast of the Assumption have not received The Faith or have chosen to ignore it. I am conscious that I am wary of teaching such things because so few do take any notice. That is a failing of mine. However, at the end of the day we are responsible for our own souls and I, for one, am glad I received the teaching I was given and searched out for myself.
The women at the well of Samaria in Saint John’s Gospel went with the Good News of Jesus to the men of her village. They came and heard Jesus and said to the woman. “Now we believe, not because of what you told us but because we heard it for ourselves.” Isn’t that wonderful?
We need to love the Lord and His Mother with a love that is both dutiful and joyful. The first verse of this lovely hymn says it all.
Shall we not love thee, Mother dear,
Whom Jesus loves so well;
And to his glory, year by year,
Thy joy and honour tell?
Yes, we will love thee, Mother, dear,
Whom Jesus loves so well.
We celebrated the feast on the eve and day, 14th and 15th August. I hope and pray that all who kept the feast were as enriched as I was.