Posted by: liturgicalyear | July 31, 2011

August: Devoted to the Assumption of Mary

While some anticipate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary on August 15th as merely a holy day of obligation, realize the Church sets aside the entire devotion of August to this feast. What an opportunity to grow in our faith, through the Christ-bearer, the Blessed Mary.

 This article offers teaching and devotions to help you grow in your knowledge of Mary, to access her intercession and to prepare for all the transitions the month of August brings: CCD classes, school starting, children off to college, the parade of sports and extra-curriculars  that stuff our calendars. What better way to prepare for the busyness to come than to rest in the stillness and steadfastness of Mary.

Mary as Mother of the Church

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Mary’s role in the life of the Church is elaborated in the section devoted to the Creed, under the section “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church.” When we say this, think not of the Church buildings or even the structure of its leadership; instead, reflect on the foundation of the Church.

The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.”502 “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church. (CCC 963)

Mary’s fiat (her “yes” at the Annunciation) was the on-switch to Christ’s incarnation, the whole sweep of his earthly ministry, and his Sacrifice which restores us to heaven. Mary primacy in the steps toward our salvation mean she should hold a place of primacy in our hearts, and in the devotions through which we express our faith.

Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace. (CCC 968)

So, Mary is the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of the Church, and the Mother of us all in the “order of grace” – in the sequence of steps that Grace enters, sustains and redeems the world.

Mary also provides us with the model for how to live in faith, charity and hope in this world. She is our model of virtue:

By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus)510 of the Church. (CCC 967)

Moreover, Mary’s death mirrors Christ’s Resurrection in her Assumption, when she was taken directly to heaven, body and soul, and where she rules as Queen of all saints and where she intercedes for us, the Body of Christ.

Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”508 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians. (CCC 966)

In her Assumption, where she rose body and soul into Heaven, she celebrates the fullness of the Resurrection in, through and with the Son. She shows us the way toward our own resurrection.

Let’s review:

  • Mary first said yes to the Savior: She is the “Christ-bearer.”
  • By bringing Jesus to the world, she birthed the Body of Christ: The Church.
  • In her life on Earth Mary modelled the Christian’s life of virtue.
  • Mary’s Assumption both mirrors and models the Resurrection.
  • The fullness of her participation in the birth, witness and eschatological end of the Body of Christ makes her the Mother of the Church.

Marian Devotions

Pray The Rosary daily.

Consider the wealth of Marian devotions you can choose from:

Pray The Litany of the Virgin Mary.

Over 300 Marian apparitions have been reported to the Church, of which 14 are approved and recognized by the Church. See the full list of Marian Apparitions.  This websites provides links for each of the approved Marian Apparitions, with devotions.

Pray The Litany to Our Lady of Fatima.

Pray The Litany to Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Pray the Novena to the Immaculate Conception.

Pray The Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.

Consider the 33-day Total Consecration to Mary, from St. Louis de Montfort, who reminds us “to Jesus through Mary”:  It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.

Pope Benedict XVI on Mary in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (2005)

Mary has truly become the Mother of all believers. Men and women of every time and place have recourse to her motherly kindness and her virginal purity and grace, in all their needs and aspirations, their joys and sorrows, their moments of loneliness and their common endeavours.

 They constantly experience the gift of her goodness and the unfailing love which she pours out from the depths of her heart. The testimonials of gratitude, offered to her from every continent and culture, are recognition of that pure love which is not self- seeking but simply benevolent.

 At the same time, the devotion of the faithful shows an infallible intuition of how such love is possible: it becomes so as a result of the most intimate union with God, through which the soul is totally pervaded by him—a condition which enables those who have drunk from the fountain of God’s love to become in their turn a fountain from which “flow rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38).

Mary, Virgin and Mother, shows us what love is and whence it draws its origin and its constantly

renewed power. To her we entrust the Church and her mission in the service of love:

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

you have given the world its true light,

Jesus, your Son – the Son of God.

You abandoned yourself completely

to God’s call

and thus became a wellspring

of the goodness which flows forth from him.

Show us Jesus. Lead us to him.

Teach us to know and love him,

so that we too can become

capable of true love

and be fountains of living water

in the midst of a thirsting world.

 

Barbara

 

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