May 25th.–Instruction 25. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
May 25th.–Instruction 25. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
“Arise, my love, and come.”–Cant. ii. 13.
If, to be like her divine Son in all things, Mary must leave this world by submitting to death, she will therefore come forth from the tomb without suffering its corruption. St. Augustine asks: “How could God permit her virginal body to become a prey to the corruption of the tomb? Mary was not included in the common condemnation spoken against Eve: Thou wilt bring forth children in sorrow. It was certainly most suitable to the glory of Mary’s motherhood that she should also be preserved from that other condemnation, into dust thou shalt return. The immaculate body of Jesus and the immaculate body of Mary are identical in substance. If, therefore, it was suitable to the dignity of the Son of God that His body should not experience the humiliating decomposition of the tomb, the most pure body of His Mother must share in the same privilege. The third day after Mary had been laid in the sepulchre by the apostles she heard the voice which had awakened Lazarus, “Arise, My beloved, and come forth from the tomb. “ This was for Mary the signal of her triumph. In meditating on the mystery of Mary’s glorious assumption, we will find in it a subject of admiration, confidence, and imitation.
1. A subject of admiration.–St. John Damascene speaks as if he had been present at the triumph of Mary in heaven. He says: “The holy temple of the living God, she in whose womb the Creator was conceived, now rests in the temple of the Lord, which has not been constructed by human hands. David, her ancestor, rejoices at Mary’s assumption. The angels sing their songs of joy and gladness, archangels celebrate the festival occasion. Virtues, principalities, and powers glorify her. Dominations and thrones are full of rejoicing, while cherubim and seraphim sing her glory and publish her praises.” To the triumph awarded Mary in heaven we must add all the glory that earth could give. From the rising to the setting of the sun the universe resounds with songs of victory in honor of Mary the Mother of God. The prophetic words are realized: “All generations shall call me blessed,” Never could the world behold a grander spectacle than the glory of Mary on the day of her resurrection and her assumption. She has for her attendants all the heavenly retinue–the saints, the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, the confessors, and the virgins, who with one voice proclaim her their Queen.
The scene of her triumph is not the city which rules the world, but the heavenly Jerusalem. Her triumph is not for time only, but throughout the ages of eternity. The three divine persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, place on her head the royal diadem, and address to her the words of the canticle: “Come, privileged daughter, come, take possession of thy throne and thy crown.”
2. A subject of confidence.–The triumph of Mary is also the reason of our greatest confidence. Mary still preserves in the splendor of her glory all those titles which are the foundation of our hopes. She triumphs as the Mother of God and the Mother of men. As the Mother of God she preserves all her empire over the heart of Jesus. If, at the wedding feast of Cana, by a single word she could obtain from Jesus that He should anticipate the time of His miracles, what could He refuse to His Mother’s love in their eternal festivities? As Mother of men Mary is always full of tenderness and mercy for them. By frequent marvels of grace, obtained through her prayers, Mary manifests her desire to associate her children in her triumph. The most splendid miracles attest the power of Mary with her beloved Son. There is no country which has not experienced the result of her intercession with Jesus, and from the remotest lands come the echoes which proclaim the royal munificence of Mary toward the unfortunate children of earth. In her assumption she triumphs as queen, and the privilege of a queen is to command. Moreover, all things yield to Mary’s power. The invalid is restored to health and sinners recover the grace which they had lost. Why, then, should we not place our fullest confidence in this omnipotent Queen, in this Mother of all mercy, who appears to be so great and so exalted in heaven only to exercise absolute dominion over earth and to give us the most splendid proofs of her love?
3. A subject of imitation.–The assumption of the Blessed Virgin presents to us a subject worthy of our imitation. If Mary triumphs as the Immaculate Virgin and the Mother of Jesus, she is also crowned as the servant of God. Her splendid throne, her brilliant crown, her glory, her happiness–all these are the recompense of her virtues and the reward of her merits. She is of all creatures the most exalted in heaven, and precisely because she was the most humble on earth. She is the omnipotent queen because she was the most obedient servant. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” Complete dominion over all things has been given her because she renounced everything and lived in direst poverty.
When our blessed Saviour was just ascending to heaven He said to us, “I go to prepare a place for you.” But we cannot forget that this place is a recompense which we must merit by fidelity to the divine commandments and by the practice of all the virtues of which Christ and His blessed Mother have given us the example. Our blessed Saviour has entered into the possession of His glory by carrying His cross. Mary, also, has triumphed by walking the way to Calvary after her divine Son. The glory of her assumption is measured only by the depth of her humiliations. We must therefore imitate our good mother in her humility, her poverty, and the purity of her life; then we will merit to celebrate her praises and to contemplate her glory throughout eternity.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Of the Doctrine of Truth.
II. And what need we concern ourselves about questions of philosophy?
He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh, is set at liberty from a multitude of opinions.
From one Word are all things, and this one all things speak; and this is the Beginning, which also speaks to us, (John vii. 23).
Without this Word no one understands or judges rightly.
He to whom all things are one, and who draws all things to one, and who sees all things in one, may be steady in heart, and peaceably repose in God.
O Truth, my God, make me one with Thee in everlasting love.
I am wearied with often reading and hearing many things: in Thee is all that I will or desire.
Let all teachers hold their peace; let all creatures be silent in Thy sight; speak Thou alone to me.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch III pt II.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)
The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).
Mother of Mercy, Day by Day.
Mother of mercy, day by day
My love of thee grows more and more,
Thy gifts are strewn upon my way
Like sands upon great seashore,
Like sands upon great seashore.
Thy love for me I know its worth,
Oh, it is all in all to me;
For what did Jesus love on earth
One half so tenderly as thee,
One half so tenderly as thee.
Get me the grace to love thee more,
Jesus will give if thou will plead;
And Mother, when life’s cares are o’er,
Oh, I shall love thee then indeed,
Oh, I shall love thee then indeed.
Jesus when His three hours were run,
Bequeath, thee from the Cross to me,
And oh, how can I love thy Son,
Sweet Mother, If I love not thee?
Sweet Mother, If I love not thee?
– Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)
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