Come, let us adore the King of kings: today his Virgin Mother was taken up to heaven.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
The Feast of the Assumption
The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it was known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was raised up, body and soul, into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread (for details, see this article
in the Catholic Encyclopaedia); and after consulting the views of bishops all over the world, the Pope formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church.
In other years: Blessed Victoria Rasoamanarivo (1848 - 1894)
She was born in Tananarive in Madagascar to one of the most powerful families of the country.
She was educated by the Jesuits and by the Sisters of the Congregation of St Joseph of Cluny. Her Catholic education made a strong impression on her, and she subsequently asked to be received into the Church.
She was baptized in 1863. During the persecutions that were aimed at the Catholic Mission, her parents tried to get her to give up her faith but she refused. She asked to become a nun but the missionaries felt it wiser not to permit this. She was given in marriage to the son of the Prime Minister, a high officer in the army. Because of her husband’s character and behaviour (he was violent and an alcoholic) the marriage was a true martyrdom for her. Nevertheless she remained faithful to her vows and refused to divorce her husband despite the urgings of her parents and of the queen herself. Christian matrimony, she said, was indissoluble.
Her exemplary Christian life gained her the admiration of the court and the people. This admiration, and her moral authority, made her a providential support of the Catholic Church in Madagascar after the expulsion of the Catholic missionaries. She publicly defended the Catholic Church against the authorities and kept the people’s faith alive. When the missionaries returned in 1886 they found a vigorously flourishing community thanks to Victoria’s virtues and activities. She prayed for her husband’s conversion and when he died in 1888 as a result of an accident, he asked for baptism on his deathbed.
She herself died on 21 August 1894 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1989.
Other saints: Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952)
18 Aug (where celebrated)
Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952) was born in Viña del Mar, Chile. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Chilean in July 1923, did his religious studies in Spain and Belgium, and was ordained a priest in 1933. On returning to Chile in 1936, he was a teacher, counsellor, retreat director, author and youth organizer. In Santiago he founded the Hogar de Cristo for homeless children. He was also involved in various social action organizations and activities. He died in 1952, and was given full state honours at his burial.
Other saints: Bls John-Baptist Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard and James Gagnot (d.1794)
18 Aug (where celebrated)
Fr. Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges), in religion Fr. Leonard, Fr. Michel-Louis Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres), and Fr. Jacques Gagnot (b. 1753 at Frolois), in religion Fr. Hubert of Saint Claude, were among a group of 64 Martyrs beatified 1st October 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders. In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution. As a result they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader in Rochefort Bay, awaiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. John-Baptist on 1st July, and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on 25th July, both being buried on the island of Aix. After plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame, where Fr. James died and was buried on 10th September. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation and cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Judith 13:17-18 ©|
Overcome with emotion, the people all fell on their knees and worshipped God, exclaiming as one man, ‘Blessings on you, our God, for confounding your people’s enemies today!’ Uzziah then said to Judith: ‘May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High, beyond all women on earth.’
|Noon reading (Sext)||Apocalypse 12:1 ©|
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Corinthians 5:1 ©|
We know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.