Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae

knock1b.jpgA homily given in 2007:

Farewell to the Assumption
Today is the last day of the Octave of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We take leave of the great liturgical festivals in much the same way as Jews take leave of the Sabbath, with a sweet sorrow. The Jewish farewell to the Sabbath is called escorting the Queen. Queen Sabbath leaves, escorted to the door by devout hearts and leaving behind her unmistakable fragrance.

The Need for Octaves
Our Catholic liturgical tradition of the Octave respects one of the human heart’s deepest needs; the need to prolong the feast, the need to linger in the presence of the loved one, savouring every moment and storing up precious memories. For those who enter into the great liturgical festivals of the year there is an unwillingness to let them go, even after eight days. The Church has always honoured the need to prepare, to celebrate, and to prolong her solemnities. The custom of fasting before a feast is a way of making room in one’s soul for the graces flowing from the mystery commemorated. The custom of lingering over the same mystery for eight days is a way of assimilating those graces.

Pius XII
The Octave Day of the Assumption has been celebrated in various ways. In 1944, in the midst of the Second World War, Pope Pius XII entrusted the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He decreed that the feast of her Immaculate Heart would be celebrated on August 22nd, the Octave of the Assumption. The same Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical of October 11, 1954, instituted the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 31st.

The Octave Day of the Assumption
With the revision of the Roman Calendar in 1969, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was moved from the Octave Day of the Assumption to the Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The feast of the Queenship of Mary was moved from May 31st to the Octave Day of the Assumption, and May 31st became the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1974 Pope Paul VI explained the reason for this adjustment: the solemnity of the Assumption is continued into the celebration of the Queenship of Mary on the Octave Day. She who is enthroned next to the King of ages is contemplated as the radiant Queen and interceding Mother.

Pope Paul VI, writing in 1974, after the 1969 reform of the calendar, deliberately refers to the Octave Day of the Assumption. It would seem that he never intended the suppression of the Octave of the Assumption. Just as in the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary follows the Assumption, so too does the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22nd complete and crown the celebration of her Assumption on August 15th.

bvm%20rue%20du%20bac.jpgThe Collect
The Collect for today’s feast calls Mary “our Mother and our Queen.” It echoes the language of the Salve Regina: “Hail, O Queen, Mother of mercy.” Mary’s participation in her Son’s work of redemption surpasses that of every other creature. Being the Mother of the Redeemer, she entered at the foot of the Cross into the bloody sacrifice of the Fruit of her womb, offering Him and offering herself with Him.

Coredemptrix
Mary is the Coredemptrix not because of any deficiency in the redemption wrought by Christ, but because the Father willed that it should be so. This was the Father’s design from all eternity: that Mary, the New Eve, should enter fully into the saving work of the New Adam; that with Him she should become “obedient unto death on the Cross” (Phil 2:8); and that with Him she should be exalted forever in glory (cf. Phil 2:9).

Mediatrix of All Graces
Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces because the Father willed that His Son should be “born of a woman” (Gal 4:4). The Father has given us all things in His Son. Saint Paul writes to the Romans, saying: “He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?” (Rom 8:32). “And of His fullness we all have received, and grace for grace” (Jn 1:16). Everything is given us in Christ. Christ is given us through Mary. Everything, then, is given us in Christ through Mary. Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins put it this way:

(Mary) mothers each new grace /
That does now reach our race.

The maternal role of Mary did not come to an end after the birth and childhood of her Son. Her participation in His divine mission grew and unfolded day by day, until on the day He suffered, she heard Him say from the Cross, “Woman, behold thy Son” (Jn 19:26). In that hour Mary became the mother of the Beloved Disciple and of every disciple until the end of time; and in that hour Our Lord provided her with the means to exercise her universal maternity freely and lavishly on behalf of all her children. This is the divine logic of her universal mediation. In his homily for the canonization of Saint Anthony of Saint Anne Galvão in Brazil last May 11th, Pope Benedict XVI pronounced one of the clearest statements ever made by the Popes on Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces. This is what the Holy Father said: “There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady.”

Sovereign Lady and Queen
We, by calling Mary our Sovereign Lady and our Queen, confess her unique participation in the work of Christ our Sovereign Lord and our King, and acknowledge that her singular role as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix will continue until the end of time. What precisely is that role?

Queen Omnipotent in Her Supplication
Look for a moment at the Preface of today’s Mass (Preface 39, Collectio Missarum de BVM, p. 153). Echoing the invocation, O Clemens, of the Salve Regina, the Preface calls her the Queen of clemency. Our Lady obtains pardon and mercy even for those who are undeserving of it. She pleads the cause of sinners before the Throne of Grace. She is omnipotent in her supplication; that is to say that God can refuse her nothing. Mary is drawn to those who have most need of her. She places her all–powerful supplication at the service of the least of her children. She intercedes for those who have forgotten how to pray and for those who dare not pray. She prays, as Julian Green would say, for chaque homme dans sa nuit, for each man in his night.

Mater Misericordiae
Again drawing on the Salve Regina, the Preface calls her the Mother of Mercy. There is not a single moment of the day or night when Mary is not wholly attentive to each of her children in this valley of tears. She is the Mother who keeps a tireless vigil over the whole world. She is present to every single soul redeemed by the Blood of her Son. You need do nothing to get her attention; you already have it. You have only to lift your eyes to her radiance and pronounce her name.

Ministra Pietatis
Finally the Preface uses a remarkable expression in Latin. It calls Mary the Father’s ministra pietatis. She is the minister of God’s faithful tender love for each of us. She administers that love whenever and wherever it is needed. Our Lady is charged by God with dispensing the graces of his lovingkindness. Ministra pietatis: this particular title evokes the mystery of the Blessed Virgin’s universal mediation of graces. The graces of the Heart of Jesus are administered by her maternal hands.

Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope
She who was assumed body and soul into heaven remains present and attentive to all of us and to each of us as Mother and as Queen. She is our life, our sweetness, and our hope because God has so willed it.
By honouring Mary as Mother and as Queen we honour the infinite wisdom of God. By acknowledging her as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces, we say “Yes” to the inscrutable designs of God and gain for ourselves the advocacy of one who is omnipotent in her supplications on our behalf.

Monstra te esse Matrem

DSC06576-e1405520896931For the the Octave of the Assumption; the image is the statue of the Mother of God in the Chapter Room at Silverstream Priory.

I am your Mother, the Mother given you by my Son Jesus, from the Cross, in the solemn hour of His Sacrifice. And you are my son, dear to my Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, precious to me, and ever under the mantle of my protection.

Let me live with you as I lived with John, the second son of my Heart and the model for all my priest sons down through the ages.

Speak to me simply and with complete trust in the compassion of my maternal Heart and in the power given to my maternal intercession. There is nothing that you cannot bring to me, nothing that you cannot present to me, nothing that you cannot offer me, even to your very sins.

Anything given to me by My sons, I press to my Heart; all that is impure, every vestige of sin is consumed in the flame of love that burns in my Immaculate Heart, in the fire of love that is the Holy Spirit in me, the very Fire of the Divinity. Give to me, then, all that you would offer to my Son and to His Father. It will be purified as gold in the furnace because I will press it to my Heart. Nothing impure can endure the flame of love that burns in my Heart. Only love remains.

Give me your weaknesses, your past sins, your daily faults, and I will present to my Son only the love with which, in spite of all your weaknesses, you desire to love Him, and with Him, love the Father. I am your Mother. I am the Mother from whom you need hide nothing. Even those things that you think are hidden appear clearly to me in the pure light of the Godhead.

When I see a priest son of mine disfigured or polluted by sin, I am moved, not to judge him but, to show him mercy and to employ all the means at my disposal for his full recovery from the vestiges of sin. So many of those who struggle against inveterate habits of sin and pernicious vices would find themselves quickly set free from them if they would only approach me with filial confidence and allow me to do for them what my maternal and merciful Heart moves me to do.

There are no limits to my intercessory power because the Father has so ordained it. One can never go wrong in turning to me. No matter how complex the problem, no matter how sordid the sin, I am the Handmaid of the Divine Mercy, the Refuge of Sinners, and the Mother of all who struggle against the forces of darkness. Come to me, then. I can even say those comforting words first spoken by my beloved Son: “Come to me, and I will give you rest.”

It is not enough to have some practices in my honour in the course of the day: I desire more, and you are called to more. You are called to reproduce the life of Saint John with me in the Cenacle and at Ephesus. If only you knew the bonds of love for Jesus, and of obedience to the Father, and of joy in the Holy Spirit that united John’s soul to Mine. We were the nucleus of a family of souls that has grown wondrously through the ages: the family of all those who, like John, lived with me, learned from me, and allowed me so to love them that love for my Jesus blazed in their hearts like a great fire, the fire that my Son came to cast upon the earth.
(From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest)

At the School of Saint John Eudes

Priestly Union with the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today, 19 August, is the feast of Saint John Eudes, priest and ardent mystic of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Saint John Eudes is numbered among the few saints who lived a mystical espousal with the Most Holy Mother of God. Already as a young man, John Eudes placed a wedding band on the finger of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was a portent of things to come. As a priest, a reformer of the clergy, and an outstanding preacher, he experienced the fruitfulness that results from what one must dare to call a spousal intimacy with the Mother of God. Saint John Eudes presents this grace as something to which all priests should aspire. To describe it he uses the French word alliance: covenant, bond, or union. Significantly, the same word is used to designate a wedding ring. I decided to translate the following passage from his Memorial on the Life of Ecclesiastics:

The Eternal Father
Consider that priests have a special alliance with the most holy Mother of God. This because, just as the Eternal Father made her participate in His divine paternity, and gave her the power to form in her womb the same Son whom He begets in His bosom, so too does He communicate to priests that same paternity, giving them power to form this same Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and in the hearts of the faithful.

The Son
As the Son made her [the Virgin Mary] His cooperator and coadjutrix (helpmate) in the work of the redemption of the world, so too does He make priests His cooperators and coadjutors in the work of saving souls.

The Holy Ghost
As the Holy Ghost, in an ineffable manner, associated her [the Virgin Mary] with Himself in the most divine of His operations, and in the masterpiece of His that is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, so too does He associate priests with Himself to bring about an extension and a continuation of this mystery in each Christian, in whom the Son of God, in some manner, incarnates Himself by means of Baptism and by the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Mediatrix of All Graces
Just as the Eternal Father gave us His Son through her [the Virgin Mary], so too does He give Him to us through His priests. Even as all the graces that come forth to us from the Heart of God pass through the hands of Mary, so too are they given us by the ministry of priests. This in such wise that, just as Mary is the treasurer of the Most Holy Trinity, priests too bear this title.

The Sacrifice of Christ
Finally, it is through her that Jesus was offered to His Father at the first and last moment of His life, when she received Him in her sacred womb, and when she accompanied Him to the sacrifice that He made of Himself on the cross; and it is by means of priests that He is immolated daily upon our altars.

Mother of the Sovereign Priest
This is why priests, being bound by so intimate an alliance and so marvelous a conformity to the Mother of the Sovereign Priest, have very particular obligations to love her, to honour her, and to clothe themselves in her virtues, in her spirit, and in her dispositions. Humble yourselves that you should find yourselves so far removed from this. Enter into the desire to tend thereto with all your heart. Offer yourselves to her, and pray her to help you mightily.

Assumption Homily

dormitio_giotto1.jpgAssumpta Est Maria
Assumpta est Maria in caelum, gaudent angeli, laudantes benedicunt Dominum! Mary has been taken up into heaven; the angels rejoice and, praising, bless the Lord! The Virgin in whose womb reposed the Author of Life is preserved from the corruption of the tomb. The Mother of God is assumed body and soul into the splendour of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Escorted by myriads of angels in jubilation, the Queen of Heaven advances toward her Son, who sits enthroned amid the stars.

Even Within the Veil
In a sense, the Assumption of the Mother of God is the liturgy of her Great Entrance; the feast of her oblation in the heavenly sanctuary, “the tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man” (Heb 8:2). She is the Mother of Holy Hope. She is given to us to be our strongest comfort, to be the anchor of our souls, “sure and firm, and which entereth in even within the veil” (Heb 6:18-19).

Our Lady’s Pascha
Today heaven and earth keep the summer festival of Marymas, Ladyday-in-the-Harvest, the Pascha of the all-holy Mother of God. She has passed into the great summer that, stretching from the springtime of the Resurrection until the return of the Lord in glory, presages the shining harvest of all the saints. The song of the angels soars, stretching, swelling, and cresting from choir to choir. The soul of the Virgin magnifies the Lord and her God-bearing flesh rejoices (Lk 1:46).

The Temple and the Ark
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of His testament was seen in His temple” (Apoc 11:19). In the First Book of Chronicles, we see the Ark of the Covenant solemnly transported to the tent made ready by David to receive it. David is the figure of Christ of whom he sings in the psalm, “He hath set his tabernacle in the sun” (Ps 18:6).

That Where I Am, You Also May Be
The Virgin Mary is the Ark of the Covenant, carried aloft by heavenly levites into the tent prepared for her by the King of Kings, the glorious Son of David, our Lord Jesus Christ. As she advances, angels raise sounds of joy on harps and lyres and cymbals and, in accord with the command of David, the appointed singers sing (1 Chr 15:16). Behold the wondrous fulfillment of what the Lord had promised: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be” (Jn 14:2-3).

Arise, Make Haste
But listen! “The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills” (Ct 2:8). In speaking to His Mother, Christ speaks to His Bride, the Church, and in speaking to His Bride the Church, He speaks to every soul washed in Baptism, sealed in Chrismation with the kiss of the Holy Ghost, and nourished at the banquet of His Body and Blood. “Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come” (Ct 2:10); for lo, the winter of our separation is past, the rain of so many tears is over and gone.

When I Appear Before His Sight
“I slept,” says the Virgin of the Dormition, “I slept, but my heart kept watch.” Ct 5:2). The heart of the Virgin is quickened and her flesh is suffused with fire. “Oh, how I rejoiced when I heard my Son say to me, ‘Let us go up to the house of the Lord'” (cf. Ps 121:1). “One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in His Father’s house all the days of my life, that I may see the delight of the Lord” (Ps 26:4), and “when I appear before His sight, I shall be satisfied with the appearing of His glory” (Ps 16:15).

Thy Voice is Sweet and Thy Face Comely
Listen to the words of the Son. “Arise my love, my fair one, and come away (Ct 2:13) for I desire that thou, my mother, first among those whom the Father hath given me, shouldst be with me where I am, to behold my glory, the glory given me by my Father in his love for me before the foundation of the world (cf. Jn 17:24). All of heaven longeth to see thy face, Mother, and the angels yearneth to hear thy voice, “for thy voice is sweet, and thy face is comely” (Ct 2:14).

The Woman Clothed with the Sun
We see the Queen of Heaven “coming up from the wilderness, like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense” (Ct 3:6). The prophet Isaiah sees her coming from afar, recognizes the Virgin of the Sign (Is 7:14), the Mother of Emmanuel, and stands to greet her. “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you . . . The Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you” (Is 60:1-2). She is the woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Apoc 12:1).

Hidden with Christ in God
The Mother of God has put on the imperishable; she is clothed in immortality (1 Cor 15:54). The Apostle lifts his voice in praise of the God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). Mary, first of all, knows the fullness of Christ’s glorious triumph in her flesh. Mary is the first-fruits of the harvest sown by Jesus in his blessed Passion and Death. Mary is the first to follow Him into the glory of his Resurrection and Ascension. Her life now is hidden with the life of Christ in God (Col 3:3), and when He who is our life appears, then she also will appear with him in glory (Col 3:4). Mary waits for her children to join her, the small and the great, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his Bride has made herself ready (Apoc 19:7).

Mary Hath Chosen the Better Part
And so, led by kings and levites, by angels, prophets and apostles, we make our way to the Gospel of the Assumption so cherished by the ancient liturgical traditions of both East and West for the Dormition of the Virgin, for “Mary hath chosen the better part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk 10:42).

The Virgin of Nazareth who surrendered her heart, her soul, and her flesh to the Word and the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost;
the Virgin of Bethlehem, joyful in her poverty;
the Virgin of Egypt, trusting in her exile;
the Virgin of Jerusalem, anguished and amazed by her child;
the Virgin of Cana, strong in her intercession;
the Virgin of Calvary, faithful in her compassion;
the Virgin of Holy Saturday, silent and indomitable in her hope;
the Virgin of the Cenacle, persevering in prayer;
the Virgin of the Mount of Olives, ardent in her desire,
has, at last, come to rest at the feet of her Son.

The One Thing Necessary
“And she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching” (Lk 10:39). Behold our sister, Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, seated at the feet of our Lord! Behold our Mother, Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, in repose at the feet of her Son! She is seated at His feet in glory, higher than the seraphim and cherubim, exalted above all the angelic choirs, for to her is given the One Thing Necessary (Lk 10:42) in heaven and on earth. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee” (Ps 73:25).

A Mother Close to Her Children
Think not for a moment that the Assumption places a distance between us and the all-holy Mother of God. Quite the contrary. Her exaltation has made her closer to us than we can dream or imagine. The all-holy Virgin is mother, completely mother, and the desire of every mother is to be close to her children.

From her place of glory in heaven, she stoops down to us, attentive to our sufferings. Her compassion illumines this valley of tears. Her Assumption has not separated her from us. The Assumption is not a mystery of distance and separation but a mystery of nearness and of communion. Now set free from the limitations of space and of time, the holy Mother of God is capable of being present to all her children, to the little ones especially, to the broken-hearted, the weak, and the poor.

Mother of Mercy
Glorious in her Assumption, the Virgin Mother has but one desire: to do for each one of us what a loving mother would do for her child. Her weakness is for the poorest among us. Her predilection goes to those who stumble and fall rather than to those who walk straight and tall, to those who, bearing within themselves deep and secret wounds, are most in need of her attentions and care.

Let us lift up our eyes to the All-Holy Mother of God and Blessed Virgin Mary, praising and confessing the wonderful mystery of her Assumption. Today, dear brothers, she will hear all your requests, answering them according to the wisdom and love of her Immaculate Heart.

The Joys of Heaven
Today, she pierces all our darknesses with a ray of heavenly light. Her desire is to share with us the joys of heaven, the very joys that flood her body and her soul in the glory of her Son. And for all of that, we need not wait. Already, here and now, we are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Apoc 19:9). Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory (Apoc 19:7) who with the Father lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Ghost, and who will come again, as he promised, to take us to Himself (Jn 14:3). “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Apoc 22:20).

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1015multiplierofwheaticon.jpgI preached this homily several years ago. Allow me to share it with you again, this time from Poland where part of my community just completed a pilgrimage to the Mother of God of Czestochowa. Is this not a lovely icon for Marymass or Lady-Day-in-Harvest?

The Pascha of Summer
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pascha of summer, signals the beginning of the final phase of the liturgical year. The Church enters into the splendours of her harvest time. With the feasts of late summer and autumn, the Church turns the shimmering pages of the book of the Apocalypse and draws us into their mystery. “Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, writes the Apostle, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near” (Ap 1:3).

The Transfiguration and the Cross
On August 6th, precisely forty days before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrated the Transfiguration of the Lord, a mystery of heavenly glory, a foretaste of the apocalyptic brightness of the Kingdom. “I saw one like a son of man, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength (Ap 1:16). Having contemplated the glory of the Father shining on the face of the transfigured Christ (2 Cor 4:6), in another month we will celebrate His Glorious Cross, the Tree of Life with leaves “for the healing of the nations” (Ap 22:2).

All Saints
On November 1st, the immense mosaic of all the saints will be unveiled before our wondering eyes in a liturgy scintillating with images from the book of the Apocalypse and echoing with “the voice of a great multitude like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, ‘Alleluia'” (Ap 19:6).

Saint John Lateran
On November 9th, the liturgy of the feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran will point to “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband” (Ap 21:2). As Mother Church approaches holy Advent, the end of her yearly cycle, the sacred liturgy seems to increase its momentum. Soon the last cry of the book of the Apocalypse will be ceaselessly in our hearts and on our lips, “‘Surely. I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Ap 22:20).

Those Who Belong to Christ
Today, on this solemnity of the Assumption of the All-Holy Mother of God and Blessed Virgin Mary, we enter into the phase described by Saint Paul in the second reading, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor 15:22).

Into the Holy Place
Today, she who “belongs to Christ” by a unique, abiding, and unrepeatable privilege, the most holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, follows where he has gone, “through the greater and more perfect tent not made by human hands, that is, not of this creation . . . into the Holy Place” (Heb 9:11).

The Fragrance of Her Holiness
An antiphon of today’s Office makes us sing: “Draw us in your footsteps, O Mary, hidden with Christ in God! Your paths are sown with delights; exquisite the fragrance of your perfumes.” True devotion to the Mother of God consists in allowing oneself to be drawn after her. He who walks in the footprints of Mary inhales the mysterious fragrance of her holiness, a fragrance known to all the saints.

The Blessing of Herbs and Flowers
An old custom would have us bless fragrant herbs and flowers on the festival of the Assumption; according to legend the tomb of the Mother of God was found to be full of fragrant herbs and flowers after her body had been taken up into glory. Assumed body and soul into heaven, Mary leaves behind a lingering fragrance. It is subtle, not overpowering, but unmistakable. It is the fragrance of purity, of humility, and of adoration. Inhale it, and you will be drawn in her footsteps, even to the feet of the risen and ascended Christ, hidden in glory.

The Best Part
The ancient gospel for the Assumption, Luke 10:38-42 is that of another Mary — Mary of Bethany — seated in sweet repose at the feet of Jesus, listening to his word (Lk 10:39). “Mary has chosen the best part, which shall not be taken from her” (Lk 10:42). With eyes illumined by the Holy Spirit, the Church discerned in the familiar figure of Mary of Bethany an icon of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, assumed into heaven. There, in the presence of her Son, she enjoys the rest promised by God, the Sabbath that will have no end (cf. Heb 4:1-10).

The Chambers of the King
“Draw me after you, let us make haste” (Ct 1:4), was the longing and desire of her heart. Now, to us, she says, “The king has brought me into his chambers” (Ct 1:4). The Assumption of the Mother of God is a signal to the entire cosmos that the divine economy is indeed entering into its final and glorious phase. “Then, says Saint Paul, comes the end, when He (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until he has put all his enemies beneath his feet” (1 Cor 15:24-25).

A Woman Clothed with the Sun
In the lesson from the Apocalypse, “God’s temple in heaven was opened” (Ap 11:19). The Church, like Saint Stephen her proto-martyr, “full of the Holy Spirit, gazes into heaven and sees the glory of God” (Ac 7:55). The whole array of theophanic signs seen once on Sinai’s heights is deployed again: “flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder” (Ap 11:19). And then, in the heavens appears the great portent: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Ap 12:1).

The Woman is the bride of the Lamb adorned for her spouse (Ap 21:2); the Woman is the Church presented “in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27); the Woman is the Virgin Mother of Nazareth, Bethlehem, Cana, Calvary, and the Mount of Olives. “Mary is assumed into heaven; the angels rejoice, and praising, bless the Lord” (Antiphon of Vespers). Behold the Woman of the psalm, the queen whose beauty the king desires, standing at his right, arrayed in gold (Ps 45: 9b-15).

Magnificat
The liturgy is not content with exalting the great apocalyptic icon before our eyes; the liturgy would have us hear the woman’s song for her heart overflows with a goodly theme (Ps 45:1). This, of course, is the reason for today’s jubilant gospel. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Lk 1:46). This is the song of the Bride of the Lamb; this is the song of the Church in every age; this is the song of the Holy Mother of God in the midst of the angels.

Praise and Adoration
If the apocalyptic phase of the liturgical year teaches us anything, it is that, in the end, the praise of God, and adoration, will have the final word. The glorious Assumption of the Mother of God points to the immense and ceaseless liturgy of heaven, to the fullness of that doxological and eucharistic life that begins for us here and now. Those who go in search of the Lamb will find Him in the company of Mary His Mother. “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him” (Mt 2:2).

Mary Is That Star
For us, Mary is that star. “Look to the star,” says Saint Bernard, “and call upon Mary.” Already, the “voice of the great multitude, like the sound of many waters” (Ap 19:6) begins to swell. It is the voice of those who look to the star, and follow her to the marriage supper of the Lamb. A new song rises in the heart of a Church that is alive and young: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come'” (Ap 22:17). Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

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Founded in 2012 in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland, and canonically erected in 2017, Silverstream Priory is a house of monks living under the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monastery is under the patronage of Our Lady of the Cenacle. The monks of Silverstream Priory holding to the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant, celebrate the “Opus Dei” (Work of God, the sacred Liturgy) in its traditional Benedictine form and Holy Mass in the “Usus Antiquior” (Extraordinary Form) of the Roman Rite. As Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration, they aspire to assure ceaseless prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation. Praying and working in the enclosure of the monastery, the monks of Silverstream offer their life for the sanctification of priests labouring in the vineyard of the Lord. They undertake various works compatible with their monastic vocation, notably hospitality to the clergy in need of a spiritual respite, and a publishing house, the Cenacle Press.

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Audio Homilies

Hundreds of audio homilies from Silverstream Priory may be found on our podcast site here.

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