Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From a Sermon by St John of Damascus, Priest & Doctor of the Church
Make haste, Lord, to give thy Mother the welcome which is her due. Stretch out thy divine hands. Receive thy Mother’s soul into the Father’s hands unto which thou didst commend thy spirit on the Cross. Speak sweet words to her: “Come, my beloved, whose purity is more dazzling than the sun, thou gavest me of thy own, receive now what is mine. Come, my Mother, to thy Son, reign with Him who was poor with thee.” Depart, O Queen, depart, not as Moses did who went up to die. Die rather that thou mayest ascend. Give up thy soul into the hands of thy Son. Return earth to the earth, it will be no obstacle.
Lift up your eyes, O people of God. See in Sion the Ark of the Lord God of powers, and the Apostles standing by it, burying the life-giving body which received our Lord. Invisible angels are all around in lowly reverence doing homage to the Mother of their Lord. The Lord Himself is there, who is present everywhere, and filling all things, the universal Being, not in place. He is the Author and Creator of all things. Behold the Virgin, the daughter of Adam and Mother of God; through Adam she gives her body to the earth, her soul to her Son above in the heavenly courts.
Let the holy city be sanctified, and rejoice in eternal praise. Let angels precede the divine tabernacle on its passage, and prepare the tomb. Let the radiance of the spirit adorn it. Let sweet ointment be made ready and poured over the pure and undefiled body. Let a clear stream of grace flow from grace in its source. Let the earth be sanctified by contact with that body. Let the air rejoice at the Assumption. Let gentle breezes waft grace. Let all nature keep the feast of the Mother of God’s Assumption. May youthful bands applaud and eloquent tongues acclaim her, and wise hearts ponder on the wonder, priests hoary with age gather strength at the sight. Let all creation emulate heaven, even so the true measure of rejoicing would not be reached.
Responsory. The King || shall greatly desire thy beauty, for * He is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore; all the rich among the people, shall entreat thy countenance. V. Blessed art thou among women; thou hast found grace with God. * He is the Lord … Glory be … He is the Lord …