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The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast Day - August 15

A Sermon of St. John Damascene

Today the sacred and living ark of the living God, She who conceived the Creator in Her womb, comes to rest in the temple of the Lord which was not made by men’s hands. David, Her father leaps with joy, and with him the Angels lead the dance, the Archangels celebrate, the Virtues give glory to God, the Principalities exult, the Powers are glad, the Dominations rejoice, the Thrones keep a feast-day, the Cherubim give praise and the Seraphim proclaim Her glory. Today the Eden of the new Adam receives the living paradise in which our condemnation was dissolved, in which the tree of life was planted, in which our nakedness was clothed.

Today the Immaculate Virgin, who was soiled with no earthly desires, but reared in heavenly thinking, did not return to dust, but since She was a living heaven, was placed in the heavenly tabernacles. She from whom true Life has flowed to all men, how could She taste death? But She yielded to the law laid down by Him whom She conceived and, as daughter of the old Adam, underwent the old sentence (for Her Son, who is Life itself, did not refuse it); but, as the Mother of the living God, She was rightly taken up to His side.

From the Acts of Pope Pius XII

The universal Church through the ages has always shown faith in the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This truth rests upon Sacred Scripture; it is deeply rooted in the souls of the faithful and is clearly consonant with other revealed truths. With almost perfect unanimity, the hierarchy of the whole world asked that this truth be defined as a dogma of the divine and Catholic faith. And so Pope Pius XII, consenting to the desires of the whole Church, decided solemnly to proclaim this privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Therefore, on the first day of November in the year of the great Jubilee, 1950, at Rome in the court of St. Peter’s basilica, amidst a great crowd including many Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and bishops even from distant places and a great multitude of the faithful, to the applause of the whole Catholic world, he proclaimed the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven by his infallible pronouncement in these words: “After frequently praying to God and invoking the light of the Spirit of truth, to the glory of Almighty God who enriched the Virgin Mary with special favor, to the honor of Her Son, the immortal King of ages and victor over death and sin, to the increase of the glory of His august Mother, to the joy and exultation of the whole Church, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and by Our own authority, We declare and define as a revealed dogma that the immaculate Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, when She had finished the course of Her earthly life, was taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven.”

Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1437-1440.