Our title for today’s post comes from “The Month of Mary” by Saint Francis de Sales. We offer it today so that this beautiful feast of Our Lady may linger a few days more in our hearts rejoicing and strengthening us in our devotion to this most loving Mother given to us by our Lord from His saving cross.
THE RESURRECTION AND ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
There can be no doubt whatever that Our Lord fulfilled towards Mary the precept which He gave in general to all children to honour their parents. Indeed, where is the son who would not raise his mother from the grave to lead her to Paradise, if he had it in his power?
The great triumph of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is celebrated by all the Saints, and by the whole Church Militant. After the Ark of the Covenant had dwelt for a long period under tents and pavilions, King Solomon ordered it to be placed in the marvellous Temple he had prepared for it. The joy of the Hebrews on that occasion was so great that the blood of the sacrifices flowed through the streets of Jerusalem; the air was filled with clouds of incense, and the houses and public squares resounded with harmonious music.
But, O God, if the solemnity of the reception of the Ark was so great, what must have been that of the Most Glorious Virgin, Mother of the Son of God, the true Ark of the New Covenant, upon the day of her Assumption ! O incomprehensible joy! – festival of wonders! – which makes all devout souls who are the true daughters of Jerusalem, exclaim: ‘Who is she that goeth up from the desert leaning upon her Beloved?’
The entrance of the Most Blessed Virgin into heaven was the most magnificent that ever could or can be witnessed after that of Jesus Christ. She ascends from the desert of this lower world, so perfumed with spiritual gifts that, except in the Person of her Divine Son, she has no equal in heaven. The Queen of Saba, coming to Jerusalem to have a proof of the wisdom of Solomon, brought with her a great quantity of perfumes, gold, and precious stones. But, when the Most Holy Virgin entered heaven, she carried with her such an amount of the pure gold of charity, so much perfume of devotion and of virtue, and so many precious gems of patience and of suffering, that we can safely say no one ever had so great an accumulation of merits to offer her Divine Son!
Yes, indeed, she abounded in delights, because during her life on earth she had abounded in good works and in sufferings. We may say that, in one sense, the Assumption of Our Lady was even more glorious than the Ascension of Jesus Christ; because the Angels only were present at the Ascension, whilst at the Assumption of Our Lady the King of Angels Himself attended her. What a triumph was it for Heaven, and what a consolation for earth! Ah, let us in spirit dwell and live in heaven, because there is our treasure and our life.
O my God, how beautiful is heaven now that its sun is Our Blessed Saviour, and His bosom is the Source of Love, where the Blessed drink and quench their thirst! If we look up there, we shall see our names written in characters of Love, which can be read only by Love, and engraved only by Love. O God! and will my name also be there? Let me trust so because although my heart burns not with ardent Charity, it has, however, its desire and its principle, and bears written upon it the Sacred Name of Jesus, which I hope nothing will be able to cancel.
O what a joy for us when we shall see those characters denoting our eternal happiness! As for me, although those eternal blessings occupy all my desires and affections, yet all Paradise would be nothing to me if I did not find there the never-ending Love of the Eternal God, Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Let us bear in mind that Jesus Christ looks upon us from heaven, and sweetly invites us to come and enjoy the delights of His goodness and the abundance of His love. The Most Holy Virgin also invites us as a Mother, saying to each of us: ‘Courage, my child; despise not the ardent desires of my Son, and my sighs and petitions for thy salvation’.
And yet, how often have we not preferred the miserable vanities and bitter pleasures of earth to those incomparable joys ! Ah, faithful souls; let us henceforth accept the favours which the Most Holy Virgin and the Saints offer us. Let us promise them to walk quickly on towards heaven; and let us take hold of the hand of our good Angel-guardian, that we may never again stumble, but happily reach the gates of a blessed eternity.
The qualities of the material rose vividly represent the attributes of Mary, the Mystical Rose. The perfume of the rose signifies the joys of the Most Blessed Virgin; its thorns represent to us her sorrows; and the beauty of its colour her glory in heaven. Mary is the beautiful Lily who looks down from her high throne upon all other flowers, and sees them inferior to herself. (St. John Damascene).
The difference between material and spiritual rose-trees is this, that in the former, the roses fade and the thorns remain; whilst, in the latter, the thorns pass away and the roses remain. (St. Francis de Sales).
Consecrate yourself generously to Mary, and renew this consecration every Saturday.
From “The Saint Francis de Sales Collection” [16 Books] . Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.
And for good grace, here is another brief essay by Saint Francis de Sales from the same collection. (I don’t receive anything in return for recommending books.)
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
by St. Francis de Sales
THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION
From “Practical Piety” by Saint Francis de Sales
I was meditating this evening, as the weakness of my sight would permit, on this queen dying of a fever sweeter than all health; I mean, the fever of love, which drying up her heart, at last enkindles it, sets it all on fire, consumes it in such sort, that she breathes forth her holy soul, which goes straight to the hands of her Son. Ah, how fair is this dawn of the eternal day, which, ascending towards heaven, goes on, as it seems to me, increasing more and more in the benedictions of its incomparable glory! All the elect die in the habit of holy love; but some of them, beyond that, die in the exercise of this holy love; some, for this love, like the martyrs, and others, by this same love.
But what belongs to the supreme degree of this love is, that some die of love; and that is when love not only wounds the soul, so as to make it languish, but transfixes it, striking in the midst of the heart, and so strongly, that it drives the soul out of the body.
Such was the death of the holy Virgin, of whom it is impossible to imagine that she died of any other sort of death than that of love; a death the most noble of all, and consequently due to the most noble life which was ever lived among creatures,—a death of which angels themselves would desire to die if they were capable of death. The holy Virgin having nothing in her which could hinder the operation of the divine love of her Son, united herself with Him in an incomparable union, by sweet ecstasies, peaceful and effortless; so that the death of this holy Virgin was more gentle than we can possibly imagine, her Son sweetly drawing her by the odour of His perfumes, and she gliding off in this odour most gently into the bosom of His goodness; and although that holy soul loved her most holy and most pure and most fair body, nevertheless she quitted it without pain and without resistance, to go to reunite herself to her dear Son.
Love having, at the foot of the cross, given this divine mother the supreme dolours of death, it was reasonable that death should give her the sovereign delights of love. Ah, may it please this holy Virgin to make us live by her prayers in this holy love; may it be forever the singular and only object of our heart. Live Jesus; live Mary, the stay of my life!
From: “Practical Piety”, in “The Saint Francis de Sales Collection” [16 Books] . Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!