Taste and See: Change

Assumption, Lichfield

In England and Wales yesterday, Sunday 14th August was kept as the Solemnity of the Assumption. Elsewhere (as in England and Wales in in other years) it may be kept today, 15th August).

The Collect for the Mass had us look forward to our sharing in the glory of Mary, her being honoured by her Son, and her receiving from him the benefits of his victory over sin and death and a full share in his resurrection at the end of his life here.

 Collect

Almighty ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray,
that, always attentive to the things that are above,
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Assumption, Lichfield reconstruction

In the prayer we ask that we may be attentive to the things that are above. We ask that we may be ever-mindful of them, focussed on them so that our desire for them might draw us on.

The hope is that in that movement to the things that are above we may be better able to detach from those things – here – that may in the moment be more attractive but in the long run draw us form life and to ever-lasting death.

  • What – above – do you long for?
  • Why?
  • Bring your thoughts to God in prayer.

Pre-Reformation wall painting of the Assumption (and artist’s reconstruction). Lichfield Cathedral. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: our Bridegroom

Crowning, Assumption, Warwick St

In England and Wales this year, Sunday 14th August will be kept as the Solemnity of the Assumption, (in other years it is kept on 15th August).

The Psalm for the Feast’s Day Mass is understood by some to have been a song first used on the occasion of a royal wedding, and this section of it addressed to a queen. Others understand it as a prophetic psalm anticipating the coming of the Messiah and addressing Israel his Bride. It could, of course, be both.

Today, in our liturgy, it is surely to be understood to be addressed both to Mary, being greeted as Queen of Heaven, and to the Church called to be bride of Christ.

On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.

The daughters of kings are among your loved ones.
On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words:
forget your own people and your father’s house.

On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.

So will the king desire your beauty:
He is your lord, pay homage to him.
They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
they pass within the palace of the king.

On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.

Psalm 44:10-12,16

  •  What in you might attract the love and care of the Royal bridegroom?
  • What in Mary would you most like to emulate?

Apse Mosaic, Church of the Assumption, Warwick St, London. (c) 2007, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Risen One

Resurrection, AylesfordIn England and Wales this year, Sunday 14th August will be kept as the Solemnity of the Assumption, (in other years it is kept on 15th August).

 The Second reading at the Mass during the day comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. In the passage we hear Paul speaks of the resurrection of all believers: our sharing in Christ’s resurrection- an ultimate communion with the kingdom of God.

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

The passage beautifully describes the interrelationship between the rule of God the Father, the reign of Christ, and our own human order. As human beings we are all marked by sin and death; we find freedom and life in Christ; and then gifted by Christ to his Father. Love and life progressively become the air we breath and our very way of life. It is a process that begins in this life and finds its fulfilment in the life that ‘follows’.

  • What are the signs of that life taking root in you even now?
  • What hold you back from it?
  • Bring your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer.

The Resurrection. Rosary Way, Aylesford Priory. (c) 2008, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Hail Mary.

Assumption Medjugorje

Yesterday, in England and Wales was the Solemnity of the Assumption.

The feast marks the extraordinary honour given to Mary, a creature, by her creator. Drawn from this created world of passing time, she is now to enjoy life with God in all eternity.

How blessed is Mary, something she herself acknowledges in her Magnificat which we heard in the gospel and again in the communion antiphon.

Communion Antiphon

All generations will call me blessed,
for he who is mighty has done great things for me.
Lk 1: 48-49

In the Prayer over the Offerings we make prayer for the offerings of bread and wine, and other gifts. Mary to is gift. She makes gift of herself to her Son and to God our Father. She is gift of God to us too. She draws us where she has been called.

Prayer over the Offerings

May this oblation, our tribute of homage,
rise up to you, O Lord,
and, through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
whom you assumed into heaven,
may our hearts, aflame with the fire of love,
constantly long for you.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • For what do you ask through Mary?
  • What quality of God’s love most thrills your heart?

Glorious Mystery: The Assumption. Medjugorje. © 2015, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Of new life, eternal life.

Dormition 2013This Sunday, the feast of the Assumption, replaces the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The Second reading speaks of Christ’s Resurrection, the Mystery which prepares the way for our salvation and entrance into the life of God.

The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, of course also establishes the pattern for the Assumption, for how, at the end of her natural life, Mary would enter – body, spirit and soul; entire, living and holy – into the life of glory in heaven.

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man.

Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him.

After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

Paul uses mythic, cosmic, language to express the radical truth of the Gospel and the new life it promises.

  • What are the enemies that remain to be destroyed? In your life, the life of your family and community, of the world?
  • What will help bring about their end, and our fuller enjoyment of salvation?

Shrine of the Dormition of Our Lady, Sion Abbey, Jerusalem. © 2013, Allen Morris