15 August 2009

Assumpta est

The Western Church regards the old apocryphal stories of the death, burial, and Assumption of our Lady with suspicion; as being rather dubious and politically incorrect. Indeed, they are not canonical Scripture. But our ignorance of them means that we can see a medieval alabaster, or mural, of the Assumption - or a Byzantine ikon - and not have the faintest idea what some of the details refer to. I suggest that we revisit these stories, even if only to enrich our capacities in the field of Art History! Frankly, we should immerse ourselves in the Tradition.

Google your way to (ps) Joseph of Arimathea The Passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I am toying with the idea of blessing fragrant flowers during our Assumption Mass and placing them before our Lady. Brownie points if you can suss why the Tradition suggests that to me! And more brownie points for good suggestions - from the Tradition - of other ways to mark this great festival!


Joshua said...

I attended the Greek Liturgy to-day, and was highly amused to note a very un-P.C. detail on the festal icon, all bedecked with flowers: an angel holding a sword, next to a man with his hands chopped off! The icon even had blood drops painted on.

The reference is to the account of the burial of Our Lady: a certain Jew attempted to upset the bier, whereupon his hands fell off... having confessed that Holy Mary is Mother of God, he both found the true Faith and had his hands reattached into the bargain.

William Tighe said...

Doubting Thomas, demanding to see her most blessed body; the tomb opened for him, and found to be full of flowers.

Pastor in Valle said...

Dear Father: I made the suggestion myself on your own blog: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8940364093450837549&postID=8149297107051543274
I claim brownie points!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

We were all given blessed flowers at the Liturgy this morning, to remember the sweet fragrance in our Lady's tomb when it was opened so that the latecomer Thomas could venerate the earthly remains of the Theotokos (but of course her body was no longer there, having been translated to heaven).
It was a lovely service.
A Blessed Feast to all !

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Thanks, all. Pastor: sorry not to acknowledge. I did wonder who might come up with ...

[On the hill-top opposite your window, in the Minster of the Assumption and S Nicolas, there's a splendid new chaplain; since you are both right-thinking people, I hope you get on ...]

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Try telling that to Fr. Z:


The combox is even worse, although it gets a lot better towards the end.

"That the Blessed Virgin Mary suffered death before she was bodily assumed into heaven is NOT an infallible, dogmatic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church..."

Doesn't he realize that such a statement effectively makes a lie out of the sacred liturgy?

By the way, I think that Pope Pius XII avoided explicitly stating that the Virgin Mary died because at that time, the immortalist position was very strong, and I recall reading essays from the 1950's suggesting that at the time this thesis was well on its way to dominating Roman Catholic Mariology. Derailing the immortalist position was probably one of the unintended but good side-effects of Vatican II. (Just shows what scholasticism divorced from sacred liturgy can do...)

Pastor in Valle said...

Dear Father: why not give him my email address? I'd like to meet him.
I was in the chapel the other day, showing it to some visiting Spanish clergy and was struck again at how utterly magnificent and beautiful it is.