Medieval calendars quite often inform us that the Sun is in the constellation Virgo on August 15. I wonder if it has ever been suggested that this astronomical fact has anything to do with the selection of that day to celebrate our Lady's Assumption.
May I comment on one or two observations attached to Sunday's post? I do this randomly ...
I feel - I hope this isn't offensive - that the American Anglican collect for August 15 is a rather sad example of modern Anglican collect writing: a couple of banalities shoved together, and all the time a sense that the writer is looking over his shoulder in the hope of not seeming too "extreme". I prefer Pius XII's collect ... in fact, the main reason why I'm not more enthusiastic about the pian composition is simply that the collect it replaced is, in my view, quite exquisite. And I don't feel, as one writer did, that Pius XII's is a 'slap in the face' because I do of course subscribe to its dogma. In fact, I don't see how anybody whose affections are excited by the old collect Veneranda, and by the teaching of S John Damascene, and the explicitness of the Byzantine Liturgy about the glorification of Mary's wholeness, can dislike the Pius XII collect for doctrinal reasons. My own hesitations about features the 1950 definition relate not to what it said, to which I very cheerfully subscribe ex animo, but (1) to what, by not saying, it appeared to imply could be forgotten - such as the edifying legends which informed piety and art in East and West for centuries and about which John Henry Newman spoke sympathetically; and (2) to the fact of our Lady's mediation of all graces. This was clearer in the older traditions of East and West, but in the West has more recently been overshadowed by preoccupation with the idea, true in itself, that the Assumption is the logical consequence of her preservation from all sin. Mary, in History, mediated all graces to humankind by giving birth to the Redeemer; her Assumption means that what she was in History she is ontologically and for all eternity. In her, function and ontology are made one. I would feel more cheerful about the 1951 liturgical texts if they could be supplemented by a definition of our Lady as Mediatrix of All Graces. It could be phrased in the elegant Greek of S Gregory Palamas! And May 31 could be given to the Universal Church to celebrate this truth.
Judith ... my instinct is that Judith has commonly been a type of Mary. Considering the enthusiasm which typology has for spreading its cloak over everything it can reach, it would be mighty strange if she hadn't. I rather thing S Thomas Aquinas said something about it, and that in some Byzantine iconographical schemnes Judith, together with Esther and other obvious candidates, is associated with Mary.
I am grateful for all the contributions to that post.