Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


The Immaculate Conception of Mary was decreed by Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854. The feast, however, had been celebrated since the 8th century. Christ chose his Mother and applied to her beforehand the merits of his redemption to keep her free from sin, so that when she would conceive him in her womb, no sin could ever come in contact with him who is the Son of God. Since the baby in the womb takes in the blood of the mother, then Mary must be without sin, otherwise, Jesus in her womb would be contaminated by sin; thus the need that the Mother, Mary, must be without sin.

          The Assumption is the culmination of what started at the Immaculate Conception. This Dogma was decreed by Pius XII on Nov 1, 1950 in a document called “Munificentissimus Deus”, but the feast was already celebrated in Jerusalem as the Dormition of Mary since the 5th century. In the West it was named Assumption of Mary.

                First, we celebrate the fact that the mortal remains of the Blessed Mother were preserved from corruption. Second, we also celebrate her triumph over death and her heavenly glorification when she is now likened to her Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, Mary has conquered death like her Son Jesus and is assumed body and soul to the glory of heaven. She is now seated as Queen of heaven with her Son the Eternal King.

          She who at the birth of her Son was preserved intact in her virginity also ought to be preserved from all corruption of the body after death. She who carried in her womb the Creator who becomes her baby, ought to dwell body and soul in the heavenly mansion. She who was preserved from pain at the birth of her Son, but who at the foot of the cross was pierced by the sword of sorrow as she watched her Son suffer and die, surely she ought to contemplate her Son in glory at the right hand of the Father. It is only right and just that the Mother of God should possess what pertains to her Son, that she should be honored by all creatures as Mother of God.

          We are today presented with the story of the Visitation. Jesus is only a few days old in Mary’s womb. Mary is like the Ark of the Covenant, carrying not the tablet of the commandments, but the Creator himself through whom all things were made. He is now in her womb as Redeemer of his creation. As Mary travels from Galilee to Judea, the Creator-Redeemer travels along with her, traversing his creation and bringing redemption. As we put Mary in our midst, she brings to us our Creator-Redeemer.

          Mary did not glorify herself. At every turn she threw back the glory to God: “He has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” She submitted herself as servant: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.” God in turn glorified her and made her share in the glory of her Son.

          Let us now turn to St. Ezekiel Moreno. In one of the few sermons he preached in his town, Ezekiel tearfully recalled his childhood days “when I could barely babble”, when holding his father’s hand, he would frequent the parish church to sing the Holy Rosary. Since then the Lady of the Rosary became one of his favorite titles. On the day of his religious profession he put himself under her patronage. In Las Pinas, one of his favorite assignments, he established the confraternity of the Rosary, and introduced the dawn Rosary, and thereafter unceasingly spread its recitation among the faithful. He preached about it, he recommended it in his pastoral letters and circulars. He loved to pray it with the people and set an hour for it in his daily schedule, from which he excused himself only very rarely. St. Ezekiel loved the manifestations of popular piety. Occasionally, he would feel the need to join the people and sing with them the glories of our Lady. In Monteagudo, he enjoyed the Mayflower devotion, a practice which he carried to America. In Bogota, year after year, he preached at the cathedral on the feast of our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which was the most popular feast of the city. In Pasto, he participated in pilgrimages to Marian shrines, gave new splendor to the devotion in the basilica of Our Lady of Mercy, the “governess” of his diocese; and he set the foundation of a new basilica in honor of our Lady of Las Lajas. His books, pastoral letters, lectures and sermons –extant are 13 sermons of Marian theme- and even his personal letters were sprinkled with Marian yearnings. He tirelessly recommended to those under his spiritual direction to take refuge “in that good mother; grasp her hand firmly and love her much, by serving her most Holy Son in humility and with great desire for perfection.” Far from her “you won’t become perfect nor attain sanctity, since her most Holy Son Jesus Christ our Lord has ordained that all graces should pass through her blessed hands.”

          St. Ezekiel’s remembrance of Mary always accompanied that of her Son. The Heart of Jesus led him to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Crucified Son to the Sorrowful Mother, and the God-Child to the Immaculate Virgin-Mother, which was another of his favorite devotions. Mary and the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Eucharist always walk hand in hand. Mary is the lily of the valleys, the Eucharist is the fruit-laden tree. (Angel Cuesta: “Devotion to Mary among the saints of the Order.”)

          On this important feast of our Mother, let us resolve to imitate her. Let us be humble and in every way seek to fulfill the will of God our Father, our Creator, our Redeemer and Healer, so that we too may share in Mary’s glory. As Mother of the Church and our Mother, we look up to her in admiration and praise. We also look to her in petition that she lead us to Jesus her Son. Amen.-0-


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Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR

Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR

Priest/Religious/Bible Professor of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.