Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Diary of St. Faustina...Staying with Jesus in every moment

+ 485  I accept joy or suffering, praise or humiliation with the same disposition. I remember that one and the other are passing. What does it matter to me what people say about me? I have long ago given up everything that concerns my person. My name is host-or sacrifice, not in words but in deeds, in the emptying of myself and in becoming like You on the Cross, O good Jesus, my Master! 

+ 486  Jesus, when You come to me in Holy Communion, You who together with the Father and the Holy Spirit have deigned to dwell in the little heaven of my heart, I try to keep You company throughout the day, I do not leave You alone for even a moment. Although I am in the company of other people or with our wards, my heart is always united to Him. When I am asleep I offer Him every beat of my heart; when I awaken I immerse myself in Him without saying a word. When I awaken I adore the Holy Trinity for a short while and thank God for having deigned to give me yet another day, that the mystery of the incarnation of His Son may once more be repeated in me, and that once again His sorrowful Passion may unfold before my eyes. I then try to make it easier for Jesus to pass through me to other souls. I go everywhere with Jesus; His presence accompanies me everywhere. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Origin and History of the Feast Day of the Assumption of Our Lady

Although probably not unknown in the early Church, the earliest references to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary appear in the 4th (or possibly late 3rd) century in 
Liber Requiei Mariae  (The Book of Mary's Repose), and in the writings of a Bishop Meliton. Some of the Church Fathers believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) was assumed while still alive, others that she was assumed after she had died. Both views are permitted under the infallible definition of Pius XII. St. John of Damascus (d. AD 755) relates a tradition where, during the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), the emperor Marcian and his wife wished to find the body of Mary. He tells how all the apostles had seen her death, but her tomb was empty upon inspection.

Festivals commemorating the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary were common from the 5th century onwards, although the exact dates were never universally fixed. In AD 556 the patriarch of Alexandria, Theodosius, attests to two popular Marian feasts in Egypt: Mary's death (January 16) and Assumption (August 9). Theodosius understood Mary to have died before being assumed, and according to the feast dates in Egypt at the time, she was assumed 206 days after her death. In AD 600, the emperor Mauricius decreed that the Assumption was to be celebrated on August 15. Soon, the Church in Ireland adopted this date, and it was later introduced in Rome. As the cult of Mary grew in the West, there was more pressure for the Catholic Church to define the exact nature of the Assumption. Pope Pius did this in 1950, in terms that are still rather general, and can be accepted by Western Catholics, Eastern Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox (See the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church for more information).

The Orthodox Church teaches that the Virgin Mary died a fully human death before being assumed, and celebrates the feast accordingly. According to various traditions known in the East, St. Thomas was not around when Mary passed away, just as he was absent when Jesus was raised from the dead. Because he was three days late to Mary's funeral, he requested to see Mary's body. However, when her tomb was opened, her body was not found. This is not viewed as a resurrection like her Son's, but as the first fruits of our own bodily resurrection. In one of the most complicated of Christian Hymns (utilizing all 8 tones) the Orthodox are shown the story of her journeying to heaven as her funeral procession. The apostles act as her pall-bearers. As she arrives in heaven, she is the first given the task of all the glorified saints, that of praying for us to her Son and our Lord. As a part of the interior mysteries of the Orthodox Church, the Assumption is not a point of dogma or debate, yet it is a commonly accepted belief among Orthodox Christians. Even as the faithful bury the Theotokos and see her translated to a life of intercession, we are reminded that it is through her that the Word was made flesh (many thanks to Steven Clark for this information).

Protestants have generally rejected the Assumption of Mary theologically and devotionally, probably because it is not explicitly biblical. Many Reformation denominations (like Anglicanism and Lutheranism) have set aside August 15th as a day commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary, although without the explicit context of the Assumption. However, the Assumption of Mary is an ancient belief certainly fitting the honor of the one chosen to bear the Son of God. This dogma is solidly within the biblical tradition of holy and unique individuals being taken bodily to heaven (like Elijah and Enoch). She who is "Mother of the Lord," "full of grace," and whom "all generations shall call blessed" is certainly worthy of this honor. Church Father John of Damascus describes the importance of celebrating the Assumption quite well:
Let us then also keep the solemn [Assumption] feast today to honour the joyful departure of God's Mother...Thus, recognizing God's Mother in this Virgin, we celebrate her falling asleep, not proclaiming her as God - far be from us these heathen fables - since we are announcing her death, but recognizing her as the Mother of the Incarnate God...Let us honour her in nocturnal vigil; let us delight in her purity of soul and body, for she next to God surpasses all in purity...Let us show our love for her by compassion and kindness towards the poor...Let our souls rejoice in the Ark of God...With Gabriel, the great archangel, let us exclaim, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Hail, inexhaustible ocean of grace. Hail, sole refuge in grief. Hail, cure of hearts. Hail, through whom death is expelled and life is installed" (Sermon II: On the Assumption).

Diary of St. Faustina....Poem to Our Lady

O Mary, Immaculate Virgin
Pure crystal for my heart,
You are my strength, O sturdy anchor !
You are the weak heart's shield and protection

Mary you are pure, of purity incomparable;
At once both Virgin and Mother,
You are beautiful as the sun, without blemish,
And your soul is beyond all comparison.
Your beauty has delighted the eye of the Thrice-Holy One.
He descended from heaven, leaving His eternal throne,
And took Body and Blood of your heart
And for nine months lay hidden in a Virgin's Heart.
O Mother, Virgin, purest of all lilies,
Your heart was Jesus' first tabernacle on earth.
Only because no humility was deeper than yours
Were you raised above the choirs of Angels and above all Saints.
O Mary, my sweet Mother,
I give you my soul, my body and my poor heart.
Be the guardian of my life,
Especially at the hour of death, in the final strife." (Diary, 161)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Remember St. Maximilian Kolbe today...August 14th who died in Auschwitz

Diary of St. Faustina...Sufferings united with Jesus and talking to Him our Creator

+ 801 Today, I still managed to pay a short visit to the Lord [in the Eucharist] before going to bed. My spirit was immersed in Him as in its only treasure. My heart rested a while near the Heart of my Spouse. I received light as to how I should behave toward those around me, and then I returned to my solitude. The doctor is taking good care of me; all those around me are very kind to me. 

+ 802 December 10, [1936]. I got up earlier today and made my meditation before Holy Mass. Holy Mass is at six o'clock here. After Holy Communion my spirit was drowned in the Lord as in the sole object of its love. I felt absorbed by His omnipotence. When I came back to my private room, I felt sick and had to lie down at once. The sister [150] brought me some medication, but I felt bad all day. In the evening, I tried to make a Holy Hour, but I could not do so; all I could do was unite myself with the suffering Jesus. 

+ 803 My room is next to the men's ward. I didn't know that men were such chatterboxes. From morning till late at night, there is talk about various subjects. The women's ward is much quieter. It is women who are always blamed for this; but I have had occasion to be convinced that the opposite is true. It is very difficult for me to concentrate on my prayer in the midst of these jokes and this laughter. They do not disturb me when the grace of God takes complete possession of me, because then I do not know what is going on around me. 

+ 804 My Jesus, how little these people talk about You. They talk about everything but You, Jesus. And if they talk so little [about You], it is quite probable that they do not think about You at all. The whole world interests them; but about You, their Creator, there is silence. Jesus, I am sad to see this great indifference and ingratitude of creatures. O my Jesus, I want to love You for them and to make atonement to You, by my love.