I went to Mass yesterday morning (Wednesday) and here are a few of the million things that passed through my head:
- I wonder where that guy I saw yesterday is sitting. (Shift body angle to look around)
- Who is sitting behind me? He was an accent or something going on.
- I hope the priest kneels when he gets the already consecrated Body of Christ… oh good. he did. I hate when they don’t do that.
- Where do all these old women buy their coats?
- I should have brought my Rosary.
- Yes, I’m definitely going grocery shopping this afternoon. And I need a new can opener.
- And lighters. And some candles. I love candles.
- Did I turn the heat down before I left my apartment?
- I wonder how long my cat is going to be clingy at the new place.
- Don’t think about him (as I think about my ex-boyfriend).
- It’s like I want to date an old man or something (because I want someone who is financially responsible and courteous).
- My grandpa is a great man.
- I forgot to send my grandma a birthday card! Yikes! Today is her birthday!
- I really want to bake some bread (part of my 28 in 28 list) today… but I’m on that diet.
- What are these clip things for on the back of the pews?
1. “Jesus, I trust in you.”
2. Fill your life with people and experiences.
3. Go to Mass!
4. Avoid thinking about the break up and trying to figure out what went wrong.
5. Don’t jump back into the dating game.
In case you aren’t aware, tomorrow, Aug. 15, 2013, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Yes, that’s a Holy Day of Obligation.
What’s it all about, anyway?
In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote Munificentissimus Deus, defining the Dogma of the Assumption.
It’s really the go-to guide for this feast.
Pope Pius XII said, “Since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege.”
This isn’t something new that Pope Pius XII thought would be a great idea. Cool! Let’s make a new feast day for Mary and make it a Holy Day of Obligation!
No, this has been a tradition in the Church throughout the world since “ancient times.” When the Church talks about “ancient times,” you know it’s pretty serious.
Pope Pius XII continued, “The fact that holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which ‘the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes.'”
There are even traditions that most (read: me) Catholics don’t follow… a fast before the feast day? What a great idea! I wish we hadn’t given that up. I may try that today (Wednesday). Except… usually, I fast breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner. I should work on that and what a great time to start.
There’s more from Pope Pius XII:
“The Holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ’s faithful.”
ALREADY KNOWN by Christ’s faithful. It was already in our (Catholics) corporate knowledge. It was just something that made sense to us. Of course. Mary’s body was not corrupted. She was just lifted up into Heaven. This makes perfect sense.
Pope Pius XII explains exactly what we know in our hearts.
“She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not the subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.”
Now, if you haven’t got to that part about the bodily assumption of all humans… go check out your copy of the Catechism. That’s right. We aren’t going to be angels. We’re going to be humans, perfected in Heaven. We’ll be near Christ in our human bodies, in the same way Mary is now.
Just like not bearing sin, she’s the the forerunner. She does it before us (and with us, of course). You can’t get any closer to Christ than Mary is. She’s there, walking in his footsteps. She walks so close behind her rabbi, she’s covered in the dust from his sandals.
Let me break down this quote.
ENTIRELY UNIQUE – she’s the only one that not only had an Immulate Conception, was chosen (AND ACCEPTED) and was taken up to Heaven. The only one. She’s special.
NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW – that’s right, those biological laws. she wasn’t subject to them. She didn’t have to die. God spared her from that, because she, too, sacrificed her only son.
END OF TIME FOR REDEMPTION – the rest of us have to wait until Christ returns. and oh, what a wait. Mary didn’t have to wait. She didn’t have to be away from Jesus.
Pope Pius XII said, “The august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes.”
I had to look up august in this sense. It means marked by majestic dignity. Is there any better way to describe Mary? Majestic dignity.
St. Robert Bellarmine said, “And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the though that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”
St. Peter Canisius, the Vatican’s secret agent, said, “This teaching (of the Assumption) has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary’s body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic.”
WOW. St. Peter Canisius thinks this doctrine of Mary’s Assumption is pretty serious stuff.
And we should, too.
Pope Pius XII tells us, “Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God’s law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, WE MUST BELIEVE (emphasis mine) that he really acted in this way.”
Now, Mary sits “in splendor at the right hand of her Son,” Pope Pius XII said.
Wait, the right side? So Jesus is in between Mary and God. Interesting.
It’s like… A HOLY FAMILY. Wow.
I’ll let you know how my fast goes… if it goes. Maybe I’ll give up coffee.
Yes. I’ll start with abstaining from coffee. And add on.
Check out other learn something posts:
Holy Days of obligation…. the Catholic Church seems to be the only one (among so many others) that has Holy Days of Obligation.
We have feasts, solemnities, memorials…
Which of these are obligatory?
Well, the most important is Sunday.
Every Sunday is a Holy Day of obligation.
Here’s what the Catechism says.
2192 “Sunday … is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.”
1389 “The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.”
There you go. That’s the end of that, right?
No. Nice try.
2177 “The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life.”
This is so important it’s one of the PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH.
The first precept: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.”
According to the Catechism, there are five precepts, though just a quick search of the Internet shows some think there are more. (The Church really doesn’t demand much from us.)
Alright, so Sunday, get to it. Go to Mass. Easy.
What about these Holy Days they speak of?
These days vary in the different Rites and by country.
In the United States, it even varies by diocese.
According to EWTN, beside Sunday (every Sunday), the Holy Days of obligation in the U.S. are:
1) January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
2) Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
3) August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
4) November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
5) December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
6) December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The Canon lists 10 for the universal Church, including the six above plus:
The Epiphany, Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, St. Joseph and Sts. Peter and Paul.
(I was at Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ by accident… a nice accident. I didn’t even look at my Catholic calendar and just went to Mass that day.)
Anyway, in Hawaii, the only Holy Days are the Nativity (Christmas) and the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Interesting, but local rule by Bishops and conference is another topic.
If any of the Holy Days occur on a Saturday or a Monday, they are typically transferred to the following or preceding Sunday (so you don’t have to go two days in a row).
I have a few saints I depend on for prayer and help regularly, and I like to go to Mass on their memorial days. It’s another, special chance to say thank you for their hard work on my behalf.
I know St. Joseph was behind me finding my current job. St. Matthias is constantly coming up on my petitions. My guardian angel as well, during the feast of the guardian angels.
There are all sorts of Marian holidays and celebrations all over the calendar. Depending on your priest, he may choose to celebrate those memorials on selected weekdays or the major memorials.
I think if you’re close with your priest, you can ask and he’d oblige you.
These days all start to mean something with a serious Catholic calendar (that you look at!). But all the dates can be found online as well.
Check out earlier Learn something posts: