A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,and the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars (Entrance Antiphon).

Today’s glorious Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption celebrates the dogma of the faith solemnly defined by the Venerable Pope Pius XII during the Holy Year of 1950. It is the supreme crown of her privileges – to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendour at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages (Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus). Today we celebrate the glory of our Mother in the order of grace. Yes, it is true that we are poor banished children of Eve, but more importantly by grace we are children of Mary; and this fact should be for us a source of hope and consolation as we walk our own pilgrimage through life amidst the persecutions of the world and consolations of God.

At times it seems that humanity is on a march to human extinction. This was certainly the case in the first half of the twentieth century with its two world wars. The latter part of that century and our present times are no better as we contend with what Pope John Paul II called the culture of death. What do we say of the events of the last year and a half, as a medical dictatorship evolves into a tyranny affecting almost every aspect of our lives? Respice stellam, voca Mariam! Look to the star, call upon Mary! These are words from a sermon of St. Bernard of Clairvaux: If the storms of temptation arise, if you crash against the rocks of tribulations, look to the star, call upon Mary. If you are tossed about on the waves of pride, of ambition, of slander, of hostility, look to the star, call upon Mary … if you begin to be swallowed up by the abyss of depression and despair, think of Mary! In dangers, in anxiety, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary … When you are terrified by judgement or in despair, think of Mary. If she holds you, you will not fall, if she protects you, you need not fear. Our Lady is our guide and safe haven in life…now and – perhaps most especially, at the hour of our death.

Praise the Lord

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