Rorate Caeli

A Great Sign: may the Queen of Heaven help us become burning dwelling places of the Most High

Michiel Coxie
Death and Assumption of the Virgin (detail, with St. John kneeling), c. 1550
Museo del Prado

The glory of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is preceded by the silence that must have dominated her intimate circle at the moment of her departure from this earth. For Saint John, in particular, it must have been an indescribable moment, as he realized that the Mother of his Lord, who had become his own Mother by direct divine order from the Cross, would leave him, and would become the Queen of Heaven. In the quaint image by Michiel Coxie above, the remarkable detail of a barefooted John recalls the special relationship he had with the new Eve: at once, one of intimacy as a son who shared an abode with his mother, but also showing the respect owed to the Mother of the Savior. As Moses in Sinai, the Evangelist was on holy ground - the burning bush has repeatedly been seen by the Church, including in several of her traditional liturgical rites, as a sign of the Queen of Heaven.

The power of the Regina in caelum assumpta, the new and eternal burning dwelling place, would manifest itself frequently in the history of the Church, as Pope John Paul II recalled in Fatima - where her message was, as always, one of penance, prayer, reparation, and love for God in silence and actions:

According to the divine plan, "a woman clothed with the sun" (Rv 12: 1) came down from heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father. She speaks to them with a mother's voice and heart:  she asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that she was ready to lead them safely to God. And behold, they see a light shining from her maternal hands which penetrates them inwardly, so that they feel immersed in God just as - they explain - a person sees himself in a mirror.

Later Francisco, one of the three privileged children, exclaimed:  "We were burning in that light which is God and we were not consumed. What is God like? It is impossible to say. In fact we will never be able to tell people". God:  a light that burns without consuming. Moses had the same experience when he saw God in the burning bush; he heard God say that he was concerned about the slavery of his people and had decided to deliver them through him:  "I will be with you" (cf. Ex 3: 2-12). Those who welcome this presence become the dwelling-place and, consequently, a "burning bush" of the Most High. 

What most impressed and entirely absorbed Bl. Francisco was God in that immense light which penetrated the inmost depths of the three children. But God told only Francisco "how sad" he was, as he said. One night his father heard him sobbing and asked him why he was crying; his son answered:  "I was thinking of Jesus who is so sad because of the sins that are committed against him". He was motivated by one desire - so expressive of how children think - "to console Jesus and make him happy".

A transformation takes place in his life, one we could call radical:  a transformation certainly uncommon for children of his age. He devotes himself to an intense spiritual life, expressed in assiduous and fervent prayer, and attains a true form of mystical union with the Lord. This spurs him to a progressive purification of the spirit through the renunciation of his own pleasures and even of innocent childhood games.

Francisco bore without complaining the great sufferings caused by the illness from which he died. It all seemed to him so little to console Jesus:  he died with a smile on his lips. Little Francisco had a great desire to atone for the offences of sinners by striving to be good and by offering his sacrifices and prayers.
John Paul II 
May 13, 2000 

 [Recess for several days.]


jb said...

I wonder how it happened. Was it in the twinkling of an eye, or was it somehow observable.

MKT said...

According to one Tradition,Our Blessed Mother was Assumed into Heaven unbeknownst to the APostles. However, it was the Apostle Thomas, the one who declared to the Resurrected Lord that unless he sees he would not believe, who was given the grace to be the sole witness of Our Lady's Assumption - since he witnessed it, it appears the event was more akin to when the Apostles with the Divine Mother assisted at the Lord's Ascension into Heaven.

So that later on, once the rest of the Apostles enquired as to where Her Body was, it was Thomas "the doubter" who confirmed the glorious truth to them ensuring its inclusion in the Divine and Apostolic Tradition of Holy Church.

I am not sure whether this account is the only one. There seem to be some debate around the city from which Our Lady assumed into Heaven. Some say Ephesus (in modern day Turkey) and others that Our Lady was miraculously transported to Jerusalem from Ephesus and then was Assumed from Jerusalem. Either way, this Tradition seems pious and worthy of belief.

I am very touched that the memory of Our Immaculate Queen has been threaded into Her appearance to the Fatima children. Thank you for that NC.

Our Lady of Fatima was called by Pope Paul VI a fulfillment of the prophecy in APocalypse 12:1 "A great sign appeared in Heaven". And is preceded by St John in Apoc 11:19 with a vision of the Heavenly Ark, which was also Mary's title among the early Fathers.

The great hope is enumerated later on in that Chapter in Apoc 12:17 where it shows this Woman providing refuge to Her children, the ones who believe in Her Divine Son Jesus, and warding away the terrible dragon. For all that terrible dragon's power to destroy men, he is absolutely terrified of the Woman who crushes his ugly head.

May She devastatingly crush that head of his this year, and restore Her Son's Church, which is also Her own, granting us the graces of a single strong force for Sacred Tradition behind the Vicar of Christ on earth so that the modernistic minions who gnaw away at her bark hoping to destroy the indestructible may be dissipated like smoke from a lit candle.

Remember O Most Gracious Virgin that never was it known that anyone who implored your help, sought your refuge or implored your intercession was left unaided. Filled with confidence we fly to you O Queen of Heaven - whisper it to your Divine Son and save us your miserable children here on earth.

Jerome said...

As we joyfully celebrate the great feast of Assumption, I would like to share with you all this extract from a movie which contains tuly wonderful color footage of Pope Pius XIl. The pontiff can be seen entering Saint Peter on the sedia for a public audience.!

But all the credit goes tp the French catholic blog Riposte Catholique that first mentioned it