Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our Lady on Saturday: The Ongoing Work of the Assumption

St. Amadeus of Lausanne was educated at Cluny and, like so many other young noblemen, fell under the spell of St. Bernard and entered Clairvaux, eventually becoming Abbot of Illautcombe in 1139 and Bishop of Lausanne in 1144. His sermons remain classics of devotion to the Mother of God.

In his Seventh Homily on the Blessed Virgin Mary, he speaks of the Blessed Mother's ongoing work of intercession in heaven, saying that the Assumption was not the completion of her work or only a reward for her exemplary life, but that she was raised up so that she could pray all the more effectively for the living and the dead

When the Virgin of virgins was led by God and his Son, the King of kings, amid angels triumphant, archangels rejoicing, and heaven resounding with praises, then was fulfilled the prophecy of David, who said to the Lord: "the Queen stood on your right hand in a vesture of gold, wrought about with diverse colours." Then, according to the word of Solomon:" Daughters have risen up and called her blessed and queens have praised her." "Who is she", says the heavenly virtues, "who ascends in white, leaning upon her beloved?" And again: "Who is she who goes forth like the rising dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun?" Again they say, " Who is she who goes up through the desert like a column of smoke from the perfumes of myrrh and incense and all the powders of the perfumers?" That splendour is for us strange and wondrous, strange and glorious, this plan of her Assumption; strange and pleasing, this most sweet odor.

Escorted amid such praises, she herself could not refrain from praising, for she saw the Son of God, born of her, sitting on the right hand of his Father's majesty, receiving her with glory. "You have held," she says, "my right hand, and have led me according to your will, and so received me with glory." And again: " He is at my right hand lest I be moved. Therefore, my heart has rejoiced and my tongue has exulted. Still more my flesh shall rest in hope. Since you did not abandon me in the world, nor did you suffer your Mother's body to see corruption."

Votive lamps at the Tomb of the Virgin in Jerusalem.
But why do I linger over these things? To sum up much in a few words, there was with the Most Glorious Lady, a word simple yet complex, a word understandable, containing all the words of praise with which she herself honoured the Lord and Son with unutterable praise. 

Exalted therefore with cries of exultation and praise, she is placed on her throne of glory first after God, and above all the company of heaven. There, having taken again the substance of her flesh, since it is not lawful to believe that her body saw corruption and clothed with a double robe, she looks upon God and man in his two natures with a gaze clearer than all others, inasmuch as it is more burning than all, with the eyes of her soul and body.

Then, coming down to the human race in ineffable charity and turning upon us those eyes of pity with which heaven is brightened, she lifts her prayer alike for the clergy and the people, for the living and for the departed. Here from heaven is the Glorious Virgin most powerful in prayer, driving away every hurtful thing and bestowing all that is good, and she grants to all who pray to her from the heart her protection for this present life and for that which is to come.

For remembering for what purpose she was made the Mother of the Redeemer, most willingly she gathers up the sinner's prayers and pleads with her Son for all the guilt of those who are penitent. Surely she will gain what she wishes, the dear Mother through whose chaste womb the word of God came to us, the sin offering for the world, to wash away with his own precious blood the bond of original sin, even Jesus Christ, Our lord, who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.