In Rubens' depiction of the Assumption of Mary, a choir of angels lifts her in a spiraling motion toward a burst of divine light. Around her tomb are gathered 11 apostles (according to the legend that tells that Thomas was absent) - some with their arms raised in awe; others reaching to touch her discarded shroud. The women in the painting are thought to be Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary's two sisters. A kneeling woman holds a flower, referring to the lilies that miraculously filled the empty coffin.
Words © Wikipedia. Cover Image: The Assumption of Mary, Rubens ©Wikipedia
THE ASSUMPTION of MARY
August 15, 2023
Pope Francis said that “Mary’s Assumption is a great mystery that concerns each one of us; it concerns our future. Mary, in fact, precedes all those that, through Baptism, have bound their life to Jesus, as Mary bound her life to Him. That one of us dwells in the flesh in Heaven gives us hope: we understand that we are precious, destined to rise again. God does not allow our bodies to vanish into nothing. With God, nothing is lost… It is beautiful to think that the humblest and loftiest creature in history, the first to win heaven with her entire being, in soul and body, lived out her life for the most part within the domestic walls, she lived out her life in the ordinary, in humility.”
Belief in the Assumption of Mary is documented in apocryphal eastern texts from as early as the 3rd century and it has developed over the centuries in both scriptural exegesis and theological doctrine. While the Assumption emphasises Mary's freedom from corruption of sin, it may also yield extreme significance for our own humanity and our eternal perceptions of the human body; a sanctified identity made in the image and likeness of God. It could be argued that Mary's assumption is central to unknotting the confusions surrounding human identity so pertinent to our present culture, especially in our lack of understanding of the human body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and as an image made by God to be kept undefiled.
Partly in celebration of Our Lady of the Assumption on August 15th, we invite you to journey through the historical art of the Assumption by viewing the PHOTO STORY. In addition to the regular weekday Mass times there will be a 7.15am Mass at St James’s that day as well as an 11am Mass according to the 1962 Missal. The choir will also be singing at the 6pm Mass on this feast day.
You may read more about the life of the Mother of Christ in The Virgin Mary: Woman, Mother, Queen Exhibition at the Niguliste Museum - Art Museum of Estonia Foundation.