Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Holy Day, without Obligation in 2020

Saturday, August 15, 2020, Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, August 15, 2020. This is a Holy Day, but without Obligation in 2020. This Feast honors the day when Our Blessed Mother was assumed into Heaven, Body and Soul, giving us a glimpse of the eternal rest for which we pray. Only one Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 am.

First reflection: the importance of Our Blessed Mother in prayer.  How did the prayer develop?  Early in church history monks and priests wore 150 beads around their waist and tied them in a knot on the left side to represent where Knights carried their sword.  On these beads they recited the 150 Psalms which they memorized.  This was their spiritual sword.  The common lay person could not do this, so they said the “Angelic Psalter” which was the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel: “Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.”  And the inspired greeting of Elizabeth (the mother of St. John the Baptist) at the Visitation: “Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”  They added the Holy Name, Jesus.

In 1208, St. Dominic was fighting a heresy which denied so many Catholic teachings.  Our Blessed Mother appeared to him and said, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?  I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament.  Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”  She then told St. Dominic to divide the 150 “Hail Mary’s” into groups of ten with the Our Father.  She then told him to teach the fifteen mysteries of the rosary which we now call the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.  These were the truths of the faith that were being denied at the time.

Second reflection: St. Louis de Montfort said, “Just as the real thing is more important than its prefiguration, and as the body is more than its shadow, in the same way the Psalter of Our Lady (the rosary) is greater than David’s Psalter which did no more than prefigure it (the rosary).

Third reflection: How did the prayer get expanded as we know it?  One hundred years later (1346), the Plague struck Europe.  25 million people died on the continent: almost on third of the population.  This is when people added, “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.” 

In conclusion: What mother does not want the same for her sons and daughters, or even something better than she has?  This Solemnity of the Assumption teaches us what our spiritual mother wants for us.