Sunday, August 16, 2009

a neglected vigil

The 15th of August, of course, is an important Marian feast. Some churches call it by the somewhat vague (and christologically wishy washy sounding) "Mary Mother of our Lord." Some call it the feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin. Some, most famously the Roman Catholics, call this feast the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, a usage not unknown in Lutheran churches. To do so does not dogmatize Mary's assumption. Nor, I hasten to add, are Mary's dormition and assumption antithetical. They are not really in competition.

More on these points some other time. But for now I thought I'd point out that this feast has its own vigil day leading up to the feast. Let me share a few of the propers from that vigil mass, as it was celebrated at Saint Stephen's, Milwaukee, this past Friday.

From the first lesson (Sirach 24)
As the vine brought I forth pleasant savour, and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope.

The Gradual
Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary, who, without spot, wast found the Mother of the Savior. Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world containeth not, being made man, shut Himself in thy womb. Alleluia, alleluia. Mother of God, the life that had been lost was given us through thee, who didst receive thine offspring from heaven, and dist bring forth a Savior unto the world. Alleluia.

The Gospel (Luke 11)
At that time: As Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

The Offertory
Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Creator of all things; thou didst bring forth Him Who made thee, and remaineth forever a virgin.

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