If the South is to be saved, she must be made worthy of saving. We cannot rely solely upon the laurels won by our ancestors, but we ourselves must store up goods and virtues for our own time. The South’s past is a glorious one not without its faults, but we in the present age may, through our own suffering and love, make her even greater than she was at her zenith. Only through the intercession of God and His Saints would such a feat be accomplished and Dixie once again rise with grace and glory. And Queen among His Saints, and the greatest and most necessary intercessor, is Christ’s own Mother, Mary.
Today is the feast of the Assumption, a noble celebration marking the day the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken both spiritually and physically into Heaven, there to contemplate forever the face of Her Beloved Son. Though Our Lady possesses many feasts throughout the year, this is a particularly triumphant occasion.
Tradition holds that Our Lady, out of all humanity, suffered most in unison with Christ. While many others exist who experienced grave physical, mental, and spiritual torment, Our Lady alone can lay claim to an agony in union with Her Son. As St Simeon told Her, “[T]hy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed” (Douay-Challoner, Gospel of St Luke, 2:33-35).
It was this woman who undid the sin of Eve, turning the disobedience of all mankind back into a perfect accord with God. It is she who utters the famed “fiat,” allowing God to enter into Her and form the God-man in the womb, the Saviour of all mankind. It was She who first heard and heralded the word of God from the Angel Gabriel, and the first to comprehend the Divine act of love which God was working. She is the first Christian and the first New Creation.
Today, after the trials of the Passion, we witness the triumphant ascending of Our Lady into Heaven, an act so wondrous that Elijah’s taking up could only be seen as a foretelling of this particular event. The Assumption is perfectly suited to the dignity of the Mother of God, as St Damascene explained in the Eighth Century:
“It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.” Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, para. 21.
This privileged position in the Salvific History of mankind makes Mother Mary a succouring figure to those in need, one without whom we could not enter Heaven. Hers is the voice of Heaven – Hers is the love of God.
Might we all adopt the heartfelt prayer of Father Ryan, as he spoke in his immeasurable “Feast of the Assumption: A Night Prayer”
Mary! I call! Wilt hear the Prayer
My poor lips dare!
Yea! be to all,–a Queen most fair,
Crown, sceptre bear!
But look on me with a Mother’s eyes
From Heaven’s bliss;–
And waft to me from the starry skies
A mother’s kiss!