15 August 2013

15 August - Assumption

Weather: On Saint Mary's Day, sunshine brings much good wine.

If the sun shines on Mary's day, that is a good token, and especially for wine.
[Heretofore I have entered that last word as ‘wind’ because that is the way I found it, but I do believe the typesetter of that book made an error; therefore I have changed it to wine.  Wind at this time of year is not a good token, too often taking the form of Category I or higher.  Of course, overindulgence in a good wine can make you feel like you’ve been through a Category 1 or higher.]

Rain on St. Lawrence is late but good            (August 10)
Rain on Assumption is also late but good     (August 15)
But if St. Bartholomew rains, slap him!         (August 29)
[once the harvest begins, we need dry weather.  A late rain can mildew the plants in both field and barn]

Farming and Gardening:
When Mary left us here below,
The Virgin's Bower begins to blow;

The Holy Queen of Heaven gives us the first nuts.

Hail! Holy Virgin mother, wedded Maid;
Blest Temple of the Trinity ador’d;
All Angels’ joy, meek Virtue’s Cypress shade,
Fountain of clemency, pure Spouse of God,
Lost pilgrims’ Loadstar on life’s troubled way;
Candle of heavenly unction, Patience’s Palm
Sweet light of morning, bright Star of the day,
Lamp of Devotion, wounded sinners’ Balm.
Chaplet of graces, Posy of our prayers,
Chastity’s Cedar, Humility’s fair cell,
Hope’s constant magnet, solace of our cares,
Vessel of comfort for Affliction’s dell,
Rose of sweet heavenly odors, Lily pure,
Beneath thy foster care we rest secure.
                                 Thomas Forster, Philosophia Musarum, 1845

Here we are again at the glorious high-summer festival in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Take herbs to be blessed at Mass today, or make an Assumption bouquet of flowers and herbs.  And chocolate was discovered today!  Huzzah!

Good wine and good chocolate and a beautiful summer’s day – doesn’t get much better than that.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, this was an important Feast, a Double of the 1st Class, with a Vigil (with its fast) fore and an Octave aft, and a Plenary indulgence attached.  Now it is a Solemnity, with all the accoutrements stripped away that might make Protestants even more nervous than they already are with this further evidence of Catholic Mariolotry (got to keep that ecumenism going!)

Okay, I am being facetious.  Over the years, several popes have decided to make things easier (you can say 'dumbing down' if you like - I do) and so instead of a truly awe-inspiring Feast, we now have something from the category, "oh-bother-not-another-holy-day-of-obligation-I-just-went-to-Mass-on-Sunday-I-have-other-things-to-do!".  Can't get much easier than that.

Artwork: “Assumption” from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 15th century. Morgan Library, New York.