Thursday, 14 August 2008

Vigil of the Assumption

Today is the Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Traditionally of course, vigils were days of fasting and abstinence in preparation for the great feasts (the quid pro quo is tht tomorrow being a Solemnity, you can eat meat...), and the Assumption is one of the big ones.

Its octave is, alas, one of the victims of the 1962 calendar reforms, but at least the Vigil remains (albeit rarely celebrated with an evening mass!), and the feast day itself is still a Holy Day of Obligation in Australia.

Pious tradition relates that around 49 AD all of the Apostles returned to Jerusalem from their missions to be present with Our Lady for her last hours on earth. This can't be proved historically but Warren Carroll argues that it is historically possible and even probable - Acts, after all, confirms that Peter, John and James were in Jerusalem around this time when Paul completed his first missionary journey, and 'apostles' plural are mentioned several times in relation to the Council of Jerusalem that took place around this time.

So meditate today on that sad and happy gathering as we prepare for the feast of Our Lady's glorious Assumption.

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