August is the month traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To increase devotion and reliance on Our Lady, the church provides special opportunities in the upcoming weeks to honor Mary and reflect upon her profound influence within daily life.
On Aug. 15, the church celebrates the Assumption, a holy day of obligation, which recalls the culmination of Our Lady’s earthly life and her subsequent entrance into heaven, body and soul. This feast is held in high honor because it highlights Mary’s participation in Christ’s death and resurrection and prefigures the fullness of eternal life to come for all the faithful.
Mary’s Assumption also reveals her detachment from earthly concerns and provides encouragement for those suffering or struggling in everyday life. From Our Lady, the church learns to let go of burdensome worries and entrust everything to the care of the Heavenly Father. This mystery reveals a fundamental aspect of His love – those who throw themselves into His arms and trust in Him completely will be received with mercy and carried up to heaven.
While belief in the Assumption of Mary has existed since the early centuries of Christianity, it became official church teaching in 1950 when Pope Pius XII declared it an infallible dogma and essential principle of the Catholic faith.
The Queenship of Mary
Following the Assumption, the church will celebrate another great feast of Our Lady, the memorial of the Queenship of Mary. Observed on Aug. 22, this occasion recalls the Blessed Mother’s being crowned queen of Heaven and Earth as she now reigns with her son in everlasting splendor. Biblically, the teaching of Mary’s queenship has its roots in the Book of Revelation, which depicts a cosmic struggle between good and evil with eternal consequences. In honoring and revering Mary as queen, the church acknowledges her as the most perfect model and intercessor in the battle against Satan, sin and death.
While the Queenship of Mary is not a holy day of obligation, it is an opportunity to spend time meditating on Our Lady’s maternal protection and heavenly triumph. The octave connecting these two great Marian feasts, especially during this centennial year of Our Lady of Fatima, is also a perfect time to pray the rosary, to reflect upon the mysteries of the Assumption and the Coronation, and to ask for Mary’s intercession to live virtuously and courageously in the midst of a broken world.
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