Reflections for the Feastday
Christopher O’Donnell, O.Carm. 2003
In the Church before Vatican II (1962-1965) it was very difficult to have a chalice blessed. It required a bishop who consecrated the chalice and the paten by use of the most sacred of the holy oils, chrism – the same oil that is used in confirmation. Nowadays people think much more of the use to which the chalice and paten are put: they contain the Body and Blood of the Lord. Once they have been used for Mass, they are sacred vessels. The body and blood of the Lord consecrates far more profoundly than chrism, even with a bishop.
If the sacred vessels are thus made irrevocably holy by their sacred use, what can be the holiness of the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who bore the Second Person of the Trinity for nine months? She is surely as perfectly holy as a creature can be through being Mother of God.
It is this thought of the holiness of Mary that helps us to grasp something of the mystery of the Assumption. This doctrine has been held by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of the East and West for some 1500 years. Even earlier we find traces of the dogma in various legends about Mary’s Passing, called in the East her Dormition (“Falling Asleep”).
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