1. Neither human nor angelic tongue, says St. Epiphanius, can describe the honour and triumph with which Mary was welcomed in heaven on the glorious day of her Assumption. This alone can be said: that there never was and never shall be a greater, after the glory and triumph of her Son. No created mind, St. Bernard states, can grasp with what glory the Blessed Virgin entered into heaven, with what devotion she was welcomed by all the choirs of Angels, with what pleasure and delight she was received and embraced by her divine Son.
Consider therefore, my soul, how the Angels, after the Redemption had taken place, longed to have in heaven in body and soul both the God-Man and his Mother. And now the desire of the heavenly inhabitants is fulfilled.
As the Lord had wanted the Ark of the Testament to be introduced into the city of David with great glory, so now with an even nobler and glorious triumph he ordered his Mother to enter into heaven. The King of heaven himself, St. Bernardine tells us, went to meet her with all his heavenly court, and thus surpassed the glory of his own Ascension.
Consider how, shining with joy and splendour, he invited her saying: “Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon!” (Song 4:8). And Mary, fairer than all other creatures altogether, rises from earth, crosses the spheres and arrives at the throne of the Most Holy Trinity. And the Angels, upon seeing her so beautiful and glorious, ask: “Who can this creature be who comes from the wilderness of the earth, a place of thorns and tribulations, so pure and rich in virtue, leaning on her beloved Lord?” “Who is she?” The Angels accompanying her reply: “This woman is the Mother of our King, she is our Queen, the blessed among women, full of grace, the saintliest of the saints, the beloved of God, the Immaculate, the dove, the fairest of all creatures.” Hear then the canticle of all the blessed Spirits who praise her: “You are the exaltation of Jerusalem, you are the great glory of Israel, you are the great pride of our nation!” (Jud 15:9).
St. Bernard contemplates that as on earth there was no place or temple worthier of God than the virginal womb of Mary, so in heaven there is no throne higher than the regal throne upon which she was placed by her Son. He placed her at his right hand, above all the choirs of Angels, to make as it were a separate choir with his humanity. He associated her to himself as his Mother, his Bride, the Co-Redeemer, his Collaborator in the Redemption of the world, and as Queen of the universe.
O glorious and blessed Virgin, I rejoice and am glad with you for the great glory you enjoy in paradise, seated at the right hand of your Son and established as Queen of Heaven and earth. O dear Virgin, the whole universe, by believing in your divine Son and in the true Church, acknowledges you as Mother and Queen, and rejoices that in you it has such a gracious Mother at God’s side, and such a great, loving and powerful Queen.
2. Now consider, my soul, how the Most Holy Trinity crowns Mary with the most precious crown. The Eternal Father places the crown of power on her head, granting to her, after Jesus Christ, dominion over all the creatures of heaven and earth and hell, so that the Spirits of darkness tremble at her name. To her, therefore, the words of the Psalmist can be applied: You have crowned her, O Lord, with glory and honour; you have placed her above all the works of your hands (cf. Psalm 8:6-7). The Son encircles her head with a crown of wisdom, as the Queen of heaven, of the Angels and of man redeemed by his blood; and the fruit of redemption he places in her hands. As the Queen of clemency he gives her the keys of divine Mercy. The Holy Spirit adorns her with a crown of charity and, as the Mother of beautiful Love, infuses her with God’s love as well as a burning love for her fellow creatures, and ardent zeal for their well-being and salvation. Behold her, therefore, become the wonder and admiration of the angelic hierarchy.
Moreover, the Virgin was crowned with the wreaths of virginity, martyrdom and learning, for she was the Virgin of virgins, a martyr in the passion of her divine Son and a teacher of our religion, instructing the teachers themselves in the mysteries of the faith.
Finally Our Lady was crowned with the crown of twelve stars, as it is written in Apocalypse: “A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Ap 12:1). For just as the greatness and virtues of all the orders of Saints who are in heaven were united in her, so she was crowned with all their merits, represented by the twelve stars. There shone in her to the highest degree the faith and hope of the Patriarchs, the light and contemplation of the Prophets, the charity and zeal of the Apostles, the fortitude and magnanimity of the Martyrs, the patience and penance of the confessors, the wisdom and prudence of the doctors, the holiness and purity of the priests, the solitude and prayer of the hermits, the poverty and obedience of the monks, the charity and purity of the virgins, the humility and patience of the widows, with the fidelity and the harmony of the married Saints. And by them she was recognised as their Queen.
My soul, who can ever imagine the angelic symphonies, the melodies and canticles of the blessed Regions in praising God and the Queen of mercy? The great Virgin sits at the right hand of her Son, and seems to be saying to all generations: “The Lord has regarded the humility of his handmaiden, and has been pleased to let the riches of his grace shine in me. Therefore, come to me all of you who in this valley of tears and sorrow are oppressed and afflicted, I shall relieve you, for God has made me the cause of your joy.”
Yes, my adored Mother, I come in answer to your call. I am oppressed by the weight of my faults, I am prostrate, weighed down by the chains of sin. Yet great is my hope, O Queen, that you will deliver me! O my Mother taken up into heaven, reigning in body and soul in blessed glory; I believe you as such, and love and revere you. O Mary, send your light to illuminate the darkness of my spirit which lies buried in the gloom of bitter night. Let the rays burning in your holy love penetrate me, to kindle this lukewarm heart of mine with virtue, zeal and fervour. O divine Mother, do not allow my soul to perish in darkness. Surly I deserve every misfortune and punishment for my sins; yet, interposing your merits before Jesus, let your goodness deliver me from the punishments I deserve and obtain for me the favours I deserve not.
3. Behold, my soul, how all the saints of paradise come to greet her as Queen, from Adam and Eve to the Patriarchs, Noah, Abraham, and Jacob, and the Prophets and holy Virgins. “The maidens saw her and called her happy; the queens also, and they praised her” (cf. Song 6:9).
Then followed the martyrs and the confessors, her relatives, Elizabeth, Zechariah and the Baptist, her parents, Joachim and Anne, and her purest spouse, Joseph. Who can express the joy of all these, and their words of gladness and consolation? My soul, join your voice with the blessed choirs, as they exclaim:
Hail, O Queen of heaven,
Hail, O Queen of Angels;
Hail, sacred root, hail, O gate
whence light was born to the world.
Rejoice, O glorious Virgin,
the fairest of all,
and pray thy Jesus for us.
Now, if the human mind cannot comprehend the immense glory God has prepared in heaven for those who have loved him, who shall ever comprehend, notes St. Bernard, the glory He prepared for his beloved Mother, who on earth loved him more than all humans and Angels together?
Finally, Mary wishes us to contemplate in this last mystery not her glory alone, but also the glory of all the Angels and the Saints, as the glory of her vassals which is likewise unto her honour. This contemplation shall prompt us to do as the Saints did, to acquire glory.
Therefore consider, my soul: from heaven Mary invites you to contemplate in this mystery the glory of the Saints alongside her own; that glory which has been made ready for you too, to encourage you to begin and continue the path of virtue with perseverance. Thus the great Mother will always keep you in her company in the blessed kingdom. Then look towards paradise, and let the vision of so many Saints who were once weak and tempted like you, but by the grace of the Lord and through Mary’s intercession have now obtained this everlasting bliss, be an encouragement and comfort to you. Resolve therefore to do everything possible, to omit nothing, that may lead you to this infinite good: to live and reign with Jesus and Mary for ever.
If you are wanting in virtues, seek them from Mary on this day of her glorious triumph: especially, ask her for perseverance in her love, which is a sure pledge of predestination to glory.
Remember what Saint Alphonsus says: “He who is persevering in devotion to Mary, particularly in her Rosary, shall obtain final perseverance.” For as St. Augustine teaches us, final Perseverance is not a virtue one can acquire, but a gift granted to one as the reward of assiduous prayers. And what prayers are more efficacious than those which Mary addresses to her Son on our behalf?
O great and most glorious Lady, prostrate at the foot of your throne my soul venerates you from this valley of tears. Now that you are already enthroned as Queen of heaven and earth, do not forget me, your poor servant. Being so close to the source of graces, you can more easily furnish us with them. From heaven you see my miseries better, and so must have pity on me. Make me your faithful servant here on earth, that I may come to bless you in paradise. Today, as I contemplate you as Queen of the Universe, I consecrate myself to your service. In the midst of so much joy add to my consolation by accepting me as your son. You therefore are my Mother, and as Mother must save me. On this last of the Saturdays consecrated to you, grant me your love and everlasting devotion to your holy Rosary, and obtain for me final perseverance.
With you too I now rejoice, O blessed spirits and saints of paradise, because of the glory and unspeakable bliss you enjoy in God and with God. I too am destined to the same blessed glory, but shall never arrive if not with your virtues. Therefore, O angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, hermits and all you saints, pray to your Queen for me, that through her mediation I become worthy of one day joining you in contemplating my God, and may glorify and bless Him, with Her, for ever and ever. Amen.
VIRTUE – Perseverance in devotion to Mary.
REFLECTION – Kneel today before an image of Mary and, declaring that you wish to be her faithful servant for all your life, offer her your thoughts, affections, works and entire being. Promise that you shall never neglect reciting at least five decades of her Rosary. Ask for her love and perseverance in your devotion to her for the rest of your life. Blessed are you if you arrive to reciting the fifteen decades of her holy Rosary every day: Mary has promised final Perseverance for the daily reciting of the Rosary.
Invite every soul to the devotion of Mary, distribute rosaries and advise the practice of the Fifteen Saturdays. If you want Most Holy Mary to come and assist you at the hour of death, always trust in her goodness, and love her as your Mother.
EJACULATION – O Mary, Queen of the angels and of the saints, You are the Queen of my heart.
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A FAVOUR OF THE VIRGIN OF THE ROSARY OF POMPEII
GIOVANNI ROMINGER: A Swiss Protestant is converted through the Virgin of Pompeii and dies on the evening of the last of the Fifteen Saturdays.
The rev. priest Nicolo Gori, the Assistant Parish Priest of the Cathedral of Volterra, wrote the following report which was published in the magazine Il Rosario e la Nuova Pompei.
“Mr. Giovanni Rominger of Silvapiana in Switzerland had been living in Volterra for many years, and had taken Ferdinanda Redaelli as his wife.
He was not strongly against Catholicism as so many Protestants are; on the contrary, following the example of his wife, he felt some devotion to the Immaculate Virgin and to the Blessed Souls of Purgatory. However, he could not bring himself to forsake his own religion because he was too little instructed in the Catholic faith, and especially because he noticed that this faith was not even being particularly observed by Catholics themselves; indeed it was often mocked and derided by these very Catholics. The morning of October 4th of the year 1888 came, three days before the great feast of the Rosary. Mrs. Radaelli came to the bedside of her sick husband, and with loving care reminded him of his decision made at another time, to become Catholic. But he said,
“I am indifferent, regarding both Catholicism and Protestantism. Both are good in order for one to be saved.”
Upon hearing such a reply this devoted woman did not become discouraged; rather, concerned to save the soul of this man she dearly loved, she had a Mass celebrated. And full of trust in the help of the miraculous Virgin of the Valley of Pompeii, she took a small image sent to her by that Shrine, and showing it to the sick man, said,
“Look, this is the image of that miraculous Virgin of the Rosary, who by means of her miracles has involved the whole world in building a Temple for her in the Valley of Pompeii.”
And she read that part of the Novena to him which is attached to the Image.
Afterwards she placed the Image under her husband’s head, and went into the next room. Her heart torn by pain and her eyes turned towards heaven, she cried:
“Most Holy Mary, who pour out so many graces from Pompeii, grant me this favour: that my husband be converted! I do not ask this of you through my merits, because I have nothing but my sins, but through the merits of your Son who came into the world to save us all. Grant me this consolation: save my husband.”
Having said this prayer, she knelt down and began reciting the holy Rosary. Then, strengthened by a strong hope, she returned to the bedside of the sick man and asked him,
“Giovanni, do you want to become Catholic?”
“Yes, call the Bishop for me,” the dying man exclaimed all of a sudden: “I want to be baptized a Catholic.”
Ferdinanda, overwhelmed by joy, informed him that the Bishop was not necessary for one to be baptized; the Parish Priest would do. And so I was sent for.
I immediately went to Mr. Rominger and in few words explained to him the falseness of the Protestants’ principal errors. Seeing that he was already convinced, but was desirous of further instruction, I promised him we would continue as soon as he was better. Meanwhile, in the presence of two witnesses, I had him renounce his errors and profess the Catholic faith. Then according to the regulations of the Roman Rite I baptized him.
So great was the joy felt by the sick man that with true contrition he exclaimed:
“Oh, how happy I now am!”
He then asked for the small Image of Our Lady of Pompeii which Ferdinanda had placed under his head: he kissed it over and over again and placed it upon his heart, from where he would often hold it up.
On the following day, the 5th of October, a Friday, the sacraments of Penitence and Confirmation were administered to him. And on Saturday, the eve of the great feast of the Virgin of Pompeii, and the last of the Fifteen Saturdays consecrated by the devotees in her honour, Giovanni Rominger was united to Jesus Christ through holy Communion, and cancelled any remaining traces of sin with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.
That Saturday so dear to the devotees of Mary was drawing to a close. Three hours before midnight, that solemn hour which, beginning the great day of Mary, is sanctified in the Shrine of Pompeii with hymns and songs to the Queen of the Rosary, the soul of Giovanni Rominger, cleansed by the baptismal waters, flew to heaven to sing unto eternity the compassion of God and the glory of his Most Holy Mother, who had obtained for him the grace of conversion and of everlasting bliss.
FR. NICOLO GORI
Assistant Parish Priest
of the Cathedral of Volterra.”
A Friend of Blessed Bartolo Longo