Thursday, August 15, 2013

Assumption of Our Lady 2013: Dixit Dominus


Vespers of Our Lady begins with the first Psalm of Sunday, the Dixit Dominus. Again, we see the unbreakable link between the Blessed Virgin and Our Lord. The two cannot be separated, even liturgically. Sunday is the day of Resurrection and the Assumption of Our Lady is reflected in that Resurrection. Our Lady is carried up to Heaven by the power of angels, following her son who ascends through the power of God.

We see here, our destiny in Our Lady. Just as Our Lord divested himself of His Divine power and is re-clothed as the King of Heaven, so Our Lady is given a new dress to wear as she is clothed with her incorruptible body and crowned as Queen Mother of Heaven.

The Dixit Dominus is the psalm that Our Lord demonstrates that the Son of Man surpasses King David:
And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.  (St Mark xii.35-37)
If Jesus surpasses David, and truly honours His mother in obedience to God's Commandments, then He must recognise her as the queen of Heaven because He recognises Himself as King. This is why it is so very reasonable and right to honour Mary with hyperdulia, that unique veneration due to her unique standing in all of Creation. If the Lord honours her, so must we. Likewise if we honour her, then we cannot but honour her son for that is her dearest wish. Ikons of Our Lady always point away from her to her beloved Son and our beloved Saviour. She does not wish to be worshipped but she must accept herself as Queen of Heaven, for her son is the king.

The Psalm itself has rather violent content. Enemies are made footstools, heads are broken, the place is strewn with dead bodies. How can this suit the meekness and humility of Our Lord or Our Lady? The Psalm of course comes from the tales of the great conquests of Israel before its fall to successive powers and empires. Yet, our Lord references it directly. His great conquests are over Evil, Death and Hell and it is clear that His very presence destroys evil. Where Perfect Good is, there can be no evil whatsoever. Any being that takes its life and existence from evil must perish at the presence of God, without exception. Our Lady too, by virtue of the peculiar grace bestowed upon her by Her Son, is a formidable opponent of all that is Evil, just by being herself.

The Psalm speaks of Christ's eternal priesthood following the pattern of the enigmatic Melchisedec whose name literally means "King of Peace". Even though Our Lady has no priesthood, she is the Mother of Priests, for as just as a priest is transfigured by Our Lord in the Mass by participating in this High Priesthood, so the Blessed Virgin becomes the mother of that priest. Every priest, therefore, has a unique relationship with Our Lady and her prayers support him in his ministry to make real the Divine Christ to a dark world. This is not to say that Our Lady prefers only priests, for her love, like her son's reaches out to all people. It is to say that, since we all present ourselves as individuals to God, we receive grace that is peculiar to ourselves. The charism of a priest receives grace peculiar to that charism.

Our Lady is not the source of her Assumption; she receives it at the hands of her son. In receiving this she points the way for us too. While we may not be assumed into Heaven, Our Lady does show us that we have a God who is willing to honour His commitments and promises to us. She points to a faithful God who wills that we should find life with Him. She points to the Love of God for each of us. Catholics do not worship Mary: they rest assured that in seeing the Blessed Virgin, they know that Christ is near and His Salvation will follow.

1 comment:

Father Ed Bakker said...

A beautiful piece of music and an interesting comment.

Father Ed Bakker