Rosary Crusade Clarion
Devotional bulletin of the Rosary Crusade in Canada

August 2001 Issue #8

Dogma of the Assumption

Defined by Pope Pius XII, Nov. 1, 1950.   Munificentissimus Deus.

"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter
and "Paul, and by Our own authority, We pronounce, declare and define it
to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the
ever Virgin Mary, having  completed the course of her earthly life, was
assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

“Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call
into doubt that which We have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.”


Our Lady of Fatima


In the fourth glorious mystery we contemplate how Mary, some years after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, departed this life and was carried up by angels to heaven.  It is a certainty of tradition that our Lady endured death, in imitation of her divine Son, and it is an infallible dogma, in this age proclaimed by Pope Pius XII, that our Blessed Lady was assumed into heaven, as most Catholics have long believed. We celebrate the feast of the Assumption on August 15.

The death of Mary was peaceful and full of consolation, because her life had been all holy. Her body, virginally chaste and the throne of Eternal Wisdom, was not to remain in the tomb. The triumph of Mary would have been imperfect, had it been accomplished without her flesh which was, as it were, the very source of her glory; Christ was of that same flesh.

Our death will not be like hers, for our sins will be then a subject of alarm. But if we abandon our sins, and consecrate ourselves to the service of Mary, then our good Mother will comfort us in that terrifying moment, as she has done already for so many of her faithful servants. Let us place ourselves under her protection, with the firm purpose to amend our lives, and let us ask her now to assist us, sinners, in the hour of our death.

United to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,
Emanuel Herkel
Fr. E. Herkel


The Death and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin,
True Devotion to Mary

We know nothing positive concerning the death of the most Holy Virgin; tradition says that the Apostles were assembled around her at the moment she quitted this earth; and it is a pious belief, admitted by the Fathers of the Church, and to which all the truly faithful subscribe, that the sole cause of Mary's death was the ardent love that made her long continually for heaven. We cannot for a moment suppose that the Immaculate Queen of heaven and earth, who was exempt from original sin, ever had any of the sicknesses or diseases that are the consequence and punishment of sin. Yes: the death of Mary was the springing forth of the soul to her well-beloved Son. There is also a tradition which is in harmony with all our sentiments of piety, that the body of the most pure Virgin was taken to heaven by angels, and that the Apostles having gone to visit the tomb, found only flowers which exhaled a delicious perfume, - an image of the celestial purity and sweet virtues of the Queen of heaven.

The festival of the Assumption is in honour of the triumph of Mary over death, and of her glorious entrance into heaven, where Jesus received her with love and placed in her hands the scepter of pardon and clemency. She is then all powerful in heaven, not like God, who alone and of Himself is Sovereign Master of all things, but by the permission of God who wishes her to be our mediatrix with Him, and who in heaven refuses nothing to her whom on earth He obeyed.


We may then, have recourse to Mary with confidence, and we should rely upon her power and goodness; but is there no fear of abusing the devotion to the Blessed Virgin? There is none, if our confidence is as enlightened as it is great; but there is, if our confidence is ignorant and presumptuous. Our confidence is enlightened and Christian-like if we have recourse to Mary as the charitable Mother of the Redeemer, who receives our prayers to present them to her Son, if we remember that she loves and assists even sinners, but that she has a horror of sin, and that all her efforts are to destroy it in order to procure the greater glory of God.  Our devotion to Mary is agreeable to God and beneficial to ourselves if we ask her assistance to overcome our evil inclinations, to resist temptations, and to preserve the grace of God, or to recover it if we have had the misfortune to lose it.

Could we in fact say that we love the Blessed Virgin if we did not try to imitate her? Could we call her Mother if we were to live habitually committing sins which she detests? That would be to have an ignorant and presumptuous devotion to Mary. She is, it is true, the Refuge of Sinners; she proffers them assistance, obtains for them, when they sincerely wish it, pardon from her Son and strength to return to Him. But Mary, the most holy of God's creatures, does not protect sin, and would regard with indignation those who would wish to make a rampart of her Name, behind which they would imagine they could deliver themselves up with impunity to the depraved desires of their heart and offend her divine Son. No, it is not enough to call ourselves servants of Mary; we must before all be servants of God, or at least have a sincere desire to be His true servants, and imitators of Mary in spirit and truth.

It is not rare to hear Christians say: I have prayed to the Blessed Virgin with all my heart, and even burnt a taper before her altar, and yet I have not obtained what I asked for. What must we conclude? Certainly not that the Blessed Virgin is less powerful and less willing to help us; but we must accuse ourselves, for on examination we shall find that either we have prayed without faith, or with presumption, or that our heart was badly disposed, or that we limited our devotion to some exterior acts and to some words hastily uttered without our heart having anything to do with the prayer.

1st.  Lack of faith is frequently an obstacle to the success of our petitions. We do not rely on the omnipotence of God, nor on the credit of the Blessed Virgin with her Son. Our prayers are made without hope, without a firm confidence, we are languid, indifferent, perhaps discouraged downhearted.  Such prayers cannot be heard.

2nd. Our prayers are sometimes indiscreet and presumptuous. Do we not sometimes ask for graces which may not be conducive to our salvation? We frequently and ardently ask her to bless our crops, to give us an abundant harvest. It is right for us to do so; but if in making this prayer we commit sin, as working on Sunday, our prayers do not deserve to be heard. Do we not also see Christians who ask to be delivered from sin without, at the same time, avoiding dangerous occasions of sin Such Christians resemble a man who would cast himself in the fire and ask the Blessed Virgin not to allow him to burn. Mary never listens to such prayers.

3rd. We often pray with badly disposed hearts: not only have we sin in our heart but we have no desire to expel it. We ask the Blessed Virgin to cure our maladies, to help us in our poverty, but we keep in our hearts the malady of sin, - we care not for the riches of grace. The Blessed Virgin is truly willing to aid us in our bodily wants, but she desires also that we think seriously of curing our spiritual maladies, and if we wish to remain in sin, she will turn away from us.

4th. Finally, we think sometimes that to obtain what we ask for, it suffices to kneel before the altar of Mary and there hurriedly recite with our lips a few prayers, without thinking of what we are saying, without respect, without attention, without fervor.  That is not the way we ask for what we really desire.  No, - let us ask her with filial confidence, with holy fervor, a humble desire to be worthy of her protection; then we shall be sure of being heard, provided what we ask for be conducive to our salvation, for the Blessed Virgin knows far better than we what is beneficial, and often instead of granting what we ask, gives us a greater grace, which we frequently do not appreciate. Let us remember that when we ask for temporal favors we must always do so in perfect submission to the Divine Will. The prayer of Jesus in the Garden should be the model of ours: "My God, if it be possible (this chalice pass * * * but not will, but Thine, be done."

The saints have all left us the example of a devotion to Mary, both tender and enlightened. Their greatest care was to serve and imitate her. These examples are so numerous that it would require volumes to relate them: let us select a few. St. Stanislas from his earliest years took the Blessed Virgin for his Mother; he had always in his hand some picture of the Blessed Virgin, or the beads or some book written to honour her, and advised all he met to consecrate themselves to her service.

St. Teresa having when only twelve years old lost her mother, prostrated herself at the feet of the Blessed Virgin and besought her to be her Mother and receive her as a daughter.  She was always assisted by-Mary in her great undertakings; and to testify her gratitude as well as her confidence she gave to the Blessed Mother the keys of all the monasteries she founded, and made her the first superior.

All the saints, in fact, have regarded the Blessed Virgin as their Mother, but all, also, endeavored to imitate her, knowing well that that is the best way of pleasing her and of obtaining her protection.

From Ave Maria May 23, 1868


Prayer to our Lady of the Assumption
By Pope Pius XII. Nov. /. 1950. address in st. Peter's Square

O Immaculate Virgin. Mother of God and Mother of men, we believe with all the fervor of our faith in Thy triumphal Assumption both in body and in soul into heaven where Thou are acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of saints; we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted Thee above all other pure creatures and to offer Thee the tribute of our devotion and our love.

We know that Thy gaze, which on earth watched over the humble and suffering humanity of Jesus, in heaven is filled with the vision of that humanity glorified and with the vision of uncreated Wisdom, and that the joy of Thy soul in the direct contemplation of the adorable Trinity causes Thy heart to throb with overwhelming tenderness; and we, poor sinners whose body weighs down the flight of the soul, beg Thee to purify our hearts so that while we remain below, we may learn to see God and God alone in the beauties of His creatures.

We trust that Thy merciful eyes may deign to gaze down upon our miseries and anguish, upon our struggles and our weaknesses; that Thy countenance may smile upon our joys and our victories; that Thou may hear the voice of Jesus saying to Thee of each one of us, as He once said to Thee of His Beloved Disciple: "Behold Thy son," and we who call upon Thee as our Mother, we, like John, take Thee as the guide, strength and consolation of our mortal life.

We are inspired by the certainty that Thy eyes, which wept over the earth crimsoned by the blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world racked by wars and persecutions, the oppression of the just and the weak.  From the shadows of this vale of tears, we seek in Thee heavenly assistance, tender mercy, comfort for our aching hearts, and help in the trials of Church and country.

We believe finally that in the glory where Thou reign, clothed with the sun and crowned with stars, Thou are, after Jesus, the joy and gladness of all the angels and the saints, and from this earth, over which we tread as pilgrims, comforted by our faith in the future resurrection, we look to Thee our life, our sweetness, our hope; draw us onward with the sweetness of Thy voice, so that one day, after our exile, Thou may show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of Thy womb.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.