Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies


For this week's meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Collect for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15). This Collect is identical in both forms of the Mass (MR 1962 and MR 1970). Below is the official ICEL translation of this Collect in the third typical edition of the Roman Missal (2010):

"Almighty ever-living God, who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of Your Son, body and soul into heavenly glory, grant, we pray, that, always attentive to the things that are above, we may merit to be sharers of her glory. Through our Lord."

Broken down into its five-part structure, the Collect looks like this:

1. Almighty ever-living God (address),
2. Who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of Your Son, body and soul into heavenly glory (ascription),
3. Grant, we pray, that we may merit to be sharers of her glory (petition),
4. Always attentive to the things that are above (motive for the petition)
5. Through our Lord, etc. (concluding doxological formula).

Re-fashioned into a syllogism, we may interpret the Collect like this: 

A) If God has already fulfilled Christ's promises of eternal life and bodily resurrection for Mary,
B) And if, like Mary, we direct everything in our lives towards the life of heaven,
C) Then God will give us the grace to attain, with her , the glory that Christ promises to His faithful. 

When we consider the Assumption of Our Lady, the Church leads us to consider the Resurrection of Christ, for the former depends upon the latter (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 964, 966, 970). Today's Feast, therefore, is a source of great joy and hope, because Our Lady already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection. Her Assumption is a motive of credibility for our bodily resurrection, a truth professed in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.

In view of this, today's Collect also leads us to reflect on the "Four Last Things" (Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell), and how we are living life now in view of these things. Our souls can take nothing beyond death except sanctifying grace, and we will face "the awesome judgment seat of Christ," in the words of the Byzantine Liturgy. There, we will receive the merits of our deeds (cf. Rom. 14:10, 2 Cor. 5:10, Gal. 6:7-9).

In view of this, let us consider the wisdom offered in the following Scripture: "And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him" (Heb. 9:27-28). Just as we profess bodily resurrection in the Creeds, so too, we profess Jesus' Second Coming, when He will "save those who are eagerly waiting for Him." Christ will grant His faithful what He has already granted his Mother: bodily resurrection.

This verse seems especially fitting for Our Lady's Feast today, for the last clause matches the motive clause for our Collect: being "always attentive to the things that are above" (ad superna semper intenti). With the help of Stelton's Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin, we could also translate this clause in today's Collect in the following way: "always waiting eagerly for the things that are above," matching the RSV translation of Heb. 9:28. Our Lady eagerly awaited the joy of heaven, because she loved and desired God above all else. Her perfect love made her fit to receive the life of heaven and the glory of the resurrection. May she, who is "full of grace," grant us the grace to wait eagerly for Christ's gifts of eternal life and bodily resurrection in glory. 

(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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