Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saint Mary the Virgin

Today's feast day is celebrated in some places as a day to honor Mary in general, and in other places it is a more specific celebration of the Assumption, the day when Mary was taken up bodily (or 'assumed') into heaven.  That story does not appear in the New Testament, but grew out of accounts dating from the fourth century.

Today's anonymous hymn text comes from a Roman Catholic collection titled English and Latin Hymns (1884).  These two stanzas, part of a longer hymn, depict the fourth and fifth of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, Mary's Assumption and Coronation in Heaven.

Behold her open grave, adorned
With blossoms fair and bright,
And friends who mourned for Mary stand
Enraptured with the sight.
They find her earthly body gone, 
Sweet roses in its place,
Assumed on high she leaves this world
And God will grant her grace.

To welcome Mary, queen of saints,
See countless angels throng,
Their glad 'Hail Mary!' rends the skies,
An anthem loud and long.
See, Jesus crowns his mother dear
With rays of dazzling light,
As saints and angels kneel and sing
That maiden Mother's might.

Anonymous, 19th cent.; alt.
C.H.H. Parry, 1904

P.S. The art above is detail from Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Annibale Carracci, circa 1600.

Seven Years Ago: Ye who claim the faith of Jesus

Six Years Ago: Hail, holy Queen!

Five Years Ago: Sing, sing, ye angel bands

Four Years Ago: Virgin born, we bow before thee

Three Years Ago: Let today above all other

Two Years Ago:  Hail, Queen of heav'n, the ocean star

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