July 2019 Print


Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin

by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (sermon given on August 15, 1979, St. Marys, Kansas)

 

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of Faith: “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 to heavenly glory.” The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians, and laity. There were few dissenting voices. What the pope solemnly declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church.
 
Assumption fresco, by Filippino Lippi, Church Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Carafa Chapel, Rome, 1488-1492 - Shutterstock.com

 

My dear brethren,

In a few words I would like to show you how much the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in this painful crisis that the Church is going through, should be our guide and our model. With her we are certain not to go astray. We shall look to her, we shall ask her what she did during the course of her life, what she has to teach us, and we shall see that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us just what the Church has taught us ever since, in the course of 20 centuries.

The first element that concerns the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and that announces her, is found in the protogospel, in Genesis, where already Mary is presented as a queen going forth to battle, as the queen of hosts, queen of armies who gathers about herself all the forces of God, all the graces of God, and this to fight. To fight whom? To fight what? To fight the devil!

It is God Himself who announces this to the devil: “I shall place between thee—the devil, Satan—and the Virgin Mary an enmity.” So the Virgin has an enemy. And not only an enmity between the Virgin Mary and Satan, but an enmity between the progeny of Satan and the progeny of Mary; between the world, between everything represented by those who are the children of Satan, ´╗┐between those who struggle against God, who detest God, and the Son of Mary, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all those who will be the children of the Virgin Mary.

There are then, by the will of God, two armies in the world: an army of the children of the Virgin Mary, and an army of the children of Satan. And between them, God has placed an enmity, an enmity that will last until the end of time, until the end of the world. Consequently, the Virgin Mary, already, before being born, promised by God, draws us into a combat, into her combat, into the combat that will lead her to victory. A combat, however, which, alas, will often be waged in painful, in difficult, and in trying periods. But if we follow the Virgin Mary we are sure with her to achieve victory.

This victory that the Virgin Mary desires is a victory against Satan and, consequently, against sin. The Virgin Mary is the symbol of those who do not want to sin, who do not want to disobey God. This is the battle that the Virgin Mary is going to wage through the ages. So it is a great lesson that God gives us in announcing the birth of His Mother, in announcing that we shall have a Mother, a heavenly Mother, a Mother who will do battle. So we shall do battle with her and we must do battle against the common enemy who is Satan, and all those who with Satan are against God.

Perhaps you have observed nowadays in modern ecclesiastical literature that they no longer want to talk about the enemies of the Church, they no longer want to talk about the enemies of God, the enemies of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They would like these enemies to become brothers. Instead of combatting sin in them, the sin that removes them from God, by loving them, by seeking to convert them, it now seems that those who believe in the Virgin Mary, that the children of the Virgin Mary and those who are not children of the Virgin Mary, are all brothers.

Well, this is not true. We must strive to bring them to become children of Mary, but we cannot recognize them as children of God if they are not children of Mary.

The second lesson that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us, when she was visited by the Angel Gabriel, is her faith. The first act noted for us in the Gospel on the occasion of the Annunciation is the faith of Mary. And her cousin Elizabeth congratulates her: “Beata quae credidisti: blessed art thou who hast believed.” Yes, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary believed. She believed in whom, in what? She believed that the Son who was to be born of her was the Son of God; she believed in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ; she believed in the divinity of her divine Son.

This is the great lesson that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us. Henceforth, she lives only for the reign of her Son, for the glory of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the greatest humility—she says herself that she was chosen because of her humility.

St. Elizabeth did not hesitate to praise her precisely for this: “Blessed art thou, O Mary, because thou hast believed.” This should also be our own first conviction: We must believe; we must believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We must believe all our Credo, the whole faith that the Most Blessed Virgin had transmitted, that the Most Blessed Virgin manifested to the apostles and that the apostles transmitted. We must keep this faith intact. Let us ask the Virgin Mary to have faith like hers—to have faith as deep, as firm, as courageous as that of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

The third event in the life of the Virgin Mary that shows us how we should behave is what took place at the wedding feast of Cana. You remember that they ran out of wine during the feast. The servants came to tell Mary that there was no more wine. And what did Mary tell the servants? “Do all that He tells you; do all that my divine Son tells you.” This is the Gospel of Mary. All is summarized in this phrase: “Do what Jesus tells you.”

Mary addresses these words to us as well, not only to the servants of Cana. At the very beginning of the period of evangelization of Our Lord, the Most Blessed Virgin is already speaking to us, is already speaking to those who will be the disciples of Our Lord. And when we appeal to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to ask her what we should do in the difficult circumstances of our lives, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary will answer us just as she answered the servants at the wedding feast of Cana: “Do all that He tells you. Do the will of Our Lord. Observe the commandments of Our Lord Jesus Christ. If you do the will of Our Lord, if you do the will of my divine Son, then you will be saved. Then your soul, which is perhaps like water, will be changed into wine, a generous wine. Your soul will be filled with the grace of the Lord. Your soul will be filled with all that is necessary for you to fulfill the commandments of God. This is the third lesson that our heavenly Mother gives us.

The fourth lesson that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us is her presence on Calvary. Her presence on Calvary, where she is not the priest who offers the sacrifice—the priest who offers the sacrifice is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself—but the Most Blessed Virgin Mary is there, present. The apostles are absent; only St. John is with her.

By this presence on Calvary, the Virgin Mary shows us the importance of the sacrifice of Calvary, and, consequently, the importance of the Sacrifice of the Mass. She is the Mother of priests. She is the Mother of all the faithful. And by this presence, standing before her divine Son, who is covered with blood, whose blood was poured forth for our sins, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary shows Him to us, and says to us, “See the love He has for you: my divine Son has given all His blood, this blood that I myself gave Him in my womb, this blood that is now all over His body. His heart is open. His head is pierced with thorns. His hands are pierced; His feet pierced—all that by love for you.” And this will continue until the end of time through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Thus the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us the great mystery of the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, realized in the sacrifice of Calvary, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the Eucharist. For the sacrifice of the Mass also gives us the Eucharist; this Flesh and Blood of the Victim that we must eat and drink to obtain eternal life. It is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said so; “If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have eternal life.” So Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished this unimaginable, the incredible miracle of really giving us His body and His blood to eat and drink. This is what the great love of Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished, and this is the lesson that the Virgin Mary gives us by her presence at the feet of her divine Son on Calvary.

Finally, the last lesson that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary gives us is that of her presence in the midst of the apostles the day of Pentecost. It is through her that the graces will be given to the apostles and that the Holy Ghost will descend upon them. The Church teaches us so. The apostles were sanctified on that day by the Holy Ghost through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, through her mediation.

She no longer needed to receive the Holy Ghost. She was filled with the Holy Ghost. The angel Gabriel had told her so: “Thou art filled with the Holy Ghost.” She no longer needed to receive Him. But if she was present, it is because she wanted to communicate the Holy Ghost to the apostles, and because Our Lord wanted Him to be communicated to them through her—to them and, consequently, to the Church. There she truly became the Mother of the Church, because it was she who by her mediation gave the Holy Ghost to the apostles.

So the Most Blessed Virgin teaches us to love the Church, to love the Holy Ghost—the Holy Ghost, who is given to us by all the sacraments instituted by Our Lord, and especially by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and by the Eucharist. This is what the Most Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us.

Therefore, we must be attached to the Church, and it is because we are attached to the Church that we defend our holy Mother the Church. The Roman Catholic Church is our mother. And it is because we are the devoted sons of the Church, because we love the Church, because we love Rome, because we love all those who truly represent the Holy Catholic Church, that we defend our Faith, that we defend what the Virgin Mary has given us.

We do not want them to change our Church. We want no other Church. We want the Roman Catholic Church, that which the Most Blessed Virgin Mary communicated to the apostles in the Holy Ghost. This is the Church that we want. This is the Church that we love—the Church of the Mother of Jesus, the Church of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. This is the Church that we venerate, the Church to which we wish forever to remain subject. So we beg those who have posts of authority in the Church not to change our Church, to remain faithful to the Church of Mary, to remain faithful to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, to all the lessons that she has given us.

And I beg you, my dear brethren, to be the leaven—the leaven of the Catholic Church, of this love for the Catholic Church, in all your regions, in all your families, in all your homes. Remain children of Mary; pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary. Meditate on the lessons that she gives you. Then you will be true Catholics. You cannot be children of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in a full and holy manner, without being the best children of the Catholic Church. This is what reassures us that we are indeed true sons of the Catholic Church.

So I am convinced that when you return home you will be true representatives of the Catholic Church, and that you will co all you can so that she continues, despite the difficulties, despite the trials, despite the contradictions. We must all pray together today for you to be witnesses. Just as the apostles received the Holy Ghost through the Virgin Mary, and went forth to give witness to the Gospel throughout the world, so you also must be the witnesses of the Virgin Mary, of the Holy Ghost that you have received through her, and give witness to your faith in God, of your faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, of your love for the Church, wherever you may be. This is what God desires.

You are the Church! You are the Church! You are the Catholic Church! So let us remain in this Church of the Virgin Mary. Let us confide in her. Let us confide to her our families, especially our children, who so need the help of the Virgin Mary to remain in the true Catholic Faith.