The Assumption of Our Blessed Lady
Sweet summer passes, melting day by day;
Into the smiling mellow autumn-tide:
The flowers are blooming still, the birds are gay,
And the fields wave in all their golden pride;
Fair Nature pours her treasures far and wide
In joyful homage to our Lady dear,
For that her festival of highest tide,
The crowning gem of Mary's circling year,
The bright triumphant day of heaven and earth, is here.
The Catholic Review. August 1872
On August 15 we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. This celebration can be traced back to the fifth-century community of Jerusalem. August 15, 432 may have been the day of dedication of the Church to the Virgin Mary located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.In the middle ages, August 15 was the major Marian feast. Its mid-summer date, which, in the medieval calendar, coincided with harvest time, enhanced its festive character. Well into the modern period, the Assumption was the most popular of the Marian feasts. In Scotland it was known as Marymass or St. Mary’s Day.
John S. Stokes Jr., in "The Blessing of Mary Gardens as Holy Places," http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/m_garden/marygardensmain.html writes that “An essential medieval tradition and practice from which we draw in cultivating the Flowers of Our Lady and Mary Gardens is that of the sacramental blessing of homes, workplaces, seeds, plants, trees, gardens and fields as holy places and objects. Among the most important of Plant Blessings were those at the time of harvest, beginning with those on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, on August 15th.”The blessing of herbs, part of the medieval harvest celebration, continues today in many parishes in Germany. On the feast of the Assumption, the faithful gather large bouquets of herbs and wildflowers, especially those associated with healing, and bring them to Mass, tied in Assumption Bundles, and place them on the altar. During the Mass the Bundles are blessed, and then they are taken home to be dried and kept for healing, seasoning, and for fragrant decoration of the home.
What if we were to gather herbs and flowers, tie them in Assumption Bundles, and bring them to Mass for blessing on the feast of the Assumption? (Might be best to alert your priest to this beforehand.) Another way to honor Mary and to keep her in our hearts and minds in our daily lives.
I pray that some of you will compose an Assumption Bundle and take it with you to Mass on the feast of the Assumption. Let me know, by using the comment space at the end of this blog.