Saturday, August 27, 2016
Feast of Our Lady Help of the Sick (Mass in Some Places)

As part of the Traditional Missal, the Feast of our Lady Help of the Sick falls on Saturday before the last Sunday in August. This Feastday is kept by various religious orders in the Church as it one of the Masses Said in Some Places.  

Make an effort today to say 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys for the repose of the soul of all of the sick who will die today and appear before Christ in Judgment.

The following is taken from Our Lady's Feastdays by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D:
1. Mary, Mother of God, help me to understand as clearly as God wishes to let me do so, the value of suffering and sickness. God has created nature and all the wondrous functions of the human body. He is the Master of His creation. He can and does suspend the laws of nature for those who have faith in His goodness and entreat Him in fervent prayer. He promised that my prayers would be heard when He said, "Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matt. 5, 7).

During His lifetime Jesus cured sickness and disease and even raised the dead to life, because people asked Him to do so in prayer. I firmly believe that He will hear my prayer also, if this should be the Will of God.

Help me to realize that it is only through the cross that I can attain to its glory and that it is only through suffering that I can possess the kingdom of heaven. Before you were crowned Queen of Heaven you became the Mother of Sorrows. All the saints suffered during their lifetime, but you are the Queen of them all as Queen of Martyrs. If I have been blessed with suffering, let me remember that this is the only way I can follow Jesus and you, for He said, "If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt. 16, 24).

2. Mary, Mother of God, because of your influence in obtaining helpful remedies against spiritual and bodily maladies, the Church calls you the "Health of the Sick." Your power and motherly care not only embrace spiritual miseries but also extend to the ills of the body. How often do we see you restoring health to the sick who have recourse to you with childlike confidence? But much as your compassionate heart sympathizes with man's sufferings from bodily sickness, you certainly show greater care to relieve the spiritual sickness and weaknesses under which we labor.

How much I worry about my physical health! But how careless I am about my spiritual health! I realize that it is the command of God that I take ordinary care to insure bodily health. However, my sick soul is entitled to more vigilant care, for Jesus reminded me, "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul" (Matt. 16, 26).

Mary, My Mother, in all infirmities of body and soul, you are a sure refuge and relief. Down through the ages numberless people have recovered health of body and of spirit through your intercession! You lighten our sufferings, you obtain for us bodily health when it is conducive to our salvation and you help the soul to conquer its spiritual enemies; Teach me to be more earnest about seeking health of soul: to overcome my ruling passion, to free myself from the occasions of sin. I ask this with special earnestness from you who are the Health of the Sick.

How unimportant are the infirmities of the body compared to the infirmities of the soul! Infirmities of the body, patiently endured, may become the occasion of great merit. May the infirmities of my soul be my chief concern. Let me fear such sickness of soul as avarice, lust, luxury, ambition, hatred, anger—because, unless these are cured, they may bring about the eternal death of my soul.

3. Mary, Mother of God, sincere devotion to you is a sign of perseverance in doing good till death. Infirmities of the body are nature's warning voice concerning the approach of death, which I cannot finally escape. The Church teaches that final perseverance in good and a happy death are graces so great that no one can obtain them by his own merits or without special help from God. But saints and writers of the Church speak of devotion to you as a sign of perseverance in good and a happy death. They apply these words of Scripture to you: "He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord" (Prov. 8, 35).

Jesus gave you to me to be my Mother that you may enable me at my death to say as He did with a sense of humble gratitude to God for His graces: "It is finished"—"I have done the work God placed me upon this earth to do. I have loved and followed Jesus to the end. I have carried my cross patiently which He gave me to carry. I have saved my soul."

Mary, My Mother, I turn to you rather for health of soul than of body. Keep my soul in good health so that when my body fails, my soul may be prepared to meet its Maker and Judge. I am in need of forgiveness of sin, of strength in temptation. I need virtues, especially charity and humility and purity. Help me to overcome the enemies of my salvation and to persevere to the end in the friendship of God.

For vain joys or small profits people sacrifice much. For the small sacrifice of being devoted to you I can obtain a happy death and eternal life. I want to take devotion to you seriously. If I put my trust in you, I shall be saved. If you receive me under your care, I shall fear nothing because devotion to you is an unfailing sign of salvation. Your aid at the hour of my death will be for me a guarantee of salvation if through life I have sought to imitate the beautiful example of your life. How fortunate I will be, if at death I am bound with the sweet chains of love to you! These chains are chains of salvation for me, and they will make me enjoy in death that blessed peace which will be-the beginning of my eternal peace and rest. I look to you for the grace of final perseverance and a happy death. Thus you will be for me not only the Health of the Sick but also the Gate of Heaven.
St. Joseph Calasanctius

Double (1954 Calendar): August 27

St. Joseph Calasanctius (1556-1648) was born in Aragon, Spain. He went to Rome where he was ordained a priest. While still in the Eternal City, he was dismayed by the vice and ignorance of the children of the poor. In order to provide for the religious education of these neglected youngsters, he founded the Order of Clerks Regular of the Pious Schools, also called Piarists. In the latter years of his long life, he had much to suffer in persecutions by members of his own order. Yet he died full of hope and peace, saying, "My work was done solely for the love of God."

The above image of St. Joseph Calasanctius' Last Communion should serve to as a reminder to receive every Communion as if was our First Holy Communion...our last Holy Communion...our only Holy Communion.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Joseph Calasanctius of the Mother of God was born of a noble family of Petralta in Aragon, and from his earliest years gave signs of his future love for children and their education. For, when still a little child, he would gather other children round him and would teach them the mysteries of faith and holy prayer. After having received a good education in the liberal arts and divinity, he went through his theological studies at Valencia. Here he courageously overcame the seductions of a noble and powerful lady, and by a remarkable victory preserved unspotted his virginity which he had already vowed to God. He became a priest in fulfilment of a vow; and several bishops of New Castille, Aragon, and Catalonia availed themselves of his assistance. He surpassed all their expectations, corrected evil living throughout the kingdom, restored ecclesiastical discipline, and was marvellously successful in putting an end to enmities and bloody factions. But urged by a heavenly vision, and after having been several times called by God, he went to Rome.

Here he led a life of great austerity; fasting and watching, spending whole days and nights in heavenly contemplation, and visiting the seven basilicas of the city almost every night. This last custom he observed for many years. He enrolled himself in pious associations, and with wonderful charity devoted himself to aiding and consoling the poor with alms and other works of mercy, especially those who were sick or imprisoned. When the plague was raging in Rome, he joined St. Camillus, and not content in his ardent zeal, with bestowing lavish care upon the sick poor, he even carried the dead to the grave on his own shoulders. But having been divinely admonished that he was called to educate children, especially those of the poor, in piety and learning, he founded the Order of the Poor Regular Clerks of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools, who are specially destined to devote themselves to the instruction of youth. This Order was highly approved by Clement VIII., Paul V., and others of the Roman Pontiffs, and in a wonderfully short space of time it spread through many of the kingdoms of Europe. But in this undertaking Joseph had to undergo many sufferings and labours, and he endured them all with so much constancy, that every one proclaimed him a miracle of patience and another Job.

Though burdened with the government of the whole Order, he nevertheless devoted himself to saving souls, and moreover never gave over teaching children, especially those of the poorer class. He would sweep their schools and take them to their homes himself. For fifty-two years he persevered in this work, though it called upon him to practise the greatest patience and humility, and although he suffered from weak health. God rewarded him by honouring him with many miracles in the presence of his disciples; and the blessed Virgin appeared to him with the Infant Jesus who blessed his children while they were praying. He refused the highest dignities, but he was made illustrious by the gifts of prophecy, of reading the secrets of hearts, and of knowing what was going on in his absence. He was favoured with frequent apparitions of the citizens of heaven, particularly of the Virgin Mother of God, whom he had loved and honoured most especially from his infancy, and whose cultus he had most strongly recommended to his disciples. He foretold the day of his death and the restoration and propagation of his Order, which was then almost destroyed, and in his ninety-second year he fell asleep in our Lord, at Rome, on the eighth of the Calends of September, in the year 1648. A century later, his heart and tongue were found whole and incorrupt. God honoured him by many miracles after his death. Benedict XIV granted him the honors of the blessed, and Clement XIII solemnly enrolled him among the saints.


O God, in the person of Your blessed confessor Joseph You provided the Church with new help to train the young in wisdom and holiness. Grant that we may be led by his example and prayer so to work and teach that we may gain an everlasting reward. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Friday, August 26, 2016
St. Zephyrinus

Simple (1955 Calendar): August 26

Pope St. Zephyrinus reigned as the Vicar of Christ from 199 to 217 AD.  During part of his reign, the Church endured the bloody persecution of Emperor Septimus Severus. Pope Zephyrinus rejoiced in the triumphs of the martyrs, but he also had much to suffer from heresies and apostasies attacking the Faith. It was his glory that the heretics called this holy Pope the principle defender of Christ's divinity.  The holy pontiff died on December 20, 217 AD.
SAINT ZEPHYRINUS, a native of Rome, succeeded Victor in the Pontificate, in the year 2O2, in which Severus raised the fifth most bloody persecution against the Church, which continued not for two years only, but until the death of that emperor in 211. Under this furious storm this holy pastor was the support and comfort of the distressed flock of Christ, and he suffered by charity and compassion what every confessor underwent. The triumphs of the martyrs were indeed his joy, but his heart received many deep wounds from the fall of apostates and heretics. Neither did this latter affliction cease when peace was restored to the Church. Our Saint had also the affliction to see the fall of Tertullian, which seems to have been owing partly to his pride. Eusebius tells us that this holy Pope exerted his zeal so strenuously against the blasphemies of the heretics that they treated him in the most contumelious manner; but it was his glory that they called him the principal defender of Christ’s divinity. St. Zephyrinus filled the pontifical chair seventeen years, dying in 219. He was buried in his own cemetery, on the 26th of August. He is, in some Martyrologies, styled a martyr, which title he might deserve by what he suffered in the persecution, though he perhaps did not die by the executioner.  
REFLECTION.—God has always raised up holy pastors zealous to maintain the faith of His Church inviolable, and to watch over the purity of its morals and the sanctity of its discipline. We enjoy the greatest advantages of the divine grace through their labors, and we owe to God, a tribute of perpetual thanksgiving and immortal praise for all those mercies which He has afforded His Church on earth.   Source
May all of us call on St. Zephyrinus to fight the continued heresies that assert that our Lord was not divine - heresies present in Arianism, Islam, and other sects.


O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Zephyrinus shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Rite for Foreigners Marrying in Poland (1892 Version)

Recently a friend of mine received the Sacrament of Matrimony in Poland. As a US citizen marrying abroad in the Traditional Rite of the Church, he used the Rite for Foreigners Marrying in Poland, established in 1892.  The text for this fascinating ritual are shared below.  Please keep Michael and his wife in your prayers, and may God grace them with many children.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
German Bishops Hail Arch-Heretic Luther as "Teacher of the Faith"

Guest Article By David Martin

The Catholic bishops of Germany are praising Martin Luther, calling him a "Gospel witness and teacher of the Faith" and lamenting that the Church hasn't given him an "adequate hearing."

In a report released August 9th by the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Gerhard Feige, chairman of the German Bishops' Ecumenical Commission, says the "history of the Reformation has encountered a changeable reception in the Catholic Church, where its event and protagonists were long seen in a negative, derogatory light." The report asserts that theological differences have been "re-evaluated," and that "the Catholic Church may recognize today what was important in the Reformation."

Are the German bishops daring to question the Church's denunciation of Martin Luther? Are they accusing the Council of Trent of having been "derogatory" after it rightfully refuted Luther's errors for the greater liberty of God's people? If there is one person of history who could be called derogatory, it is Martin Luther. Consider his own words about the Catholic Church:

"We too were formerly stuck in the behind of this hellish whore, the new church of the pope... so that we regret having spent so much time and energy in that vile h***. But God be praised and thanked that he rescued us from the scarlet whore." (Luther's Works, Vol. 41, p. 206)

Again Luther says: "I can with good conscience consider the pope a fart-ass and an enemy of God. He cannot consider me an ass, for he knows that I am more learned in the Scriptures than he and all his asses are." (p. 344) "The papal ass wants to be lord of the church, although he is not a Christian, believes nothing, and can no longer do anything but fart like an ass." (p. 358)

We seem to forget that Luther was a raving heretic who was driven by the devil to tear the Faith asunder in Europe. His definition of "repentance" was to reject Catholicism, evidenced by his hateful words against the Mass: "It is indeed upon the Mass as on a rock that the whole papal system is built, with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its collegiate churches, its altars, its ministries, its doctrine, i.e., with all its guts. All these cannot fail to crumble once their sacrilegious and abominable Mass falls." (Martin Luther, Against Henry, King of England, 1522, Werke, Vol. X, p. 220.)

Luther also contributed mightily to the mass murder of 70,000-100,000 peasants during the German Peasant War (1524-1525), which his Reformation helped to spark. Consider the following from Luther: "To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Therefore let whoever can, smite, slay, and stab them secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel…. On the obstinate, hardened, blinded peasants let no one have mercy, but let whoever is able, hew, stab, and slay them like mad dogs." (Erlangen Edition of Luther’s Works, Vol. 24)

In 1526 Luther justified his killing of the peasants, saying, "I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead." (Erlangen LW, Vol. 59, p. 284)

Luther furthermore blasphemed Christ, thus revealing his deficit of faith. For instance he said, "Christ committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well… Secondly with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery." (Luther’s Works, American Edition, Volume 54, p. 154, Concordia Publishing House)

As for his teaching on salvation and justification, the man was a theological crackpot who called humble contrition "hypocrisy" and who insisted that Jesus died on the cross so that we may sin freely without the fear of eternal punishment. Consider Luther’s own words:

“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly... No sin will separate us from the Christ, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” (From Luther’s letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521, LW Vol. 48, pp. 281-282)

Each one of Luther’s charges against the Catholic Church were irrational and false. For instance he accused the clergy of "selling indulgences" in the confessional, which is not true. When penitents came to confession it was common at that time for priests to administer a penance in the form of having them place money in the Church’s treasury, because funds were needed to complete the Basilica of St. Peters in Rome. We might say a Peter’s pence was being raised, which should have excited praise, but this infuriated Luther because he couldn’t tolerate the idea of funding the "papal pig" and his palace.

If Luther had all the classic markings of a Freemason, it was precisely because he was an honorary member of the Rosicrucian Freemasons, which would explain why he rejected six books of the Bible and why he spearheaded his heinous revolt against Christ which led half of Europe away from the Christian Faith.
Had it not occurred to the German bishops that Luther was possessed by Satan? Certainly he was Lucifer's pawn, tearing and breaking, and ripping the Church to pieces, because he disagreed with Christ. It was for reason that Pope Leo X dubbed Luther "the wild boar loose in the vineyard." He was the classic hypocrite and Pharisee, constantly "justifying" himself and accusing everyone of what he himself was guilty of. What could be said of the worst pagans and infidels of history would especially apply to Luther: he had no "faith" or "grace."

The Catholic Church committed no fault in its response to the so-called Reformation five centuries ago, which means there must be no apologies made. The papal condemnation of Luther in 1521 was truly the work of the Holy Spirit, and remains binding upon the faithful to this day. Any attempts to exonerate or "reevaluate" Martin Luther incurs the guilt of serious sin. Shall we exonerate Hitler too?
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna

Simple (1955 Calendar): August 11

August 11th, besides the Feast of St. Philomena in some places, is the Feast of Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna on the Universal Calendar.

St. Tiburtius was the son of the prefect of Rome, who was a convert to the Faith. Shortly after being ordained a subdeacon, the young man was betrayed to his persecutors by an apostate. Like St. Lawrence whose feast we celebrated yesterday, Tiburtius was tortured by fire. He was then beheaded, about A.D. 288. and gained the crown of martyrdom.

On the same day, a noble Christian virgin by the name of Susanna suffered a similar death. Because of her vow of virginity she had refused to marry the son of Emperor Diocletian, so she was beheaded in her own home by that ruler's orders.

Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna, martyrs for Christ, pray for us!

A Prayer to the Holy Martyrs to obtain their Protection by St. Alphonsus de Liguori:

O ye blessed Princes of the heavenly kingdom! ye who sacrificed to the Almighty God the honors, the riches, and possessions of this life, and have received in return the unfading glory and never-ending joys of heaven! ye who are secure in the everlasting possession of the brilliant crown of glory which your sufferings have obtained! Look with compassionate regards upon our wretched state in this valley of tears, where we groan in the uncertainty of what may be our eternal destiny. And form that divine Savior, for Whom you suffered so many torments, and Who now repays you with so unspeakable glory, obtain for us that we may love Him with all our heart, and receive in return the grace of perfect resignation under the trials of this life, fortitude under the temptations of the enemy, and perseverance to the end. May your powerful intercession obtain for us that we may one day in your blessed company sing the praises of the Eternal, and even as you now do, face to face, enjoy the beatitude of His vision! Amen


Almighty and merciful God, it is through Your grace that the faithful are able to serve You fittingly and laudably. Grant that we may hurry, without faltering, toward the rewards You have promised to us. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Monday, August 8, 2016
The Transfiguration to the Holy Cross: The Forgotten 40 Days

On the Feast of the Transfiguration, I attended a solemn Vespers service as sung by the Brothers of the Holy Cross at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago.  If you have never attended Solemn Vespers sung here, these beautiful Latin prayers will uplift your soul and bring much needed spiritual relief.  The Solemn Vespers are part of the Monastery's Schola Laudis program, and I encourage you to read more on it through their website.

The abbot, Fr. Peter Funk, OSB, wrote the following piece for the Vespers Service.  His insightful commentary is certainly worth spreading, especially as it concerns the forgotten 40 Day Period of the Transfiguration to the Feast of the Holy Cross.  For us Catholics, 40 Days is especially important (e.g. the length of Lent, the number of days from Easter til the Ascension, the number of days from Christmas til the Purification).
In His Transfiguration, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the glory of the Uncreated Light, His own by His Divine Nature.  The Lord revealed this to his closest disciples so that they might be strengthened for the coming trial of His arrest and crucifixion.  Jesus is not taken unwillingly, but voluntarily, "lays down His life for His sheep." 
The connection between the Transfiguration and the Cross is one that is already present in the Gospel accounts.  In the liturgical calendar, it is represented by the significant period of forty days between this feast and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14. 
For historical reasons not easy to decipher, these two feasts have not received a lot of attention since the Renaissance.  Even so, with the calendric reforms after Vatican II, the Transfiguration underwent a slight demotion, being downgraded to the ranking of a "feast" from former being a Class I "solemnity" (The Exaltation previously held the rank of a Class II). Both feasts have maintained great prominence in the Churches of the East. 
One suspects that the Transfiguration is less interesting to a "theology from below," the effort to understand Christ first from His human nature.  There have been some genuine fruits from this shift in emphasis, but it also suffers from some serious limitations, as we see from the inclusion of Moses and Elijah in the Transfiguration.  They are alive, and illuminated from within, not by their own nature, but by the fulfilling presence of the divine as a gift.  We see, in all three figures the final goal of the human person, the transfiguration into a child of God. 
We live in a curious time when many have lost all sight of the goal of humanity.  And where the goal is lost, the nature of the thing is also lost.  When we forget what a knife is for, we are welcome to use it in all kinds of activities, to turn screws, pry open a package, or reflect light.  But a knife is "happiest" when it is performing the task for which it was made, cutting things. 
The human heart is restless until it rests in God.  This is so precisely because we are most human when we experience the transforming power of God in our minds and hearts.  A knife is for cutting, a human being is for knowing God.  We of all creatures are capable of this, and when we put ourselves to other uses, if they are not directed toward this knowledge, we suffer alienation, loss of direction, loss of purpose. 
So the demotion of the Transfiguration would seem to be connected with the banishment of God from the cosmos in order to focus on a purely scientific vision of the physical world, imagined as somehow apart from God.  The good news is that the Church continues to proclaim the truth about the human person, and the Transfiguration is a celebration that beckons us back to our true home, to faith in God the Father, to trust in the saving words spoken by the Son, and to love with the Spirit that is poured into our hearts.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Dormition Fast for Catholics

Yesterday the Eastern Rites of the Church began the observance of the Dormition Fast.  What is the Dormition Fast?  What is a Latin Rite Catholic to think of this custom?  To start, some sufficient background is available online.  This is taken from Aquinas and More's website:
The Eastern churches (both Catholic and Orthodox) traditionally observe a period of fasting prior to the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos - one of the four great fasts that are part of the Church year in the East, the others being the Nativity Fast, the Great Lent Fast and the Apostles Fast. This fast is also called "Our Lady's Fast" or the "Assumption Fast.” For those on the new calendar (Gregorian), this fast begins just before the Vespers of the Feast of the Procession of the Holy Cross (1 August) on 31 July evening. This fast ends just before Vespers for the Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos (15 August) on 14 August evening. For those on the old calendar (Julian) , this fast begins on August 14 and ends on August 28. 
The Dormition Fast is short, but is stricter than all the other fasting periods except Great Lent. One should fast on all days from the usual non-lenten foods, such as all animal products (meat, poultry, milk, cheese, etc.) and olive oil and wine. In addition, one also traditionally abstains from fish on all days of the fast, including weekends, except for the feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, when fasting may be eased by having fish, wine and olive oil. On the two weekends which fall during the fast (Saturday and Sunday), the fast is also relaxed a little bit, and one may have wine and olive oil, but no fish. Please check with your priest or with your eparchial (diocesan) offices for specific information, of course. Actually fasting practice can and does vary between the particular Eastern churches. 
The Scriptural foundation for the practice of Fasting is found in the Synoptic Gospels, when the Pharisees criticized the Apostles for not fasting, Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Our Lord, in this passage, was referring to his being taken to be crucified; but in the larger sense these words of the Lord are understood in terms of his Ascension into heaven, and his command to preach the Gospel, which can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting. The New Testament mentions the practice of fasting many times. 
According to Eastern Christian teaching, by fasting we observe this time-honored Apostolic practice. We can also unite our lives more closely to the Mother of God through the Dormition Fast. By fasting, we can join in and show our appreciation for the sacrifices of the the Theotokos. The Theotokos sacrificed much to give birth to Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity - Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, to raise Him, and to be with Him during His ministry, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. 
The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos (Mary, the mother of Jesus; literally translated as God-bearer). It is celebrated on August 15 (August 28 for those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. 
In the Eastern churches, as in the language of Sacred Scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep.” A prominent example of this is the name of this feast; another is the Dormition of Anna, Mary's mother. According to the ancient tradition of the East, the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics believe that Mary, having spent her life after Pentecost supporting and serving the nascent Church, was living in the house of the Apostle John when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her repose would occur three days later. The Holy Apostles, scattered throughout the world, are said to have been miraculously transported to be at her side when she died. The sole exception was the Apostle Thomas, who was characteristically late. He is said to have arrived three days after her death, grief-striken, and asked to see her grave so that he could bid her goodbye. Mary had already been laid to rest. When they arrived at the grave, her body was gone, leaving a sweet fragrance. An angel is said to have appeared and confirmed to the Apostles that Christ had taken her body to heaven after her soul.
As a result, the Dormition Fast is a period of preparation for the celebration of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven on August 15th.  It is wise for us - even Latin Rite Catholics - to adopt this time as a time of prayer and preparation.  While we are not canonically bound under pain of sin to observe this period of fasting, it is certainly a wise practice for us to willingly fast at this time in order to better prepare for the Assumption.  And moreover, offering our fasting and added sacrifices for the intentions of our Lady would be a most salutary effort indeed.

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