Today is the Feast of the Assumption. It’s also my little sister’s birthday–and has been since she was born.
When I was little, I used to get really jealous that we had to go to church on her birthday. For me, it was a special thing that we “got” to go to church on her birthday every year, but not on mine. My mom pointed out that there was daily Mass on my birthday–but, the silly child I was, I insisted that it wasn’t as special because you didn’t have to go on my birthday. It’s true–I wasn’t born on a Holy Day of Obligation, but my sister was.
In hindsight, I realize it must have sounded kind of silly… “It’s no fair, you have to go to church on her birthday but not on mine!” But at the same time I think it’s kind of cool that I was so enthusiastic about church. Now that I’m a bit more grown-up, I realize that the Mass said on my birthday (June 26) is just as cosmically important in the spiritual war as the Mass said on my sister’s birthday (today, August 15), even though it doesn’t carry the weight of a Solemnity.
My sister’s birthday is more special than mine for this very reason–she was born on a Holy Day of Obligation. She is forever blessed with multiple Masses said on and before her birthday in celebration of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. And little old me on my 26th of June… well, if I want to go to Mass on my birthday, I guess I can. It would probably involve getting up early and going to 8am daily Mass. And it would be one more soul fighting in a minor battle against the ever-present forces of evil. But today–my sister’s birthday–is a rallying day. A day when hundreds and thousands more souls are celebrating the Sacrifice in the harmonic time of our existence, experiencing “as through a mirror darkly” the systolic time of the Eternal.
I haven’t made it to Mass yet today–I’ll be going with my family in the evening. And as we celebrate the glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I add in a prayer of thanksgiving for my little sister. She may be five inches taller and five times smarter than me, but she’ll always be my little sister and my best friend. Happy birthday!
It was July 16, 2011. Quill had introduced me to Saint Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Mary and we decided to make the Consecration together, reminding each other to say the preparatory prayers for each of the 33 days. Our first Consecration was on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel–July 16th.
In preparation for it, I decided to practice my calligraphy by writing out the Act of Consecration for him and mailing it to him. Halfway through it, the beginning of a paragraph reads, “I, ________, a faithless sinner…” This froze me up. It was one thing to acknowledge myself as a faithless sinner, but someone else? My best friend, my greatest spiritual influence? Some part of me wanted to just leave it blank and make him fill it in. It was uncomfortable. It was difficult. So much so that it made me blow my own surprise in order to ask him about it. And he requested I write it in myself, gently reminding me that we are all faithless sinners.
Last year (2012) I hurriedly wrote out my own Act of Consecration in my sketchbook while at work. This year, I took my time on my own Act of Consecration. (I make it a policy to hand-write it for myself every year.) Six pages of calligraphy later (done in brush pen on semi-gloss paper straight off the school printers), my hand was killing me–a small penance. As I wrote, I meditated on that line. “I, [Ink], a faithless sinner…” And I remembered back to the time I wrote it for him. Though I was (and still am) not qualified in the least to speak in his voice, it was no less true–because we are all faithless sinners. It may take someone else to see the best in us, and we may see the best in others, but that does not make it any less true–that we are, in fact, all faithless sinners. And sometimes we need to relate to each other as one sinner to another.
To any of my readers who are thinking about this devotion, I would recommend it. And I’m praying for you.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! This title for Our Lady is the one most closely associated with the Brown Scapular.
Story: Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, Superior General of the Carmelite Order (this was shortly after its founding) and presented to him the Brown Scapular: the “Garment of Grace.” With the wearing of the Brown Scapular comes many graces, one of which is that those who wear the Scapular will not see the fires of hell–however, the Scapular reminds those who wear it of their devotion to Mary, not their invincibility.
Good sites to check out (they’re pretty concise):