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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

15 August is the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The rules of the Church of England permit this festival to be celebrated on the Sunday when it falls on that day, rather than be transferred to a nearby weekday, as would happen to a lesser commemoration.
This feast is also known as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the official Roman Catholic title), the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos (an Orthodox designation). The Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church of Canada prefers the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These titles relate to the end of the Virgin's earthly life when her being taken to God is understood to be a sign of the eschatological hope of all humanity. So, in the words of one of our Church of England prayers for this feast,
It is indeed right and good, our duty and our salvation, almighty Father, ever-living God, to give you thanks and praise for the work of your grace in the Blessed Virgin Mary ... In her you show us the greatness of your love, and the wonderful purpose you intend for all your children.
In the traditional icon above, at the falling asleep of his Mother, Christ is shown receiving her life into eternal glory. Held by her Son, Mary is portrayed as a small child in white to show that she is always a human being, whose glory is in her humility.

With all generations we call her blessed.

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