Weekly Email – The Assumption of the BVM | All Saints Margaret Street

Weekly Email – The Assumption of the BVM

Friday 12 August 2022 at 13:45

Documents

Dear friends,

We celebrate this Sunday the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That feast proclaims that at the end of her earthly life Our Lady was taken to the glory of heaven. What is the evidence for this doctrine and why does the Church teach it?

Historical Evidence
Although there is no direct description of the end of Mary’s life in the New Testament, it is very significant indeed that no early traditions sprang up or remain to us reverencing a grave or the location of her physical relics. Such narratives emerged concerning every other major figure in the Apostolic period. There must, therefore, have been something particular about the end of Our Lady’s life that meant this didn’t happen.

Traditions circulated as early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries that Mary was taken to God at the end of her earthly life. We see these reflected in texts such as Liber Requiei Mariae, which although a 6th century Ethiopic text, may transmit very early traditions. This means it is perfectly reasonable to assume oral narratives existed in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries, probably centred in Jerusalem about Mary and the fact that the community memory there was that she was neither buried nor dead like other Christians, but rather was graced with some sort of immediate experience of heaven.

From the 4th century onwards a number of written texts mention Mary’s Assumption, such at the Dormition of Mary (attributed to the Apostle John) and the 6 Books Dormition Apochryphon. It is in this period that a narrative emerges that the apostles laid Mary to rest in a grave, and when St Thomas the apostle came back later to see the body, it was gone, and had been assumed into heaven.

The one thing that seems to characterise all evidence concerning early speculation about Mary is a unanimity from the very earliest times, in both written, oral and topographical evidence that Mary was not to be found buried anywhere, that no place claims her remains or a story of her death and permanent burial. The idea that Mary had been taken into heaven clearly had wide early Christian credence even if it had not been crystallised as a universally defined doctrine.

Biblical evidence
It is important to remember that although the New Testament contains no direct description of the end of Mary’s life, there is much scriptural evidence of a typological and figurative nature that points to the truth of this doctrine.

The most important evidence of this kind comes from the Book of Revelation. The Heavenly Woman described in Chapter 12 of that book clearly has a representative significance. She is described as in heaven, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Through her child bearing, she defeats the dragon representing evil, and gives birth to a son “who was to rule the nations.”

Biblical scholars have argued she represents many things: Israel producing a Messiah; the Church bringing Christ into the world; Eve defeating the dragon; the Arc containing God’s presence. However, it is very difficult indeed to imagine some reference to Mary is not intended by John of Patmos in his description of this heavenly woman and her kingly son.

This Mary figure in Rev 12 is both exalted in heaven and taken to a place of safety because of her role in our salvation. It is easy to see how Christians from the earliest times saw this passage as evidence Mary was assumed into heaven.

Theological Evidence
It is also important to consider why the Assumption is important and what it teaches us both about Our Lady and our our salvation.

The Assumption is both a natural outworking of truths at the heart of the Gospel and a logical consequence of what the church has always taught about Mary’s role. We can say, therefore, that it is a rational and coherent assertion to make about about Our Lady.

Our Lady was both the source and location of our salvation’s dawn, but also the first amongst the redeemed. Because God had taken flesh in her, he would not let her know decay and death, and so brought her body and soul into the glory of heaven.

In other words, though exalted as the Mother of God, she is saved just as much through her Son’s death and resurrection as we are. She shares now in the same glory we hope to be clothed with when we die.

To believe in the Assumption is joyfully to proclaim to the world the Good News that we are given the promise of eternal life in Christ. It is to trust in the Resurrection of Jesus and to look forward to the life of heaven, not as a distant future reward, but as a present reality which we know Mary already experiences as our sister disciple of Jesus Christ.

I pray this year’s feast of the Assumption will be a wonderful opportunity to proclaim our trust in Christ, our hope in the Resurrection, and our fellowship with Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother also.

Fr Peter

 

A really enjoyable parish outing took place last night to the theatre to see “The Southbury Child” at the Bridge Theatre. Here we all are just before the beginning of the play.

 

Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady 2022

Saturday 13th August 2022
6.15 pm Vigil Mass

Sunday 14th August 2022
11.00 am High Mass
Preacher: The Vicar
Music: Mozart, Missa Brevis in D K194; Palestrina, Assumpta est Maria.

3.30 pm Organ Recital
William Forrest, Organ Scholar of All Saints’.

N.B. Please note that the 5.15 pm Mass is cancelled this Sunday.

6.00 pm Evensong, Procession of Our Lady and Benediction
Preacher: The Revd Graeme Rowlands, Vicar of S. Silas’, Kentish Town.
Music: Dyson in D; Henschel, Tantum Ergo.

 

Our parish Assumption party last year: it was a real delight to be able to welcome so many people to our courtyard for refreshments after the procession in the cool of the day.

 

Organ recital this Sunday

Our organ scholar, William Forrest, will give a recital this Sunday at 3.30pm in church. The Feast of the Assumption will be marked with J.S. Bach’s Fugue on the Magnificat and Léon Boëllmann’s Prière à Notre-Dame. The programme will also include Reger’s Benedictus, Franck’s Prélude, Fugue et Variation and C.V. Stanford’s Postlude in D minor. Congratulations are also due to William for recently passing his ARCO examination!

 

Perspectives on Walsingham

We continue a series of reflections on our recent pilgrimage to Walsingham, hearing this week from Rachel Foss:

I had been to Walsingham once before when, many years ago, my father took us there for the day en route to a stay in Norwich for the ordination service of a family friend at Norwich Cathedral.

My over-riding memories of that time, at the age of seven or eight, were of being caught up – amidst arguments with my sister – in what seemed like an overwhelming crowd of people and of feeling disorientated and travel-sick after a long and winding car journey down from Yorkshire. So it seemed like, a few decades on, joining the ASMS Parish Pilgrimage to Walsingham would be an ideal opportunity for a new experience.

And it was very different. I found the Pilgrimage weekend enjoyable and inspiring and I was able to find too, within quite a busy programme, some space for rest and reflection.

I enjoyed the processions of Our Lady and of the Blessed Sacrament around the beautifully tended paths and lawns of the Anglican Shrine. I found following the Stations of the Cross there, with Fr Peter and the parish group, a very moving experience, particularly powerful at the point at which we knelt together at the foot of the three crosses standing on the incline.

It was also lovely to be with my fellow pilgrims. I valued having the chance to meet and talk with people in a more relaxed way and with a deeper sense of connection than is sometimes the case, as we enjoyed the meals together in the Shrine refectory, an evening trip to the local pub and the walk along the ‘Holy Mile’ between the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Shrines. Being away offered a different and valuable sense of fellowship and church community.

I had been a little apprehensive about how I would experience Walsingham as an adult and how I would be able to get past some of the contradictions and obstacles that – for me – it seems to embody. Notwithstanding these very real complexities, I found and felt that there is also a place for me here. I returned from the peace of the countryside to the bustle of central London refreshed, revivified and profoundly grateful for the Pilgrimage experience.

Rachel Foss

 

Fr Peter was very pleased to be able to meet up with Bishop Allen and Clara Shin on Monday. Bishop Allen and Clara have been in this country for the Lambeth Conference. Many will remember that Bishop Allen used to be an assistant priest at All Saints’ in the early 2000s. He is now a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of New York. Both he and Clara send their best wishes to everyone at All Saints’.

 

Online Zoom Theology

Our next online Zoom Theology Seminar will take place on Tuesday 6th September 2022 at 7.00 pm. We will discuss a work of eucharistic and New Testament theology by Brant Pitre entitled, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper.

This seminar, led by Fr Peter Anthony, will explore contemporary biblical scholarship concerning the Eucharist through Brant Pitre’s excellent recent work on the Jewish origins of the Mass.

Brant Pitre uses the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the Eucharist. By taking us back to the Jewish roots of our faith, the author gives us a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of the Eucharist.

Participants are recommended to have read Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist before participating in the seminar. The Zoom link for the evening can be found here.

 

What a joy it has been over the last weekend to welcome visitors from different corners of the globe to show them our beautiful church: from Naples, Paris and Washington DC! We are so happy they came to see us and assure them of our prayers. Visit us again soon!

 

Links for Sunday

The links for the livestream and service sheet for this Sunday’s High Mass are at the end of this email.

A livestream of Sunday’s Evensong and Benediction for the Assumption of the BVM will be available here. A link to the service sheet may also be found at the end of this email.

 

We still need more volunteers to be stewards at our procession of Our Lady on Sunday evening. Here is our group of stewards from Palm Sunday this year. They are a crucial part of ensuring our outdoor processions are a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Please be in touch with Chris Swift or the parish office if you wish to help in this role.

 

Flowers

The flowers for Our Lady of Margaret Street are given by Aiden and Ashley Hargreaves-Smith in ever-grateful memory of their beloved mother Valerie and grandmother Irene, whose anniversaries fall at this time.

The flowers for Our Lady of Walsingham, carried in procession for the Assumption, are given in loving memory of Veronica and Alexander.

We are looking for volunteers to help with the flowers in church and the Courtyard Garden. If you have a particular talent for flower arranging or gardening and would like to help from time to time or on a regular basis, please contact Shawn on 07988 287 662 or shawnwilbe@outlook.com.

If you would like to make a donation for flowers or the garden, please contact Shawn.

 

In our homily last Sunday for Trinity 8, Fr Peter pondered what Jesus meant in our gospel ready by being “ready.” The perfect exemplar of being ready and open to God is Mary his mother. We couldn’t have wanted for a better passage of scripture to prepare for our keeping of the Assumption, as it points to why Our Lady’s role and vocation is so significant. She is the model disciple of Jesus Christ, whom we should try to imitate and follow. You can watch the High Mass again here, and watch the homily again here or read it here.

 

Prayer list

The sick

Fr Harry Hodgetts, Elizabeth Lyon, James Shrimpton, David Robin, Gloria Fleming, Amanda Barrett, Sebastian Taite-Ellis, Michael Lamprill, David Craig, Martin Berka, Joanna Moses, Bruce Ross-Smith, Sara Kennedy, Donald McWhinney

The faithful departed

Molly Voy

Anniversaries of death

August 13th – Thomas Straker, Winifred Golelee, Richard Fitzgerald, John Edmonds, Ivy Oram
14th – William Rivington, Mildred Terry, Adriana Grosinski
15th – David Tweed
16th – Veronica Lee, Alexander Lee
17th – Dorothy Lane
19th – David Russell

 

Service times this week

Saturday 13th August – of the BVM
11.30am Rosary
12.00 noon Mass of Our Lady of Walsingham
6.15 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday

Sunday 14th August – The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
11.00 am High Mass
Please note the 5.15 pm Mass is cancelled today
6.00 pm Evensong, Procession of Our Lady and Benediction

Monday 15th August – Feria
12.00 noon Mass
6.15 pm Mass

Tuesday 16th August – St. Stephen of Hungary
12.00 noon Mass
6.15 pm Mass

Wednesday 17th August – Feria
12.00 noon Mass
6.15 pm Mass

Thursday 18th August – St. Alberto Hurtado
12.00 noon Mass
6.15 pm Mass

Friday 19th August – St. John Eudes
12.00 noon Mass
6.15 pm Mass

Saturday 20th August – St. Bernard
12.00 noon Requiem Mass
6.15 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday

Sunday 21st August – Trinity 10
11.00 am High Mass
5.15 pm Low Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction