Sermon for the Assumption of the BVM


UPDATE: I cleaned up the audio of the offertory music and reposted it. 

Here is my sermon for the Solemn TLM in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden.

To set this up, here was the music line-up for the Mass.

The musical selections are as follows:

The Ordinary of the Mass is the Messa della Cappella (1641), by Claudio Monteverdi.

Other selections:

Canzon XII a 8, Giovanni Gabrielli; [added to audio player, below]
Sonata Sopra “Sancta Maria”, C. Monteverdi; [added to audio player, below]
Venite Populi and Sonata #12 in C major, K 263, W.A. Mozart;
Pulchra est amica mea, Palestrina-Bassano;
Ave Maria, Harold Boatrite;
Hymns – Repeat My Soul, Walter Greatorex
Sing We of the Blessed Mother, Timothy McDonnell.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. carol says:


    : )

  2. Matt Q says:

    Thanks for the audio of your homily, Father. I wish more priests gave such talks. Mostly, they have this… agenda they want to impart on the Faithful ( which is always this deadpan, false-thinking sort of drivel ) rather than teaching them the basics of the Faith and how to save their souls. Sort of like, “Be good and be saved.”

    Hardly a priest speaks of the current problems of the day and how to address them in relation to the practice of the Faith.

    Good job, Father.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    Beautiful homily, Father! Thank you for sharing it!

    I have a question: I noticed you used the phrase “Holy Ghost”. Is “spirit” the more accurate translation of “spiritus”?

    I also notice that many older missals and prayer books use the phrase “world without end.” I would think that “for ever and ever” is more accurate with “per omnia saecula saeculorum”, though I am not a linguist! :-)

  4. Matt: Thanks!

    You know, we can get all excited, and rightly, about the return of older liturgical forms and the treasures which go with them, but if we are going to have any sort of revival of Catholic identity we need more than pretty images and tales of successes.

    We also need a new and vibrant liturgical theology at the heart of the sort of new liturgical movement Papa Ratzinger called for in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy.  The Holy Father named that book at Romano Guardini’s famous book, precisely with the hope that he might spark such a movement.  In various works in which he focuses on the liturgy, he works as a theologian

    Along side the eye candy and successes (and obstacles) I pass along here, I want to share my own response to Papa‘s call.   That’s why for a sermon on the Feast of the Assumption, I move somewhat beyond the usual “Mary was really nice” and “We should be nice too”, all too often the sum total of many sermons for Marian feasts I have heard.  And do we really need to hear all the details about the feast again?  

  5. andrea whiting says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely~~~~(is that the correct word?) Such beautiful music, and to hear the Incensing during it! Takes me back, Father, takes me back! I am a transplanted Yankee (Philadelphia)living in the Diocese of Raleigh, and a 40 year convert to the Church. Celebrations such as this are few and far between in our Diocese, but hopefully will grow with the instition of the Norms. Homily ain’t bad either! Many blessings and ‘thanx for sharing’!

  6. Christabel says:

    Ah, Father, all that “cutting, cutting, cutting” produced a jewel!

  7. Father,
    Thank you for the sermon on the Feast of The Assumption. It was spirit-filled like the ones I used to listen to every mass before Vatican II.
    The music was inspiring as well, a chance to absorb the words of your sermon without being distracted from the purpose of the Holy Feast Day.

  8. Thanks for the homily, Fr Z,

    This is such a wonderful family feast.

    Of course, the Immaculate, Virgin Mary, Mother of God, assumed soul and body into heaven, was not subject to death since she was not affected by original sin.

    Yet, a sword of sorrow did pierce her heart not only upon Calvary, but also in an ongoing Gethsemane of seeing the indifference of man to God’s love for us. This clarity, and, because of that, sorrow, is enough to kill anyone. It is said that Christ would have died of a broken Heart even if He was not crucified, for the agony that He suffered in Gethsemane with the sweat of blood is possible, but does such damage to the heart that it is impossible to survive.

    O.K. But, anyway, regardless of that, even if Mary were only wisked up to heaven, she would still have to change, as Saint Paul says, in the twinkling of an eye, a change which is as good as death, a change transforming the body into a spiritual body, able to take in the beatific vision.

    I don’t think that the East and the West have much to argue about on this one. It’s a matter of love with the Blessed Mother. Hasn’t it always been that way. Just look at her Son, so much like His Mother!

    Let’s look to heaven by seeing our heavenly Father through, with and in Christ, in the Most Blessed Sacrament at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ makes us one with Himself, members of His Body. Even if we, the members, are here upon this earth, He sees the Father for us.


  9. Iakovos says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    Thank you for your wonderful homily. Perhaps unknown to you, the Fourth “Crusade,” to which you refer in the beginning of your homily, was one of the most disgraceful acts of the inhumanity of Christians to other Christians in the history of Christendom. The Doge of Venice was returning from the sack of Constantinople, which resulted in the occupation of the city for most of the 13th century and the looting of the city (you referred to it as “booty”). I wonder if the city of Venice will one day return to the Patriarchate of Constantinople the items stolen from there and transported to Venice (and other places) 800 years ago? [Whether or not they do, none of that is relevant to the sermon and to focus on that misses my point. The return of those spoils, an interesting question (but not here), is a subject for an different entry. – Fr. Z]

  10. Christabel: “cutting, cutting, cutting”

    Not easy, btw. I am glad for the help of a friend, a far smarter friend, for some editing.

  11. Fr Pecchie says:

    Dear Fr Z
    Outstanding Homily! Thanks for sharing it. Thank you for the reminder of the Transcendence of God. A fittingly honorable tribute to our Mother and Queen!
    Oremus pro invicem!

  12. I cleaned up and amplified somewhat the audio of the Offertory.

  13. Kirk says:

    “And so, after learning that INEFFABLE name…..”

    Love it.

  14. As “ineffable” left my lips, I knew everyone understood precisely what it meant.

  15. walter says:

    Wish I could have made it but i enjoyed a wonderful Gregirian Mass at Holy Innocents in Manhattan.

  16. Kimberly says:

    If Holy Mass doesn’t bring us to awe at transcendence, it is not proper worship. Awe at transcendence is the very object of religion itself…

    Oh, Father! This IS the Traditional Latin Mass! I am a “fallen, wounded mortal”…”awe at transcendence” had been so hard to come by before I began attending the TLM. Thank you for a lovely and encouraging homily.

  17. Dermot (reader from Ireland :-) ) says:

    Thank you Fr for making this available. I look forward to listening. May God bless you and your continued good work for the Church.

  18. JCD says:

    EXCELLENT! Thanks! But please, no shouting! I like your
    podcasts alittle better ’cause you sound more relaxed and
    not as intense [This wasn’t a PODCAzT, this was a sermon in a large, filled church with less than excellent sound system. – Fr. Z ] but someone did mention that they had
    difficulty hearing…your intense emphasis was emphatic
    and the content was uplifting and transcendent + : )

  19. carolyn says:

    It must be me, but you sound alittle angry… [It’s just you.]
    it could be that I’ve met several “bully” type men…Fr.Finnigan was posting about it.. you are just emphatic. :)

  20. Greg says:

    Chill, Fr.Z…Like duh?…we know it’s a sermon in a church and that it’s not a podcazt…the dear woman was just siting her preference.

  21. Sid says:

    Your sermon, Father, is a splendid combination of the aesthetic and the spiritual, working the history of art into a spiritual reality, until the beautiful and the divine become one. (I\’ve said this poorly, I know). I pray your sermon will be remembered years from now as a shining example of the Ratzinger Era. I rose from my computer with joy and hope.

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