From a translation of the Life of the Virgin Mary, by Msgr. Gentilucci, 1856
“if the Apostles of the Gentiles, although he was endowed with the highest intelligence, the greatest eloquence, and, what is more, a divine inspiration, yet avowed that he could not state what, by a special privilege, he had witnessed with his own eyes, how shall we, weak beings that we are, dare to recount the welcome with which heaven greeted Mary, and the glory to which she was raised? Where below shall we find similitude or imagery? Yet we cannot pass over in silence the coronation and glory of her who was the holiest of all the daughters of Adam; we shall therefore describe her triumph as best we may. The merciful heart of May will deign to accept our humble strain, for a mother ever loves to hear the voice of her child stammering forth her praises.
“…in some measure, to satisfy the reader’s pious curiosity, we shall endeavor to describe, or rather, as painters say, to make a rough sketch, of Mary’s glorious triumph.
“…Angels selected from the choirs of heaven stand before her in respect, forming three legions. The most favored are to bear the precious burden on their wings, overlaid like a splendid buckler; others, surrounding her on every side, guard her, as did the threescore valiant ones of Israel the couch where Solomon reposed. The last, divided into several choirs, make the air melodious with new canticles ….
“Borne by so fair and numerous an escort, Mary rises to the starry vault of heaven. She beholds the silver moon bow with respect to her feet as she passed, and the great orb of day makes her a splendid halo with his rays. The nearer she approaches, the more the abode of the saints is radiant with joy, and acclamations redouble…[o]ur Divine Redeemer, not satisfied with the convoy sent to meet his Mother, comes forth Himself with the rest of the angels and all the saints…
“ When the heavenly hosts behold their beloved Queen enter soul and body, all heaven became one harmony, all in rivalry sang her glorious triumph. The angels praise her, the archangels congratulate her, the virtues glorify her. The principalities exult; the powers, dominations, thrones, leap for joy. The seraphim exult her; the cherubim glorify her; the patriarchs admire her; the prophets untiringly contemplate her, the Apostles and martyrs salute in her their mistress and their Queen. David cannot withhold his joy on beholding such a fruit of his royal line. Joachim and Anne seek first to press to their bosom their beloved daughter…the vault of heaven resounds with new canticles, with melody till then unheard in heaven…”
As a special treat for eye and ear – as well as soul – on this glorious feast day of the Assumption, scroll down to locate ““Angélicas Milicias” and listen while you enjoy the beautiful painting above by the 17th century painter, Hererra. Then in quiet contemplation enjoy the following poem of Chiabrera:
Mine is the task the faithful heart to tell,
How Mary rose triumphant to the skies.
But who will aid my muse, my mind impel,
To unfold the Assumption’s glory to their eyes.
When from the tomb, which by a stern decree
Her radiant form received, recalled she rose
O’er angel choirs by God’s behest set free,
She mounts in glory, flinging as she goes,
From snowy robes, from azure mantle’s folds
A sea of purple rays and crimson blent with gold.
Around her virgin brow effulgent shone
A coronal entwined by heaven’s own hand,
Twelve stars her head adorn, not one outdone
In glory by the sun of morning land,
As rising, he prepares to run his way;
Or when what time he meets the lion’s sign,
O’er parched fields he pours his noontide ray;
Or when, where living clouds his calm decline,
Soothe with the splendors of unnumbered hues,
And evening tints a holy joy diffuse.
Where’er she treads the rich celestial plain,
The angel legions bow; the banners lower;
The golden trumpet blows, while forth their strain,
The emerald harp and lyre melodious pour.
Her name beloved, resounds on every side;
And fills with music the celestial mount;
The blessed her triumph hymn in glorious tide –
The mountain cedar, she ; the sealed fount,
The chosen myrrh, its fragrance scattering wide,
The plane tree by the stream – the aurora in its pride.
Amid this concert pure, she soars aloft,
Borne up by power divine, and as she speeds,
The air has purer grown, the heavens more soft,
Each planet brighter, as his gaze he feeds
On that all-dazzling form. – But whither bold,
Vain tongue wouldst thou presume? Thy efforts close
The Queen whose hand the keys of mercy hold,
Her eyes of pity turns upon our woes;
And when we fall, when sin proclaims its sway,
She lifts us up, and wards the wrath away.
– Chiabrera (June 18, 1552 – October 14, 1638)