Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mary's Assumption ~ Her Easter!

Coptic Dormition ~ Mary leaves her belt behind 

COSMOLOGY HAS TO DO WITH HOW PEOPLE SEE THE UNIVERSE. An ancient cosmology taught that Hades (the land of the dead) was below us and heaven above, with us sandwiched in between. Indeed during the Soviet years elderly women were taken up in planes to show them that heaven was not in the sky above. So these Ascension and Assumption images which have Jesus and Mary flying through space have more to tell us than, "We'll find them if we just go up high enough."

Maybe their going up though suggests that theology begin to reflect more on space itself. The Christmas Carol Unto Us a Boy is Born comes to us in Latin (Puer nobis nascitur) from the late 16th century Germany. We might be able to sing the verse here:

Unto us a Boy is born!
King of all creation
Came He to a world forlorn
the Lord of every nation.

King of all creation! We need to reflect more on the title Cosmic Christ. Remember the psalm verse - He knows the number of the stars and calls each one by name. (Psalm 147:4)

And  aren't we capable of  a new appreciative awe as we gaze at the stunning images sent back to us from the Hubble Space telescope. Hubble Ultra Deep Field. For a million seconds the telescope peered into a patch of black sky and this is what it revealed was out there!

To look at the image is to see light that originated billions of years ago!  And not only that, but when someone sent me an image similar to this there was a caption beneath that read, "These are not stars, they're galaxies."  Outside Orlando, Florida there is a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the title: Queen of the Universe. Oh, to contemplate this!

But while we consider with satisfaction that there are objects in the sky that make life easier and more pleasant for us - satellites and jets that connect us - there are also new weapons of war that we're  becoming familiar with only lately because they have been kept secret for so long. 

Drones are un-manned robot controlled rocket-laden aircraft that our country is presently using in Pakistan and Yemen. The use of drones is increasingly explained and debated on websites and publications that claim to be more or less authoritative. We have homework to do. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."  Ishaan Tharoor is a staff writer for TIME Magazine. In February of this year he wrote: "The more we learn about drones the more we should know about who they kill." 

For days in this Assumption Countdown we've been looking at the most amazing images of the Holy Mother and Child. But if we're going to contemplate these images we need to see the other images of Mother and Child found throughout our weapon-burdened world. Thousands of civilians have been killed by drone attacks, among them hundreds of children.

This woman with her four year old child, killed by a drone rocket, are a holy mother and child too. That's not a political statement. It's not an anti-American statement. It's not a liberal statement. It's a human-spiritual statement. One could say that as the Catholic and Orthodox Churches so feature icons in their prayer and worship, it is incumbent upon them to pray before this icon too. 

Now some people will say, "I can't look at this," "This is too upsetting." "You ruined my Assumption Day with this picture." Of course it's upsetting. All the more why it should be placed next to the icon of the Mother of God and Her Divine Son in our homes - where the candle burns. Some think we have the luxury of not having to see these things. We don't, especially Christians who venerate the Virgin Mary and her Christ-Son.  I'd even suggest that if we don't see these things, we really can't pray rightly.

Collateral means: "We didn't mean to hit the school." "The playground wasn't the target." "It's regrettable that the family was in the way." "It was an accident." "The robo-drone was aimed at the cave, but the boy and his sheep walked too close."

Mark 9: 35-37

I can't say if Carl Bloch knew that a palm branch is the symbol of victory. This is why we hold palm branches before Easter, celebrating Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem as he began the holy work of his dying and victorious rising. In Western iconology, martyr-saints hold palm branches, the symbol of their victory as witnesses to the truth of Christ.

Here perhaps as the painter has placed a palm branch in the hand of this beautiful child whom Jesus guards, Carl Boch has in mind the martyrdom of children all around the world: children martyred in war, in domestic violence, in sex crimes, in drug deal crossfire, in their classrooms by madmen, in abortion.

Oh Lady, Queen of the Universe,
who goes up today beyond the veil
and who leaves behind your belt
as a token of love,
we sing with angels
an Easter tune
to your happy ascent.

In our littleness
our fear,
our brokenness,
loss and
we ask
all the more:
Leave behind
something of your heart,
that will take us up
even now
to the higher things:
your heaven-hearted awareness,
your compassion-ated mind,
your cosmic intent,
your insistence on life,
that we would glorify
the Creator
and know you as our Mother;
your Son as our brother.



  1. The picture might be upsetting, but why should it ruin anything? These images fill our newspapers and TV screens daily. We have become immune to images of carnage and human suffering. Maybe by reading this, people might stop and reflect on what we are doing to our fellow human beings. Here on the Earth we share, our lives all given to us by God, let us be brothers and sisters to all.

  2. I thoroughly enjoy reading each post and positively love your little prayers that you have written and shared with us. I always find that they call me to examine my conscience and reflect upon my own feelings towards humanity and towards my own sense of who I am supposed to be in this earthly place.

  3. Kathia Cosantino, CAAugust 15, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    I realize this is from last year's Feast of the Assumption, but it is so relevant with everything taking place in the world at this moment. I thank you for your countdown as it made the Feast all the more anticipated and meaningful. I pray that we would all continue to pray to the Blessed Mother for awareness and peace for the world.