Vigil of the Assumption of Our Lady Into Heaven
Blessed Mary lived, cared for by St. John, for twelve years after Our Lord‘s Resurrection. Her life was spent in helping the Apostles and in praying for the conversion of the world. On the third day after Mary’s death, when the Apostles gathered around her tomb, they found it empty. The sacred body had been carried up to the celestial paradise. Jesus Himself came to conduct her thither the whole court of heaven came to welcome with songs of triumph the Mother of the Divine Word. Why was Mary’s body received into heaven instead of remaining in the earth, like the rest of mankind? The grave had no power over one who was immaculate. Her flesh could not see corruption. Her body had been over shadowed by the Holy Ghost. It had been the sacred temple in which had dwelt God Incarnate, and so it had a claim to ascend whither the Body of her Son had already gone before. But the chief reason was that as she had shared in each detail in the sorrows and agony of her Son, so it was right that she should take part in His triumph. Let us ask of God, through Mary’s intercession, the grace of a happy death.
St Eusebius, Confessor
Eusebius of Vercelli (c. March 2, 283 – August 1, 371) was a bishop and saint in Italy. Along with Athanasius, he affirmed the divinity of Jesus against Arianism. Born in Sardinia, he was a lector in Rome before he became the first bishop in Vercelli (in northern Italy), probably sometime in the early- to mid-340s. According to a letter of Ambrose to the congregation in Vercelli two decades after Eusebius’ death, the local leaders recognized his piety and thus elected him rather than local candidates (Epistola lxiii, Ad Vercellenses). At some point he led his clergy to form a monastic community modelled on that of the Eastern cenobites (Ambrose, Ep. lxxxi and Serm. lxxxix). For this reason the Canons Regular of St. Augustine honor him along with Augustine as their founder (Proprium Canon. Reg., 16 December).
In 354, Pope Liberius asked Eusebius to join Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari in carrying a request to the Emperor Constantius II at Milan, pleading for the emperor to convoke a council to end the dissentions over the status of Athanasius of Alexandria and the matter of Arianism. The synod was held in Milan in 355. Eusebius attended part of the council, but refused to condemn Athanasius and so was exiled, first to Scythopolis in Syria, under the watchful eye of the Arian bishop Patrophilus, whom Eusebius calls his jailer, then to Cappadocia, and lastly to the Thebaid, in Upper Egypt. Several letters surrounding the council written to or by Eusebius still survive, as do two letters written by him during his exile.
On the accession of Julian, the exiled bishops were free to return to their sees, in 362. Eusebius passed through Alexandria and there attended Athanasius’ synod of 362 which confirmed the divinity of the Holy Ghost and the orthodox doctrine concerning the Incarnation. The synod also agreed both to deal mildly with the repentant bishops who had signed Arianizing creeds under pressure and to impose severe penalties upon the leaders of several of the Arianizing factions. While still on his way home, Eusebius took the synod’s decisions to Antioch and hoped to reconcile the schism there. The church was divided between adherents of Eustathius of Antioch, who had been deposed and exiled by the Arians in 331, and those of the Meletians. Since Meletius’ election in 361 was brought about chiefly by the Arians, the Eustathians would not recognize him, although he solemnly proclaimed his orthodox faith after his episcopal consecration. The Alexandrian synod had desired that Eusebius should reconcile the Eustathians with Bishop Meletius, by purging his election of whatever might have been irregular in it, but Eusebius found that Lucifer of Cagliari had also passed that way, and had unilaterally consecrated Paulinus, the leader of the Eustathians, as Bishop of Antioch.
Unable to reconcile the factions, he continued towards home, visiting other churches along the way in the interest of promulgating and enforcing the orthodox faith. Once back in Vercelli in 363, he continued to be a leader with Hilary of Poitiers in defeating Arianism in the Western Church, and was one of the chief opponents of the Arian bishop Auxentius of Milan. He died in 370 or 371. Later legends of his martyrdom have no historical basis. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates his feast on August 2. His former feast day of December 16 roughly coincided with his elevation as bishop. His current feast day roughly coincides with the anniversary of his death. Vercelli Cathedral is dedicated to him.
Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary/with a Commemoration of St Eusebius, Confessor – Friday in the Eleventh week after Pentecost within the Octave of St. Lawrence
Violet Vestments – Missa ‘Vultum Tuum’
INTROIT – Psalm 44: 13, 15-16
Vultum tuum deprecabúntur omnes dívites plebis: adducéntur regi vírgines post eam: próximæ ejus adducéntur tibi in lætítia et exsultatióne. Ps. 44. 2. Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea regi. V. Gloria Patri.
All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance: after her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbours shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. V. Glory be to the Father.
O God, Who didst deign to choose for Thy dwelling the virginal womb of the blessed Mary, grant, we beseech Thee, that defended by her protection we may assist with joy at her festival. Who livest and reignest.
COMMEMORATION of St Eusebius, Confessor
O God, Who dost gladden us by the annual feast of blessed Eusebius, Thy confessor, mercifully grant on this day of his heavenly birth, that we may grow like him in deed. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Wisdom 24: 23-31
As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that harkeneth to me shall not be confounded, and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
GRADUAL – Psalm 44: 11-12, 14
Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary: who, without spot, wast found the Mother of the Saviour. V. Virgin Mother of God, He Whom the whole world containeth not, being made man, shut Himself in thy womb.
GOSPEL – Luke 11: 26-27
At that time: As Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.
OFFERTORY – Genesis 3:15
Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Creator of all things: thou didst bring forth Him Who made thee, and remainest forever a virgin.
May our offerings be commended to Thy mercy, O Lord, by the prayer of the mother of God, Whom Thou hast removed from this world that she may with confidence intercede for us with Thee. Through the same Lord.
COMMEMORATION of St Eusebius, Confessor
We offer these sacrifices of praise, O Lord, in memory of Your Saints, trusting that by them we may be delivered from both present and future evils.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dóminus, Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus, qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the eternal Father.
Grant Thine assistance, O merciful God, to our frailty, that we, who anticipate the festival of the holy Mother of God, may, by the aid of her intercession, rise from our iniquity. Through the same Lord.
COMMEMORATION of St Eusebius, Confessor
Refreshed by meat and drink from heaven, O God, we humbly entreat Thee, that we may be protected by the prayers of him in whose memory we have partaken. Through our Lord.