Since I'm a visual person, when I think about the Assumption, I immediately unfile the images given us by the great artists of the centuries. I'm most familiar with the paintings of Murillo, Reni, Champaigne, and Titian -- though I couldn't have told you these artists' names until this morning when I looked them up. In my research I found many other beautiful renditions of this Mystery, too. Here are a few. (Click on the images for a bigger view.) How many do you recognize?
Madonna in Glory
Egid Q. Assam
Philippe De Champaigne
Kneeling in the foreground:
Left, St. Thomas the Apostle;
right, St. Michael the Archangel
The Madonna in Glory
Andrea Del Sarto
Peter Paul Rubens
This one (above) and the next, I had saved on my computer, but I can't find the artists! I hunted and hunted. If anyone can tell me, will you? I especially love the happy expression on the Blessed Mother's face in the last painting.
* Though it had been long a pious belief of Catholics, Pope Pius XII verified and proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on November 1st, 1950. Today's feast is one of the six non-Sunday Holy Day of Obligation celebrated throughout the world.
* For more beautiful Catholic art galleries, you can go to CatholicTradition.org.
* For some ideas incorporating the feast in the kitchen, Catholic Cuisine is the go-to blog always.
Always a great source for Catholic customs, Fish eaters offers the following :
The giving of blessed herbs, fruit baskets, and flowers is a lovely custom of the day, and our prayer is that we emulate Mary by using the blessed herbs to bring healing to the world.
In some coastal areas, the seas are also blessed on this day, especially in fishing communties. The passages from the 21st chapter of the Gospel of St. John in which Jesus went fishing with His Apostles are read, along with sections of Luke 5. The Magnificat is prayed and then the sea is sprinkled with Holy Water and the Sign of the Cross made over it. It is believed that to swim in the waters blessed on this day is curative.
As on all Marian feasts, praying the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, the Litany of Loreto, the Akathistos Hymn to the Theotokos, etc., would be most appropriate. (you can download this Litany, in Microsoft Word .doc format, in English or in Latin).