Select Sunday > Sunday Web Site Home > the Word > Thoughts from the Early Church
Thoughts from the
Early Church
Solemnity of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15, 2021

The Mighty One has done great things to me and has exalted the humble.

(Lk: 1:49)
Commentary by Nicolas Cabasilas

It was fitting that the Virgin should share in every aspect of her Son’s providential care for us. Just as she had bestowed her flesh and blood on him and had received a share of his graces in return, so in like manner she also participated in all his pains and sufferings.

O blessed one, what words can adequately praise your virtue, or the graces you received from our Savior.

When his side was wounded by the lance as he hung on the cross a sword pierced his Mother’s heart, as saintly Simeon had foretold. And so, after our Savior’s death, she was the first to conform herself to the Son who resembled her, and hence she shared in his resurrection before all others.

When her Son had broken the tyranny of death by rising from the grave, the Virgin saw him and heard his salutation; and when the time came for him to depart for heaven, she escorted him on his way, as far as she could.

Finally, when he had gone away, she took his place among the apostles, uniting herself with the other companions of our Savior by means of her good works, through which she benefitted the whole human race. She more truly than anyone else made up what was lacking in Christ; for who could more fittingly do so than his Mother?

Now it was necessary for her most holy soul to be separated from her hallowed body; and it was indeed released and united with the soul of her Son, the second light with the first.

For a short time her body remained upon earth and then it too departed. It had to go everywhere the Savior had gone, and to shed its light on both the living and the dead. It had to sanctify nature in every respect; then, at last, it could take its appointed place.

And so the grave received it for a short time, but heaven soon took from the grave that new earth, that spiritual body, that treasury of our life, more revered than the angels, holier than the archangels.

His throne was restored to the King, paradise to the tree of life, the sun’s orb to the light, the tree to its fruit, the Mother to her Son; for in every respect she was in accord with her Child.

O blessed one, what words can adequately praise your virtue, or the graces you received from our Savior for the benefit of the whole human race? It would be impossible to do so even if one could speak in the tongues of humans and of angels, to use the words of Paul.

It seems to me that part of the eternal happiness in store for the righteous will be really to know and proclaim your graces in a fitting way. For these no eye has seen nor ear heard. To use the noble John’s words: The world cannot contain them.

The only theater in which your marvelous gifts can fittingly be displayed is the new heaven and the new earth where the sun is the sun of Righteousness whom darkness neither precedes nor follows. The Savior himself will proclaim your worth, and the angels will applaud.

Marian Homilies: PO 19 [1926] 508-509)

Nicolas Cabasilas (b. 1322/23) was a native of Thessalonica. Alter receiving an excellent education, first at Thessalonica and then in Constantinople, he entered the imperial service, in which for ten years he played a prominent part. After the deposition in 1354 of his friend, the emperor John VI Cantacuzenos, Cabasilas entered the Manganon monastery near Constantinople, and probably became a priest. This was the period of his greatest literary output, his two principal works being The Life in Christ and A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, both of which were written for lay people. The kernel of Cabasilas’ teaching which was praised by the Council of Trent and by Bossuet, is the Christians’ deification by means of the sacraments. Cabasilas died some time after the capture of Thessalonica by the Turks in 1387.

Return to the Word
Edith Barnecut, OSB, a consultant for the International Committee for English in the Liturgy, was responsible for the final version of many of the readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Journey with the Fathers
Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels
 - Year B, pp. 146-147.
To purchase or learn more about
this published work and its companion volumes,
go to

Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go
Return to the Word