Regina in Caelum Assumpta
In this month of August, the illumination illustrating the cover of your Magnificat is taken from a 15th-century Book of Hours made in Bruges, Belgium. Raised up by seven angels—the number an homage to her perfections—Mary prepares to enter into the City of God. In her passage to the highest heavens, the myriad palm fronds that hailed Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem here do her honor. On her head, prefiguring her crown as Queen of heaven, a diadem of fine pearls radiates with threefold significance. Each of its pearls symbolizes the tears wept by Our Lady of Seven Sorrows. But this diadem also evokes the gate of heaven and, through it, our entry into the new Jerusalem, whose twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl (Rv 21:21). Finally, the fine pearls symbolize the graces showered upon the Morning Star, she who from the dawn of creation was most blessed among women: her perfect and pure beauty, her transparent love, and, above all, her luminous humility. This is why the artist represents Mary in her glorious Assumption as she was at the Visitation: so young, so modest, so humble, so full of wonderment.
Here then is our little sister, Mary of Nazareth, welcomed as blessed to the bosom of God. She has shared our joys and our triumphs, our tears and our sorrows. From the great height of her glory, she does not forget us. It was not in vain that God entrusted us to her as to our cherished mama. If the artist represents her rising to heaven with hands joined, it is because she well intends to spend her eternity praying for us to the Lord our God! So let us have confidence for, as Péguy opined, she who is infinitely moving can also be infinitely moved. And, young girl as she is, she is the only one able to speak to God with the authority of a Mother
Pierre-Marie Dumont
Assumption of the Virgin, 15th c., Cluny Museum, Paris, France. © RMN-GP / Gérard Blot.