From the Pastor: Special Blessings on the Assumption
This coming Saturday, August 15, we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Of historical value is a special blessing given that day to herbs, fruit, grain, and other produce. This blessing takes place in the church before Mass begins and is done, of course, in Latin. The Sancta Missa website includes this helpful explanation: This blessing comes from Germany, and formulas for it are found as early as the tenth century. The blessing of herbs was reserved only to the feast of the Assumption. Herbs had not our restricted English meaning but included all kinds of cultivated and wild flowers, especially those which in some way had a symbolic relation to our Lady. The people brought herbs to church on her feast not only to secure for themselves another blessed object, but also to make of the occasion a harvest festival of thanksgiving to God for His great bounty manifested in the abundant fruits of the earth. The herbs were placed on the altar, and even beneath the altarcloths, so that from this close contact with the Eucharist they might receive a special consecration, over and above the ordinary sacramental blessing of the Church.
Below is a slightly abbreviated English translation of the blessings I will bestow upon all such produce brought to the church before Mass that day. You may note that the blessing asked for (and therefore given by God, for He gives what is asked) includes “healing of sick bodies” and “keep[ing] away disease and adversity” as well as being “a protection against diabolical mockery, cunning, and deception” which things are truly desired and needed during these pandemic and demonic times! Note also that the blessings extend also to the animals who will use/eat them and are even powerful when the produce is simply “kept, carried, or otherwise used” before or instead of being eaten! So, for physical and spiritual health in this life as assistance in getting into Heaven, bring your herbs and fruit next week!
BLESSING OF HERBS on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: Lord, heed my prayer. All: And let my cry come unto you.
P: The Lord be with you. All: And with your spirit.
P. Let us pray. Almighty everlasting God, who by your word alone brought into being the heavens, earth, sea, things seen and things unseen, and garnished the earth with plants and trees for the use of man and beast; who appointed each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only for the food of living creatures, but for the healing of sick bodies as well; with mind and word we urgently call on you in your great kindness to bless ✠ these various herbs and fruits, thus increasing their natural powers with the newly given grace of your blessing. May they keep away disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in your name; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
P. Let us pray. God, who through Moses, your servant, directed the children of Israel to carry their sheaves of new grain to the priests for a blessing, to pluck the finest fruits of the orchard, and to make merry before you, the Lord their God; hear our supplications, and shower blessings ✠ in abundance upon us and upon these bundles of new grain, new herbs, and this assortment of produce which we gratefully present to you on this festival, blessing ✠ them in your name. Grant that men, cattle, flocks, and beasts of burden find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores, injuries, spells, against the fangs of serpents or poisonous creatures. May these blessed objects be a protection against diabolical mockery, cunning, and deception wherever they are kept, carried, or otherwise used. Lastly, through the merits of the blessed Virgin Mary, whose Assumption we are celebrating, may we all, laden with the sheaves of good works, deserve to be taken up to heaven; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
Let us pray. God, who on this day raised up to highest heaven the rod of Jesse, the Mother of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that by her prayers and patronage you might communicate to our mortal nature the fruit of her womb, your very Son; we humbly implore you to help us use these fruits of the soil for our temporal and everlasting welfare, aided by the power of your Son and the prayers of His glorious Mother; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
P. And may the blessing of almighty God, Father, ✠ Son, and Holy Spirit, come upon these creatures and remain always. All: Amen.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka