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Novena to Our Lady of the Assumption

Death of the Virgin, Hugo van der Goes, c 1480
Death of the Virgin, Hugo van der Goes, c 1480
Death of the Virgin, Hugo van der Goes, c 1480

First Day, August 6

GLORY OF MARY IN DEATH

She was well prepared to die

LET us meditate how glorious Mary was at the moment of her death, because in life she was so well prepared to die: first, by reason of her ardent longing to see her God and to be again united to her Son; and next, by the unapproachable merit of her consummate perfection. Then, reflecting how different we are from Mary in our own practice of preparation for our death, let us say :

1. Most holy Virgin, who, in order to prepare thyself for a holy death, didst live in continual desire after the beatific vision;  oh, take from us all vain desires for the frail things of earth. Three Hail Marys.

2. Most holy Virgin, who, in order to prepare thyself holily to die, didst in life ever sigh to be united to thy Son Jesus;  obtain for us fidelity to Jesus, even unto death. Three Hail Marys.

3. Most Holy Virgin, who, in order that thou mightest die holily, didst attain an unapproachable height of merit and of virtue; intercede for us, that we may know that virtue alone, and the grace of God, will lead us to salvation. Three Hail Marys.

Let us now give praise to Mary, so prudent in preparing for death; and whilst we exalt her glory, we will unite with the nine angel choirs who, on her Assumption into heaven, escorted her; singing with the first choir —

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then,

V. The Holy Mother of God is exalted.

R. Into the heavenly kingdom above the angelic choirs.

We beseech thee, Lord, pardon the shortcomings of thy servants ; that we who by our works are not able to please thee, may be saved by the intercession of the Mother of thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who, with thee and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen.

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, graciously look down upon thy servant Leo, whom thou hast chosen to be the pastor of thy Church ; and grant him, we beseech thee, both by word and example, so to direct those over whom thou hast placed him, that, together with the flock intrusted to his care, he may attain eternal life.

O God, our refuge and strength, who art the Author of all holiness, listen to the pious prayers of thy Church, and grant that what we ask in faith we may effectually obtain. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Second Day, August 7

GLORY OF MARY IN DEATH

She died in the midst of the Apostles, her Son Jesus assisting.

LET us meditate how glorious Mary was at her death, in that she was comforted not only by the apostles and saints, but also by her dear Son Jesus; and while we contemplate the unspeakable joy which filled her soul at this grace granted alone to her, let us entreat her for ourselves :

1. Glorious Virgin, who for thy consolation didst merit to die in the blessed company of apostles and of saints; obtain for us, that when we breathe forth our souls we may feel thy presence, and that of our holy patrons, assisting us. Three Hail Marys.

2. Glorious Virgin, who at the moment of thy death wast comforted by the sight of thy dear Son Jesus; oh, pray for us, that at that awful moment we too may be comforted by receiving Jesus in the most holy Viaticum. Three Hail Marys.

3. Glorious Virgin, who didst deposit thy spirit into the arms of Jesus; assist us, that we may deposit our souls also into the arms of Jesus, always desirous that his most holy will be done. Three Hail Marys.

Come, then, let us magnify the glory of Mary, assisted at her death by her Son Jesus and his Apostles, and joining in jubilee at her triumph, say with the second choir of the Heavenly Host :

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


Third Day, August 8

GLORY OF MARY IN DEATH

She died in an ecstasy of love.

LET us meditate how glorious the most holy Mary was in her death, because she died in a very ecstasy of the love of God ; and desiring that we, too, may be strengthened by that holy fire of love, let us ask for her help :

1. Mary, most happy Virgin, who didst die of the vehemence of thy love of God; make it thy care that in our hearts, as God doth will, there be lit up this living fire of his love. Three Hail Marys.

2. Mary, most happy Virgin, who dying of divine love didst teach what our love of God ought to be; pray for us, that we may never leave our God in life or death. Three Hail Marys.

3. Mary, most happy Virgin, who, in leaving this mortal life, by force of an ecstasy of love didst make known the fire which ever burnt within thy heart; obtain for us, at least, a spark of that same fire, to give us true sorrow for our sins. Three Hail Marys.

Let us with the third choir of angels now exalt the ineffable glory of Mary, inflamed with the love of her God.

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


Fourth Day, August

GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH

In her dead body.

LET us meditate how glorious Mary was in her dead body, because it was adorned with marvellous splendour and majesty, and spread around an odour of sanctity, which was the very fragrance of Paradise, and because innumerable miracles were wrought at the sight of it. Then, thinking upon our own miseries, let us say :

1. O Lady most pure, who, by reason of thy virginal purity, didst merit the glory to be so bright and so majestic in thy body after death; obtain for us the strength to detach ourselves from every foul spirit of impurity. Three Hail Marys.

2. O Lady most pure, who, by reason of thy rare virtue didst from thy dead body spread around the sweetness of Paradise; make it thy care that we may edify our neighbour by our life, and never more by our bad example become a stumbling-block to others. Three Hail Marys.

3. O Lady most pure, at the sight of whose body numberless bodily maladies were cured; intercede for us, that by thy prayers all our spiritual ills may be healed. Three Hail Marys.

Come, let us rejoice for the glory given to the dead body of Mary, magnifying her with the fourth choir of the angels.

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


Fifth Day, August 10

GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH

In the restoration of life to her body.

LET us meditate how glorious Mary was after death, since by the power of the Most High her body, raised again to life, forthwith acquired the four gifts of brightness, subtilty, agility, and impassibility; and, filled with consolation at the excellency of her glory, let us thus invoke her :

1. Lady exalted, who wast so gloriously raised again to life by thy God; help us so to live on earth that we also may rise again like thee in the last judgment-day. Three Hail Marys.

2. O Lady exalted, to whose risen body were given the gifts of brightness and of subtilty, by reason of the bright example and the humility of thy life on earth ; pray for us, that all contemptuous affectation may be removed from us, that so our souls, being freed from all self-love, may be adorned with humility. Three Hail Marys.

3. O Lady exalted, by the gifts of agility and impassibility with which thy risen body was glorified, by reason of thy spiritual zeal and patience while on earth; obtain for us courage valiantly to mortify our bodies, and patiently to curb all our inordinate inclinations. Three Hail Marys.

Then let us render due praise to Mary, and magnify the glory which adorned her risen body, while with the fifth choir we exalt her.

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


Sixth Day, August 11

GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH.

In her Assumption into heaven.

LET us meditate how gloriously Mary was taken up to heaven, being escorted thither by many legions of the heavenly hosts and blessed souls drawn by her prayers out of Purgatory; and rejoicing in that majestic triumph, let us with all humility offer to her our supplications :

1. Great Queen, who wast assumed so royally into the kingdom of eternal peace; obtain for us that all sordid earthly thoughts be taken away from us, and that our hearts may be fixed upon the contemplation of the unchangeable happiness of heaven. Three Hail Marys.

2. Great Queen, who wast assumed into heaven amidst a company of the Angelic Hierarchy; obtain for us strength to overcome the wiles of’ all our enemies, and that we may lend a docile ear to the counsels of that good angel who continually assists and governs us. Three Hail Marys.

3. Great Queen, who wast assumed into heaven most gloriously, in the company of souls drawn by thy prayers out of Purgatory: free us from the slavery of sin, and make us worthy to praise thee for all eternity. Three Hail Marys.

Let us not cease to applaud at the royal triumph of Mary; and uniting our homage with the sixth choir of the angels, let us honour the singular glory of her assumption into heaven, while we say :

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


 Seventh Day, August 12

GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH

She is enthroned in heaven.

LET us meditate how glorious Mary is in heaven, because she is enthroned there as queen of the universe, and is ever receiving homage and veneration from countless hosts of angels and of saints; and assisting at her royal throne, let us implore her aid :

1. Sovereign Queen of the universe, who for thy incomparable merit art raised to such high glory in the heavens; in thy pity look upon our miseries, and rule us by the gentle sway of thy protection. Three Hail Marys.

2. Sovereign Queen of the universe, who art ever receiving honour and homage from all the heavenly hosts; accept, we pray thee, these our invocations, offered with such reverence as befits thy dignity and greatness. Three Hail Marys.

3. Sovereign Queen of the universe; by that glory which thou hast by reason of thy high place in heaven, vouchsafe to take us into the number of thy servants, and obtain for us grace that, with quick and ready will, we may faithfully keep the precepts of our God and Lord. Three Hail Marys.

Let us take part in the joy of the angels praising Mary, and rejoice because we know that she is raised to the dignity of Queen of the universe; while with the seventh choir we sing :

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


Eights Day, August 13

GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH.

For the crown which decks her brow.

LET us meditate how glorious Mary is in heaven |by reason of the royal crown wherewith her divine Son hath crowned her, and for the full knowledge which she now has of the deep mysteries of God, past, present, and to come ; and, full of veneration for the incomparable honour bestowed upon our Queen, let us have recourse to her and say :

1. Queen unrivalled, who in heaven on high dost enjoy the high glory of having been crowned by thy divine Son with a royal diadem; help us to shave thy matchless virtues, and ask for us that, purified in heart, we may be made worthy to wear a crown with thee in Paradise. Three Hail Marys.

2. Queen unrivalled in the full knowledge granted thee of all things upon earth; for thy glory’s sake obtain pardon for our past evil deeds, that we may never offend again by froward tongue or wanton thought. Three Hail Marys.

3. Queen unrivalled, whose desire it is to see men pure and clean of heart, that so they may be made worthy of thy God; obtain for us forgiveness of our sins, and help us, that all our looks, words, and deeds may please his heavenly majesty. Three Hail Marys.

Let us, then, purify our hearts in order that we may be worthy to give praise to Mary; and to the glory she possesses in that bright crown which decks her royal brow, let us add these humble tokens of our love, while with the eighth choir we joyfully Bing:

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.


Ninth Day, August 14

GLORY OF MARY AFTER DEATH

In her patronage of man.

LET us meditate how glorious Mary is in heaven, by reason of her patronage of man, and for the power she has to aid him, with great watchfulness in all his necessities ; wherefore with lively confidence, in having for our patroness the very Mother of our God, let us with all our hearts present our supplications to her:

1. Mary, our most powerful patroness, whose glory it is in heaven to be the advocate of men; oh, preserve us thy children from the touch of the enemy of man, and place us safe in the arms of our God and our Creator. Three Hail Marys.

2. Mary, our most powerful patroness, who, being in heaven the advocate of man, wouldst that all men should be saved; make it thy care that none of us be driven to despair at the sight of our past relapses into sin. Three Hail Marys.

3. Mary, our most powerful Patroness, who fulfilling thine office, dost love to be continually invoked by men; obtain for us the spirit of true devotion, and that we may ever call upon thee in life, and above all at the awful moment of our death. Three Hail Marys.

Now, with all our hearts, let us celebrate the glories of Mary; and, consoled at having Mary for our advocate in heaven, let us join the ninth choir of the angels in praising her, while, we sing :

The hymn Tota Pulchra, or the Litany of Loretto; then, V. and R., and prayer as before.

Novena Source: “Catholic Prayer Book and Manual of Meditations” Published in 1883, Dublin.

Nihil Obstat.

Joannes Carr, O.C.C.,
Censor Dep.

Imprimatur,
✤ Eduabdus Card. MacCabe,
Archiep. Dublinen, Hiberniae Primas.
January 10, 1883.

Hymn Tota Pulchra

Tota pulchra es, Maria.
Et macula originalis non est in Te.
Tu gloria Ierusalem.
Tu laetitia Israel.
Tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tu advocata peccatorum.
O Maria, O Maria.
Virgo prudentissima.
Mater clementissima.
Ora pro nobis.
Intercede pro nobis.
Ad Dominum Iesum Christum.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [spot] (of sin) is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem,
you are the joy of Israel,
you give honour to our people.
You are an advocate of sinners.
O Mary,
Virgin most intelligent,
Mother most merciful.
Pray for us,
Plead for us,
To the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gregorian chant notation from the Liber Usualis. Latin lyrics sung by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.

Tota Pulchra is an old Catholic prayer, written in the fourth century. It is one of the five antiphons for the psalms of Second Vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The title means “You are completely beautiful” (referring to the Virgin Mary). It speaks of her immaculate conception. It takes some text from the book of Judith, and other text from Song of Songs, 4:7.

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