Yeah I know, it's the Dormition of Mary, aka the Assumption.
Dormition, dormitory all from the Latin for "to sleep". One of the dormitories where I went to university was called St Mary Hall, formally. It was just "Mary Hall" otherwise. Everyone went there whether they had a room there (I didn't) or friends there (I did) or not. Reason being, St Mary Cafeteria, or Mary Caf -- the culture may include tendencies which may strike those unfamiliar with it as unduly familiar, even slightly irreverent -- which wasn't so much a cafeteria as an on-campus restaurant and gathering place.
Mary Caf was not the regular cafeteria where those with a meal plan, which being a rural campus not in any town was just about everyone, ate. Rather, it was where one ate burgers and stuff like that on their own time, and dime. So why is a restaurant called a cafeteria when it really isn't? Well, the regular cafeteria wasn't called a cafeteria either, but a refectory, so the word was available.
Holy crap, what's a refectory? Comes from the Latin reficere, to restore, which gave rise to the word refectorium, a room where you get restored, ie eat. It's a monk thing, and being a Benedictine institution we were all about that. Now, in a real refectory, according to the Rule (as in Rule of St Benedict for monasteries, geez do I have to explain everything?) meals are eaten in silence, one guy reads from Scripture or the saints (that's lectio divina, or divine reading) and no meat from mammals except if you're sick.
However, in the very heart of the most venerable tradition, Benedictine in particular and Catholic in general, it ain't really like that. As more and more "feasts" came in to the church calendar, the meals got better, and, by the time it took four digits to write the year, the obvious solution was to eat other better food in another room. Not have your cake in one room, eat it in another. Perfect.
And in a student refectory, where the teaching monks ate too, as distinct from the monking refectory of the monkatorium itself, there ain't no lectio divina and ain't much of anything done in silence either.
So it don't get no more Benedictine than to have the refectory and Mary Caf, the official restoring room and the other one on the side. Hey, don't laugh, the Eastern Orthodox, as usual, amp it up even more. In their monkeries the refectory is called the Trapeza, always with at least one icon and sometimes a ruddy church unto itself, altar, iconostasis and all.
And they got this Lifting of the Panagia to end the meal too. What's a Panagia? It's the prosphoron from which you take a chunk in honour of the Theotokos. What the hell izzat? The former is the loaf used in the Eucharist, the latter is Mary. After the service, the refectorian (don't freak, it's the monk who runs the refectory) cuts a triangle out of it, cuts the rest in half, puts it on a tray, the boys go over to the refectory with the tray in the lead, and after the meal there is a ceremony in which the refectorian says "Bless me, holy fathers, and pardon me a sinner", the assembled holy fathers say "May God pardon and have mercy on you" (as if he had not already done so at Calvary, but I digress), then he says echoing the liturgy "Great is the name" and the boys chime in with "of the Holy Trinity", then comes "O all-holy Mother of God help us" and the reply "At her prayers, O God, have mercy and save us" (as if he ..., oh well), then accompanied by a dude with censer offers it, each holy father taking a piece between thumb and forefinger, running it through the incense, and eating it.
Now that's some serious monking. Judas H Priest, we're a bunch of Bavarians, or at least the joint was founded by them: closest we came to anything like that was to make sure you went back for more of the good dark bread before they ran out. Closest I'm gonna come to it now is the lifting of the Panera. They got wi-fi too. I still don't like white bread, though, and will take a wheat or dark bread every time. Every time. Still call a dining room the refectory once in a while too. It's a spiritual thing.
So we had our refectory and our "cafeteria" named for Mary. Later, the food service would open a more night oriented spot, Der Keller, which means the cellar or basement in German, in the cellar of the old main building, though it took a new food service director who was a Baptist from Alabama to come up with the idea. Now that's my kind of Baptist! Also my kind of refectorian. Hell, with the secular and ecclesiastical sides of the 1960s both raging, he was more German and Benedictine at heart than the German Benedictines.
And Mary? Just as Gabriel said, full of grace, the Lord was with her; blessed is she among women and blessed is the fruit of her womb, Jesus. And if you're looking for a little direction, there is no better example than her submission in faith to God -- for which she for all she knew at the time ran the risk of execution as an adulteress, to survive that only to see her son executed as a criminal, if one's cost of discipleship is seeming a little high -- and no better direction than she herself gave to those wanting her to sort things out one time at the wedding in Cana, "Do whatever he tells you".
The Presentation of the Augsburg Confession - 25 June AD 1530 [image: Diet of Augsburg] Note: Please see Ask the Pastor for more on the history and theology of the Augsburg Confession and its presentat...
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