Blessed Virgin Mary
15th August in the Church of England calendar is the Festival of The Blessed Virgin Mary.
For Roman Catholics it is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrating a dogma that I won't attempt to explain because I neither understand nor believe in it. You can read the official definition here. I think there is no Biblical basis for this and (as I wrote last year) assumes too much. It has inspired some magnificent art though.
I grew up in a Reformed (Presbyterian) tradition and Mary mother of Jesus only ever seemed to get a look in at Christmas as far as I can remember. I've moved from that position of ignoring the significance of Mary most of the year to finding more and more reason to honour her as 'theotokos' (God-bearer), the greatest of the saints. I want to celebrate the whole of her life but much more the priceless treasure of the first-fruit of her womb. She is truly 'Blessed'.
who looked upon the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and chose her to be the mother of your only Son:
grant that we who are redeemed by his blood
may share with her in the glory of your eternal kingdom
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Collect for Festival of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Common Worship)
Image Credit: Stephen Cuyos on Flickr, CC Licence