Aug 14, 2012

August 15: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - "My soul proclaims . . ."

There is likely no more Catholic Feast than the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Our Protestant brothers and sisters may in fact cringe at the thought of such exaltation for the mother of Jesus.  Yet, as we all know, Mary's role was anything but secondary in the story of our salvation.  Mary was not just any woman.  She was indeed "blessed" among all women who have ever been born on this earth.  This is not hyperbole.  It is scripture.  As we read in Luke's Gospel, chapter 1, verses 26-38 when the angel Gabriel came to Mary he addressed her as "highly favored" and blessed "among women." 

Mary was singled out.  The new Eve who would give birth to the new Adam.  Mary's role, while secondary to that of Jesus of course, was more than just a womb to give birth to a child.  Her role and her ultimate example to us is as Mother for all humanity.  As one who cooperated, unlike the first Eve, totally with the will of God she is blessed among all women.  Her Son would likewise carry out all that was his Father's will for our salvation. 

The ancient feast we remember this Wednesday is a reminder that as our Holy Father Benedict XVI writes:  "Mary prepared God's dwelling here on earth; with her body and soul, she became his dwelling place and thereby opened the earth to heaven." 

On December 8th we mark the beginning of her life in the Immaculate Conception. She was conceived without the stain of original sin and through her the door was opened for Christ.  This Wednesday's Solemnity marks the end of her life on earth in her Assumption to heaven. These two Dogmas of our Catholic faith stand like bookends as the chapters of two lives which changed the world are written.

Her Assumption into heaven body and soul was not only the ultimate reward of her purity and faithfulness but a foreshadow of our own future.  Her life is a mirror of what you and I are called to in our own vocations.  To become holy through our obedience to God's will for each of our lives. 

Whether we are married or single, priest or religious, we are all called to the same vocation of Christian holiness. Even in those moments when we find ourselves too tired or just too discouraged or maybe frustrated by our own habit of sinfullness, we know that God's mercy that was shown through Mary, is constantly available to us.   

In our Catholic Christian tradition there is no doubt that we see Mary as the premier intercessor before God.  

Today seek holiness by: Attending Mass on this holy day, pray the Rosary, recite a Hail Mary with spouse and/or children, visit someone who is shut-in and bring the gentle love of Christ to them, forgive someone who you may find difficult to forgive.  In some way imitate this extraordinary woman who is in heaven and cheering us us to eternal life. 

If you're not too sure about her role, take some time to search more information by reading the first chapters of the Gospel of Luke, look into the Catholic Catechism or the Documents of Vatican II for mention of her importance, seach the internet by simply typing in: Mary, mother of Jesus or Dogma of the Assumption of Mary.  A ton of information will come up. 

Almighty ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray,
that, always attentive to the things that are above,
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

(Collect of Mass)