THE ALMIGHTY HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR ME, HOLY IS HIS NAME
(Thursday, August 15, 2019 The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Today 15th August the Church celebrates a solemn feast, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, body and soul, a truth of our faith defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950, but actually present among the Christian people since the early centuries. The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the outstanding Marian Solemnities, alongside the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: January 1, Annunciation of the Lord: March 25, and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8).
The Assumption is at the same time a dogma of faith proclaimed and defined by Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution “Munificentisimus Deus of November 1, 1950. The dogma declaration runs thus: The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. The celebration of today is also another gift to Mary in virtue of her fiat, her consent to be the mother of the Savior.
In her acceptance, Mary was grateful and was confident that God would provide whatever was necessary for carrying out this awesome responsibility. It is a solemn celebration because it invites all of us pilgrims on this earth, creatures like Mary, but still with the obvious and bitter consequences of sin to look to Heaven, to pray to her who intercedes for us. The feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a celebration of faith and hope.
It reminds us that heaven is our ultimate goal. From the readings of today, we can draw many reflections and ideas for our prayer. The first reading speaks about Mary and the Church, the Gospel presented us with the canticle of the Magnificat, the song of praise and thanksgiving of Mary for the wonders that the Lord has performed in her.
The second reading speaks to us of resurrection. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, insists that being Christian means believing that Christ is truly risen from the dead. Our whole faith is based upon this fundamental truth which is not an idea but an event. Even the mystery of Mary’s Assumption body and soul is fully inscribed in the resurrection of Christ.
The Mother’s humanity is “attracted” by the Son in His own passage from death to life. Once and for all, Jesus entered into eternal life with all the humanity he had drawn from Mary; and she, the Mother, who followed him faithfully throughout her life, followed him with her heart, and entered with him into eternal life which we also call heaven, paradise, the Father’s house. Mary also experienced the martyrdom of the Cross: the martyrdom of her heart, the martyrdom of her soul.
She lived her Son’s Passion to the depths of her soul. She was fully united to him in his death, and so she was given the gift of resurrection. Christ is the first fruits from the dead and Mary is the first of the redeemed, the first of “those who are in Christ”. She is our Mother, but we can also say that she is our representative, our sister, our eldest sister, she is the first of the redeemed, who has arrived in heaven. The Gospel suggests to us the third word: hope. Hope is the virtue of those who, experiencing conflict – the struggle between life and death, good and evil – believe in the resurrection of Christ, in the victory of love. We heard the Song of Mary, the Magnificat: it is the song of hope, it is the song of the People of God walking through history.
It is the song many saints, men and women, some famous, and very many others unknown to us but known to God: mums, dads, catechists, missionaries, priests, sisters, young people, even children and grandparents: these have faced the struggle of life while carrying in their heart the hope of the little and the humble. Mary says: “My soul glorifies the Lord” – today, the Church too sings this in every part of the world. This song is particularly strong in places where the Body of Christ is suffering the Passion. For us Christians, wherever the Cross is, there is hope, always. If there is no hope, we are not Christian. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of our hope.
May we not be robbed of hope, because this strength is a grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven. The focus today is on Mary and her faithfulness to Jesus. She is the first and the best of disciples of Jesus. Thus we can look to her for a sure response to the presence of God in our world. Her cousin Elizabeth points this out in the gospel of today “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Let Us Pray:Lord Jesus, give me grace to emulate the examples of your mother and may I be rewarded with eternal life in heaven on the last day. Amen.