Aug. 15—Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Readings: Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 45, R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-27; Gospel—Luke 1: 39-56
It is a source of great consolation and joy to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother on a Sunday.
This way we are able to worship, pray and reflect together on this wonderful mystery in the life of Our Blessed Mother that strengthens our faith, gives us hope and sets Divine Love as the horizon of our life.
Our Blessed Mother’s Assumption is the reconfirmation of the sure and certain hope that our life will not end in death and that all we do will “not be lost to all eternity. Everything ripens and bears fruit in its own hour.”
Reflecting on this mystery, I will view it from the prism of the late Fr. Hans Kung, who put forth the three spiritual elements for a person to live a full human life, namely, trust, joy and meaning.
The element of trust in the Blessed Mother’s life was seen in another three qualities of her life: a deep prayer life, her ability to make choices and her fidelity to her choices.
Deep prayer life
We first saw this deep prayer life in the Annunciation of Our Lord. The encounter with God through the archangel Gabriel was a mystical experience of such depth that was similar to Jesus’ Agony in the Garden and along the lines of Moses’ burning bush encounter with Yahweh.
It was a mystical experience that was possible within the context of a very deep personal relationship of faith in God that trusted the experience and what was asked of her, leading to her “yes”—gain, in the same way Jesus said “not my will, but Your will be done” that led to the Cross, and how Moses took on the leadership that resulted in the Exodus.
This trust in the relationship enabled her to say her fiat: “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”
This was a choice she made and which she faithfully lived by and based her other choices on. It was her fidelity to this mission to be the Mother of God from the moment of conception, the Incarnation—from the womb—and through the mysteries of Jesus’ life all the way to the Cross, the tomb and the Resurrection.
Her authentic words
We see her joy in today’s Gospel, Mary’s Magnificat. Scholars agree that it is really the song of Mary, i.e., the words are authentically hers.
It opens with one of the most profound declarations of a life of mission lived in joy: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
One spiritual writer stated that the Beatitudes of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of St. Matthew are Jesus’ description of his mother. She lived her life in great joy, serving and loving God and her mission.
If trust led her to the choice, to commitment to mission, then joy was the manner with which she lived out the mission.
David Brooks approximates this experience: “Joy tends to be self-transcending … something that rises up unexpectedly and sweeps over you … comes from offering gifts … doesn’t fade.”
It is the joy of Mary in the Assumption which signals the final fulfillment of her mission—to be the Mother of God—and reunites her with her Son, the Savior and the Trinity who missioned the Son through the Incarnation.
The Blessed Mother’s “yes” in the Annunciation—when the Divine enters humanity—comes full circle in the Assumption, her humanity being assumed into the divine realm.
It was Mary’s trust in, fidelity to and joy in her mission that was the meaning of her life, integrating trust and joy in her mission. Her assumption was and will always be the message that proclaims: mission accomplished.
Our Blessed Mother’s Assumption is the culmination of the pattern of her life, a life we are invited and inspired to emulate.
I am convinced that our devotion to her comes from this deep desire to live our life the way she did—with trust, in joy and with total devotion to mission as the meaning of our life.
This, as we stated at the start, is the horizon of our life, the wonderful mystery of the Assumption in the life of Our Blessed Mother that strengthens our faith, gives us hope and sets Divine Love as the horizon of our life.—CONTRIBUTED INQ