THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
What is common in the Mass readings today is “movement.” In the first reading (Day Mass) we see a mother about to give birth: there is movement from the womb into the world. Another movement is the woman fleeing to the desert prepared by God for her.
In the second reading (Vigil Mass) we see movement from death to life in the resurrection of Christ. God destroys death and all are brought to everlasting life prepared for them.
In the Gospel reading (Day Mass) we see three movements: Mary setting out to visit her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaping for joy and Mary’s Magnificat which summarizes historical movements of God’s mercy and compassion. The coming of the Son of God through Mary is also proclaimed.
At the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary we are invited to experience the “moving” presence of God in our lives. He moves us from one place to another, at times from our comfort zones; he surprises us with the unexpected; the unexpected could be the place “where God had prepared a place for us.” God is the Lord of movement and change.
Movement or change is often not easy. A woman about to give birth in the first reading reminds us of the pain of childbirth in order to welcome a new life, like our total surrender to the will of God whatever it may be.
And this surrender to God’s will, our fiat, is the key to our going home to the loving and saving power of God.
Mary’s Magnificat acknowledges God’s movements in Mary’s life, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior!”
We believe that at Mary’s death she was assumed body and soul into heaven because of her special role as Mother of God. May we, her children, be like her in seeing God’s movements in our lives: how has God moved me in my life? What more could I do to dispose myself to see God’s invitations to me? What more should I do to be brought to the place prepared for me by my loving Father?
The young monks in a monastery always complained against the odds of life and were distracted in their prayers. The Master sensed this unhealthy disposition of the disciples towards the world around them and took them near a lake. There was a beautiful lotus in the midst of the dirty water. In spite of the dirt the lotus swayed and swung happily in the lake. However the water was stinking. The Master asked the disciples, “What do you see?” Unable to stand the foul smell of the water some of the disciples covered their mouth with their hands and replied. “Dirty and stinking water.” Then the master asked them, “Would you like to spend some time meditating here?” Most of the disciples replied negatively. Then the Master asked them to look at the lotus: “Focus your eyes on the lotus and tell me how you feel.” The disciples sank into deep and joyful meditation on the lotus.
The Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady invites us to meditate on the life of Mary who lived a righteous life in the midst of all the odds in her life. We draw the following insights from her glorious assumption into heaven:
a) Every person in this world has a God-given capacity to exceed oneself. Hence one should look beyond this material world and prepare oneself daily to go beyond oneself.
b) One needs to keep in mind that death cannot terminate one’s experience of God’s ever-living presence in one’s life. Anyone who has been in the presence of God during this earthly life will continue to enjoy God’s presence even after one’s death.
c) One cannot go to heaven on one’s own. One needs the grace of God. There is a difference between the Ascension of Our Lord and the Assumption of Our Lady. Jesus ascended into heaven. Mother Mary was assumed (taken up) into heaven by God’s grace.
d) We are called to live an integrated life where the body, the mind and the soul are in conformity with each other. Mary was assumed not only with her body. The soul glorified God, her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior, her mind thought healthy, holy and happy thoughts, her heart harbored divine revelations and her body reflected the spark of the divine within. There was integrity in her life.
e) Finally, Mother Mary becomes a prototype of what God wants us to be: to be fully committed to the affairs of this world and yet to be internally free from any worldly attachment.
Wishing you all a very happy feast of the Assumption and may our Blessed Mother help us to rise in holiness.
Fr. Franco Pereira, S.D.B.