Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In two short days the Church will celebrate Mary’s Assumption into heaven, that marvelous event when “Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (CCC 966). Mary’s assumption was a special gift from God. She had this unique privilege of bypassing the corruption of death, and going directly to heaven because she was sinless.

But what does this mystery of our faith say to us? What can we learn from it and try to incorporate into our lives? I believe that the Assumption of Mary has two particular lessons:

1)      That we have a mother and intercessor in heaven who prays for us!
2)       She gives us hope in eternal life, reminding us of our own goal, for she has already made it to the finish line!

Photo Credit: Margery Ketz/ Wikimedia Commons
      Mary as Our Mother and Intercessor
Most of us have either experienced the power and unconditional quality of a mother’s love ourselves or have witnessed it in another’s life. If we multiply this by a 100 or even 1000 times, I believe we can get a glimpse of Mary’s motherly love towards each one of us. For she is our heavenly Mother who awaits our prayers and requests. Did she not tell Juan Diego in 1531 on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, “Do not let anything afflict you, and do not be afraid of any illness, or accident or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Do you need anything else?”

And in 1830 at Rue de Bac in Paris Mary explained to Catherine Laboure, a young novice with the Daughters of Charity, the meaning of her image on the Miraculous Medal, the medal that she wanted Catherine to have made: The words, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” would be printed around the medal’s edge, honoring her Immaculate Conception; rays coming from her hands would symbolize the grace that comes through her motherly intercession and prayers. And when Catherine asked Mary about the stones on her fingers that had no rays of grace coming forth, Mary explained, “that’s all the grace I want to obtain for people, but no one asks me.” All we have to do for our Mother to help us, to intercede for us is to ask her! And so we pray, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”

Blessed Alberione shows us the power of Mary's intercession when he cites St. Anselm in his book, "Mary, Hope of the World," "St Anselm presents Mary as a merciful Mother" writes Alberione "who helps everyone who approaches her." ( p 15). She is our Mother who loves us all and notices our needs, just as she did at the wedding feast of Cana. So let us remember to ask for her help.

Mary Gives Us Hope in Eternal Life
Mary’s bodily presence in heaven near her Son also gives us great hope, hope in the gift of eternal life, hope in our own resurrection at the end of time. She goes before us to “save us a seat,” if you will. She points out to us our eternal destiny as her children who were bought at a great price: the price of her own Son’s death and resurrection. Let us believe in and accept him as our Lord and Savior, our Way, Truth, and Life (Jn. 14:6).

And so when life is difficult, even at times overwhelming, we can turn to Mary knowing that she listens, that she cares for us with immense love, and that she will obtain for us the grace that we need, if we but ask.

On this Feast of the Assumption we thank our Queen and Mother for her powerful prayers and for the hope that she brings to our lives: “Mary, assumed into heaven, pray for us! Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!”

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Sr. Laura R. Brown has been a Daughter of St. Paul since 1985 and has been assigned to many FSP communities. Her current assignments in St. Louis, MO, include parish evangelization and outreach, as well as assistance with Pauline Book & Media Center events. She has an MA in theology and participated in the Pauline Charism Course in Rome from 2008 to 2009.

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