August 15, 2017

The Assumption of Our Lady -- A Sign of Hope

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption - a mystery of Mary, the Mother of God. She was raised above this world to be a sign for the Church of the New Creation that God is bringing to completion in our midst.  By God's power, a love stronger than death has raised up a woman and mother to point us to the victory of good over evil, and to be a sign of the greatness to which each one of us has been called. Death and failure, inadequacy and weakness are not the last word about human existence. Instead, when God assumed Mary into heaven, He revealed that the great truth of our lives is found in Him, that He is always ready to save us from meaninglessness and to establish us in His peace. This is why the Church proposes the mystery of the Assumption of our Lady for our belief.

To believe that Mary is assumed into heaven is to believe that Christ is capable of raising our frail humanity above all the powers that threaten it. No matter how dark and cold things in this life become, no matter how nihilistic political and cultural forces, none of this can prevent God from realizing the plan that He has for our lives if only we will believe in Him and the immensity of His love.

To believe that God has accomplished such a wonder for Mary is also to believe that He has found a way for humanity to fulfill its ultimate purpose in the very face of all that opposes it. We are after all, notwithstanding all our sin, first and foremost creatures of praise, of thanksgiving, of prayer and of love. Through the faith of this woman the fruitfulness of God in the human person has been unleashed  - divinity reaches into humble humanity and creatures formed from earth's lowly dust find access to the glory of heaven. In claiming this for Mary, one is claimed by the same sanctifying mystery -- a mystery of perfect praise.

To believe that Christ raised His Mother body and soul into heaven is to believe that God has not lost sight of anything that is good, beautiful and true about who we are and what we are created to be. It is to believe that what is concrete, particular, and unique about our lives, our bodies, and our hearts is all precious in the eyes of God and not a barrier to union with Him. This world is for God the place where He has chosen to reveal His greatness. He is ready to help us make a beautiful offering of the life with which we have been entrusted just as Mary made the same offering of her life.  He is ready to ignite our lives with the fire of His love so that every moment, every relationship, every dream and every hope resonates with a fullness of being and life that nothing can diminish -- even when everything seems turned against it, just as a sword pierced her heart too. Here, just when we need it the most, the Daughter of Zion becomes a reminder that the Living God not only knows us, but gazes on us with tender love and immense compassion.