Monday, August 14, 2006

August 15 - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

"Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not. be taken away from her." St. Luke, 10:2

Some years ago Collier's magazine had a news item of interest to us today. In 1914 during World War I, a Belgian boy went forth to war. His mother promised to watch for his return at a certain window of their home.

Weeks stretched into months and months stretched into years. Finally came the report that her son had been killed. She refused to believe it. Hoping against hope, she continued to watch at that certain window, until sickness and old age compelled her to stay in bed. In order to fulfill her promise of keeping watch she had a statue made of herself, dressed in her own clothes, and placed in a life-like position at the window. Although mother and son have been dead for years, that silent figure still waits and watches on the road leading to Liege.

There is another Mother who is waiting and watching for you and me, for the return of all her children. That Mother is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is looking down from a window of heaven, as it were, waiting for each one of us to come home from the battles of life, waiting to meet and greet us after the struggle of life is over.

Today we honor the fact that our Blessed Mother was taken bodily into heaven. Today we keep the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven. It is the most glorious feast of Mary, because it marks the crown and reward of her heroic life upon this earth.

You know the story. At Mary's death the Apostles were summoned. All came at once, except St. Thomas, who for some reason or other was not present at the burial. Arriving later, he was so eager to see the Mother of the Apostles, that they opened the tomb, only to find the body was gone, and to be assured that it had been taken bodily up to heaven. Today we celebrate the story that Mary was taken up into heaven.

1. This is a day of mingled sadness and gladness, of grief that Mary is leaving this earth, and leaving us motherless, of joy that now she is rewarded as she deserves, now she triumphs as the Mother of Christ.

2. Mary died, not of old age or of sickness, but of love. After the Ascen­sion of her Divine Son, she remained on this earth for many years. How she longed to be with her Son. How she longed for the company of Christ and St. Joseph and all the saints. Finally the end came.
A. She died in love, that is, she died in the state of grace. You also must die in the state of grace, at friendship with God.

B. She died for love, that is she died through faithfulness to God's law.

C. She died of love, that is, her death was caused by a longing, burn­ing love of her Son.
3. What tradition tells us about the Assumption of Mary is backed up by reason. She who was sinless should not have to suffer the consequences of sin - decay and corruption.

4. Mary's body was not only kept incorrupt, it took on new and more dazzling beauty, it began to enjoy the highest degrees of the glorified state of the blessed. If we adorn the material tabernacle of our altars because Christ is there, how much God must have adorned the body in which the son of God was kept so lovingly. Mary's triumphant Assump­tion is a day of rejoicing:
A. Her Assumption gives glory and joy to God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Mary the Trinity saw the most perfect work of their hands. In Mary they saw the most pleasing sight - one who had been faithful to God her Father, to God her Son, and to God her Spouse.

B. Her Assumption gave special joy to the angels. She was their special Queen. She was like an angel. She could help the angelic choirs better than anyone else, in honoring the Almighty.

C. Her Assumption gave joy to the saints, to those who had honored her unseen during their earthly lives, to those who were waiting for her to come home.

D. Her Assumption gives joy to you and to me, to the entire Church on earth. She is the Mother of us who still struggle in this vale of tears.
During our reflections we are considering the Commandments of God. And we are making a renewed effort to observe those laws as the express will of God. Mary knows our difficulties and our weakness. She is ready and willing to help, so that some day we may join her in heaven.

That Belgian mother waiting in the window of her home for her son to return, is a figure of Mary waiting at the window of heaven for each one of us to return to our true home, which is heaven.

Look up today and see her there. Look up as the angels carry her joy­fully homeward. Look up to her today and ask her help in keeping the laws which will assure our own assumption into heaven. Look up to your heavenly Mother and ask her to bring all her children to herself and to her Divine Son. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

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