August 15 – The Assumption of Mary

When I was younger, I used to wonder why Mary was such a big deal. It wasn’t that I was against her or anything. I prayed Hail Mary’s to her, and I wasn’t out to deny anything our Church said about her. I just didn’t understand why we, as Catholics, honored her so much.

Yet, the overwhelming evidence for Mary’s exceptional glory, and her unique loveliness, is to be found throughout the Bible. The two Testaments, the Old, together with the New, show us why Mary is worthy of our great admiration and deserving of our special affection.

In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve.  An angel came to Eve, and tested her trust in God. Eve failed the test, and took the fruit, and gave it to Adam. Together, their actions led to the fall of humanity, and because she was “the mother of all the living,” the sad consequences of their sin propagated down to us and to all of their children. But, as St. Paul teaches, Jesus Christ is the “New Adam,” who, by his obedience, restores what was lost by the Old Adam’s disobedience.

“For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.”

So Christ is the New Adam, but where is the New Eve? Mary is the New Eve. An angel came to Mary, and her trust in God was tested. Mary answered,

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.”

Mary passed the test with trust and obedience, and she gave the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity a body.  The New Eve gave the New Adam the fruit of her womb. Because Mary said at the Annunciation, “Let it be done to me according to your word,” Jesus could say in the garden, “Lord, not my will, but yours be done.”Together, their actions led to the salvation of humanity.  The happy effects of their faithfulness extend to all of us.  Mary is the new “mother of all the living,” that is, the mother of all Christians. Mary’s motherhood of all Christians, as Eve was the mother of all the living, is reflected in the Book of Revelation.

In Revelation, there is seen a glorious woman, who bears a son destined to rule all nations. (There are multiple senses of meaning here, but this woman and child, must in part represent Jesus and His mother Mary.) There is a dragon, who is the devil, poised to devour the woman’s child, but the Son escapes the Evil One’s grasp.

“Then,” Revelation says, “the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.”

Mary’s offspring are those who keep God’s commands and bear witness to Jesus.

In the Gospel of John we see that Jesus on the cross entrusted Mary to us as our mother, and entrusted us to Mary as her children.

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’”

The “beloved disciple” here stands for each of us as Jesus’ disciples.  Each of us is beloved by Christ and each of us has Mary as a blessed mother.

Mary is indeed, “blessed among women,” as Elizabeth declared in the Gospel. Mary knows that she is most blessed, but she is also the most humble, because she knows the source of all her greatness:

“From this day, all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.”

Every time we call her the Blessed Virgin Mary, this prophesy is fulfilled for our time.

So, as you can see, Mary is a big deal. And none of us is more admirable, praiseworthy, and sweetly loveable than her.

‘Therefore her heart is glad and her soul rejoices,
her body, too, abides in confidence;
because God did not abandon her soul to the netherworld,
nor would He suffer His faithful one to undergo corruption.’ 

He assumed His beloved into heaven. Thanks be to God, who gave Mary this victory over death, through her Lord and ours, Jesus Christ.

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