Mary's Assumption is Our Hope

A Meditation as a Preparation for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the B.V.M.
August 15, 2010

by P.J. Kerbard

We have only to look around to realize we live in desperate times. Look at how we turn to distractions of all sorts — the maw of the entertainment industry, the greed of the "me-first" generation, the petty tribalization that pits us against each other, and of course the turning away from the truth that we have a Creator. We, His creatures, receive all we need to be happy with Him here and now and of course in that Eternity that the secularists want to stamp out as a possibility.

Those of us who are believers are disturbed by the news media that so often presents faith events with cynicism and even outright ridicule. We deeply know the joy and peace our faith offers and realistically live our human life completely with hopefulness. It is the believers who see a silver lining in the clouds of daily life.

What is it that gives us this hope? Who is it that shows us the truth of life after death and the glory that will be ours with clear realism? This truth is a mystery indeed but an unfolded mystery for those who realize that "faith is having confidence in that which one hopes for," as St. Paul expressed. This hope is known in the women of faith, Mary Immaculate, who gave us the Redeemer, points us to Him constantly and consistently with the words she used at Cana of Galilee "do whatever He tells you."

These words have been confirmed over the centuries in the lives of holy women and men who lived life with the deepest awareness that "God is with us" and not just some "clock maker in the sky" who left us to spin in our own sphere until we wind down and then what? The "what" is answered in Mary the mother of Jesus. The "what" is a person who believed the impossible and admitted that all is possible with God, thus saying firmly and convincingly, for herself and for us: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He Who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name." This utterance of hope is an utterance of reality, of that truth that life is more than meets the eye, that Life is what we shall live forever for it is the very essence of our being, our existence here and now and unto eternity.

Our reach into Eternity comes now just by a simple life of faith, by the lived conviction that we, like young Stanislaus Kostka, are "made for higher things" and that our hearts and minds will not rest until we stretch ourselves out and touch with confidence that which we hope for. The outstretched life of the Mother of Jesus, reaching for the heights, realized fully at her falling asleep (dormition) that her being magnified the Lord as He Himself drew her to Himself and caused her to be at the right hand of the Eternal Son — echoing the words heard at the foot of the cross spoken to the good thief — "this day you shall be with Me in Paradise." Those words haunt us as a promise for living forever — not simply dying and being buried — as was said of the rich man who ignored Lazarus because he was absorbed in doing "his own thing" which seems to be that of many today who live and act the phrase "eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die" giving the message "there is nothing beyond the grave."

Mary, conceived Immaculate — that is, without the stain of original sin — gave human flesh to the Word of God. She fed Him, cared for Him, feared for Him and cried for Him at the foot of the cross, not without confidence that more was in store for her, more was her privilege and right as the "God Bearer" that more is her assumption (her being drawn) into heaven because she always did what God told her, she let His Will be her all. Thus her will and the will of God became one. He who is mighty would then never cause her to be defiled, never crumble into dust as we who, by our sinful natures, tend to live for our own wills. Sadly, tragically, few believe His will is our union with Him in Eternity. His will is that we live that union while we walk earth day by day, moment by moment until we can state with Jesus, as Mary did, "my food is to do the will of My Father."