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The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August)

posted Aug 10, 2016, 7:46 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Aug 10, 2016, 7:46 AM ]
As Catholics, we celebrate on the 15th day of August the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Defined as a Dogma of Faith on 1st November 1950 by Pope Pius XII, the Church believes that after the completion of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven; her body wasn’t allowed to corrupt and remain in the tomb. As we look back into the life of Mary, we can see the important role she played in the salvation history of mankind. Mary fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies of the coming Messiah. The Holy Spirit had chosen her to be the dwelling place of Jesus. In saying “Yes” to God’s plan for her to be the mother of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Mary’s life became intertwined with that of her son’s life on earth. She became the only person to be with Jesus from the moment of his birth and up to the day of his crucifixion and death. As the mother, exemplary follower and ardent supporter of Christ, Mary was closely associated with all the mysteries of her son’s life. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him in heaven, both body and soul. To me Mary is, foremost, an exemplary follower and supporter of Christ, sharing a special closeness with the life and ministry of her son. Indeed, I, like many others, am brought closer to God by the Holy Spirit through Mary. Such closeness was manifested at the wedding feast at Cana.

When the supply of wine ran out for the invited guests, the wedding couple and their families faced an embarrassing situation. Mary intervened and approached Jesus for help. Jesus’s reply to her, “You must not tell me what to do. My time has not yet come” (John 2:4) indicated that he’d rather not perform any signs and manifest his divinity yet. Still, he granted her request. Mary, confident of her messiah son, was quick to ensure that the servants co-operated with Jesus. She told them “Do whatever he tells you”, and help paved the way for his first public miracle by turning water into wine. Here, as with Mary’s bidding, I see the importance of heeding the teachings of Christ Jesus so as to co-operate with God’s graces and avail of his favour and blessings in my life. The wedding feast at Cana also highlights the intercessory role Mary now has for us, as followers of her son. Through her maternal intercession, I have had many prayers answered. Among the most significant for me was her intercession in helping us find a buyer for our previous house, despite the challenging market conditions. Likewise, at the 11th hour before having to hand over our house to the new owner, she helped us to locate and secure an ideal home in which my family and I are happily residing now.

Mary’s role in the salvation history of mankind was first marked by her Immaculate Conception, when God’s intervened at her conception and preserved her from all stains of original sin. God bestowed on her sanctifying grace before sin could ever take effect in her soul. Hence, her whole being was filled with holiness from the very start, enabling her to ready for the role of being the mother of God made man, Jesus.

Mary’s life was marked by love, faith, obedience and acceptance to God’s will for her life. And like any mother, Mary was never separated from the sufferings of her Son (Luke 2:35). Scripture assures us that those who share in the sufferings of Christ will also share in his glory. Since she suffered an interior martyrdom at her Son’s passion and crucifixion, it is appropriate that Jesus would honor her with a unique glory – the glory of the Assumption.

Therefore, in celebrating this glorious feast of Mary’s Assumption, let us be reminded of God’s faithfulness to her and to those who seek and do his will, regardless of the sufferings and the cost - “This is a true saying: “If we have died with him, we shall also live with him. If we continue to endure, we shall also rule with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us. If we are not faithful, he remains faithful, because he cannot be false to himself.” (2 Timothy 2: 11-13)

~ John Png