Reflection for Sunday, August 15, 1999: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemnity.

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own "pilgrimage of faith," and what she will be in homeland at the end of her journey. There, "in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," "in the communion of all the saints," the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother. ...||The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.|-- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, ##|This great feast supports us in our "pilgrimage of faith." The long tradition of Mary's being taken up to heaven can serve us well today, in our culture, with our faith needs.|Many of us live in cultures which may be Christian in many aspects, but which function with no real sense of our being on a faith journey, a pilgrimage, with our ultimate home being with God. Consumer cultures focus on putting down roots in this life - acquiring, protecting, discarding to acquire the latest, becoming rich. We seek pleasure, gratification, and fulfillment - sometimes with obsessive passion. There is a denial of death - living without thinking about death.|The tremendous irony is that we live our everyday lives, confronted with the reality of death all around us. Those of us in Colombia, Haiti, or the Sudan - in so many parts of the world - know violence and death, chaos and poverty, an unsure future. Those of us in the U.S. know the death that is sweeping across our nation, and we hear it everyday in the news. Every morning we wake up to stories of drive by shootings, robberies and murders. Poor kids in despair, rich kids in despair - shooting other kids. In our futile fear, we execute more and more often. And we all know the reality of the mortality of our bodies. If we haven't experienced the reality of aging and death in our own bodies, who hasn't grieved the loss of a loved one, or who doesn't know someone with cancer or heart disease?|Our readings today assure us of God's victory over our sin and death itself. Mary believes "that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." She "proclaims the greatness of the Lord." She knows that in her acceptance of discipleship, God "has lifted up the lowly."|Our feast today renews our faith in a vision of our future. This feast does not stop at honoring Mary. It invites us to confident hope, anticipation and expectation. This feast calls us to live in this life, with our hearts set on the home for which we were created.|Today, I can imagine my own resurrection. Being greeted by Mary, by so many loved ones. I can try to imagine the embrace of Jesus. And, tears of ecstatic joy, as my whole being proclaims the greatness of God. Today, I can let this faith nourish my life. It can comfort my grief. It can calm my fears. It can give guidance to my choices. It can help me pray for a healing of our culture, with compassion and love. Today, I can turn to Mary, and pray to her, as St. Ignatius did: "Place me with your Son!" "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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