MEDITATION AS A PREPARATION FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE B.V.M., August 15, 2012

Mary

As we enter more deeply into the mystery of Mary’s Assumption, we begin to realize that it is calling us to set our eyes—and our hope—upon eternal life and union with Christ. St. Paul speaks to us of this very reality in his letter to the Colossians when he says, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1) But contrary to the example set before us in the life of Our Lady and in St. Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians, we find in our world today a great heresy—even apostasy—that many Christians are falling victim to. This heresy comes from an inordinate fixation on this life and the things of this life. It is true; God created us for life and put in our hearts an inherent desire for life, but not just life here on earth—for eternal life in heaven. Unfortunately this God given desire for life has been hijacked by our culture, which attempts to convince us that this desire for a perfect life and love can be obtained and fulfilled here on earth—in other words—heaven on earth. And in a world where the body is of ultimate importance (e.g., the sexual revolution, the emphasis on sports), the soul becomes neglected and ultimately forgotten. This overemphasis on the flesh then sets up a war between our body and soul, for the soul bespeaks of the spiritual, and ultimately of God. St. Paul speaks to this situation today when he says, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another.” (Galatians 5:17)

This war that St. Paul speaks about is revealed in all of its majesty—the glory of fighting for God and His kingdom—and the hideous reality of Satan and hell, in the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation. We find that in the midst of this battle, our Blessed Mother, who although no longer physically present here on earth, never ceases to beget the Body of Christ. To the contrary, she continually gives birth to the children of the Church by sowing seeds of Divine Life within our hearts. And hoping to devour what Mary has begotten, Satan waits with bated breath for every child of the light. We see an example of this already when John tells us that “…the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought if forth.” (Revelation 12:4) And even before that, he read that he swept away a third of the stars of Heaven with his tail and hurled them toward the earth. Is this not always his strategy, to take what is heavenly, what is holy, what bespeaks of God, and hurl it towards the earth? But our destiny is not to be here for all eternity—it’s to be in Heaven, with Mary, the angels, and all the saints.

In her Assumption, Mary teaches us to keep our eyes ever fixed upon our final destiny. As our mother, our model, and our teacher, we are called to follow her example, which is summed up in the words of St. Paul: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) As exemplar, we look to her passing from this life to the next, as an example of a holy death. She passed from this life to the next in peace and tranquility—as if falling asleep. Her heart and her entire being were totally fixated on Christ dwelling in Heaven. The force of this love which burns in her heart no longer permits her to stay here with us, separated from her Beloved Son, yet it is that same love that impels her to be present to her children who are still in the midst of the battle for the salvation of souls. She has been lifted on high so that she might be present to all the faithful.

As we near the end of our meditation, we must ask ourselves some important questions. Do we as members of the Church militant, the faithful begotten by Mary who are at war with Satan, have our hearts fixed upon this life or upon the life to come? Do we desire in the depths of our hearts and souls to die like Mary—not in fear and timidity—but with joy and readiness to see the face of Jesus? “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13) It would be wise to keep these words in mind: to remember that our hope, that is, the desire of our hearts, is to be fixed upon Jesus Christ alone. We shall all see Him one day: whether coming: “on the clouds of Heaven” (Matthew 26:64) or “knocking at your door” (Revelation 3:20) at the moment of death. Will we be sad that we have to leave behind all that is good upon this earth? Or will we rejoice, that we are able to see finally, face to face, the Creator of all that is good? Will our heart and soul flee toward Him in an ecstasy of love and joy, as does Mary’s today on the Solemnity of the Assumption? “For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34) May our treasure, like hers, be Jesus Christ in Heaven, so that on the day of our passing from this world to the next, we may be assured that we will be attending with Mary the Heavenly banquet for all eternity.