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It's All Connected

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By Terry Peloquin
You've probably heard it before: The Association of Marian Helpers is all about helping people to get to Heaven.

What's something that can help you get to Heaven? What can help you grow in holiness, faith, and love? If you asked the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, they would give you the same answer as many of the Church's great saints: Marian devotion.

Since we are approaching the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 15, it's a good time to think about our Blessed Mother's unique role in leading souls to her Son and, hence, to eternal salvation.

Connected to Mercy
Think about these few words that you may pray multiple times every day: Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Every time we pray these last words of the Hail Mary, we consider the "hour of our death." Are we being morbid? Hardly! It's our cherished hope.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that each man receives "at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately, — or immediate and everlasting damnation" (1022).

What ultimately gets us to Heaven is God's mercy. We're all sinners. We depend on mercy. In accord with God's will, Mary acts as our heavenly advocate at this most critical juncture.

But we don't ask our Heavenly Mother for prayers only at the hour of our death. We also ask for her maternal intercession now. We ask her help to trust in God and consent to His will wholeheartedly as she did. We ask for her prayers so that when our earthly pilgrimage has ended, nothing will prevent us from spending eternity with God.

We can ask confidently for our Blessed Mother's prayers because we know she has prayed for the Church since its beginnings:

After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers." In her association with the apostles and several women, "we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation" (Catechism, 965).

Then, having been assumed into Heaven body and soul, Mary continues to pray on our behalf:

Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace."

... Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation (Catechism, 968-969).

Connected to the Immaculate Conception
Our Marian novices traditionally profess their first vows on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Wait a minute. Why would our Marians profess their first vows on this feast rather than on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?

"The two feasts are closely related," explains Fr. Chris Alar, MIC ("Fr. Joseph, MIC"), director of the Association of Marian Helpers. "The dogma of the Assumption states that Mary Immaculate was assumed body and soul into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. Why? Because she had never been touched by original sin or any sin, and therefore, was not prone to corruption like the rest of us."

Certainly, the Assumption celebrates when Mary goes to her eternal reward. But there's more, says Fr. Chris. "It also reminds us that God desires to see all of us in Heaven one day — both body and soul, as Mary is. She is a beautiful example for us of our calling to be holy and immaculate."

What an encouraging thought for a Marian professing his first vows! What encouragement for the whole Church! Mary — the supreme model of a true disciple of Christ — and her glorious Assumption show us what God has in store for each of us.

Thank you for all you do as a Marian Helper to help save souls. Please pray for our Marians professing vows. Say a Hail Mary for yourself, too.

If you feel called to support our seminarians, please visit marian.org/seminarians or call 1-800-462-7426.

Send us your Intentions
The Marian Fathers at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy will celebrate a Triduum of Masses on Aug. 13, 14, and 15, to proclaim that Mary, the Mother of our Savior, never experienced the corruption of the grave and that she was assumed into Heaven, body, and soul, at the end of her earthly journey.

As a loving tribute to Mary, we place roses at her statue in the National Shrine each year during this Triduum of Masses.

Please visit marian.org/b46 to send us your personal intentions.

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