This Monday, August 15th, the Church observes the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother, Mary, into heaven. Because this Solemnity falls on Monday, it is not obligatory for Catholics to participate at Mass for this Holy Day in 2016.
What a blessing this Solemnity can be for us if we allow this to happen. Regardless of our age, life is hard. We each have needs such as the following that we struggle to meet. The first of these is that of experiencing that we are loved each day. In our heads, most of us can list persons who love us, beginning with the Lord. It’s one thing to know that we are loved. It is something else to experience this. Each day, we yearn to be affirmed simply for who we are. On an experiential level, many of us have days when it’s hard to believe that we are loved.
A second challenge that we all struggle to meet is that of being needed. Much of the time, many of us live in the background in relation to what we perceive is going on. We want both to be where significant things are happening, and we want to be part of the significant action ourselves. As children and as youth, we can feel unneeded and thus unimportant because we are too young. At the other end of the cycle of life, we can feel unneeded and at times unwanted because of our advancing age. During the so-called prime years, we can feel unneeded when we are laid off from a job, when we are passed over for a promotion, if one’s marriage partner wants a divorce or dissolution. At times, we can feel as though we are a fifth wheel in given settings, even within that of our family.
A third need that surfaces more clearly when we lack supporting relationships is that of strength to be up to what we perceive we have to do. We can become overwhelmed by all of the expectations that others and we place upon ourselves.
From the time of the Annunciation until the day on which her work in this world was completed, Mary had a hard life. She put her life on the line when she said yes to the awesome role of being the Mother of our Lord. She no doubt wondered what Joseph would think and do when he learned about her pregnancy. As our Lord developed, there were painful times when Mary did not understand her Son, for example on the occasion when she and Joseph found our Lord in the Temple as a boy and at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, where, according to St. John’s Gospel, our Lord performed His first special sign or miracle.
Think of how devastated and helpless Mary must have felt when she and our Lord experienced what we refer to as the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. It can be easy for us to overlook how intensely Mary must have suffered when Jesus died. In regard to having an immediate family, she was all alone in the world.
And yet, in and through all that Mary suffered, by the Grace of her Son, Mary continued to hang in there in regard to being faithful to her relationship with God. It is in her Assumption into Heaven that Mary received for herself as the first fruits what the Lord wants to offer to all persons. Mary was the first to experience that for which all persons are yearning, that of being fully at home with the Lord and with persons of all times who have loved the Lord during our common journey in this world.
May our observance of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven encourage us to take heart for the journey yet ahead of us. May we grow each day in the ability to experience for ourselves the assurance that as hard as living in this world may become, there is light, eternal light, at the end of the tunnel for us when our journey in this world will be completed.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor