THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Readings: Revelation 11:19, 12:1- 6, 10; 1 Cor. 15:20-26; Luke 1.39-56
One wonders why we should gather on a Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. More so, many of our brothers and sisters who are not Catholics, have often wondered why we Catholics pay so much attention to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some of them go to the extent of condemning us for honouring or venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary. They say we are idolatrous as we pay special devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
They argue that devotion to Mary is not biblical, it is idolatrous and unnecessary because Mary is a mere envelope. The criticisms against Mother Mary, and those surrounding celebrations and devotions in her honour are not new. They are as old as Christianity itself.
Dear friends in Christ, listen to St. Irenaeus a Bishop and Doctor of the Church “If Mary is not your Mother, then Satan is your father.” St. Louis-Marie de Montfort would say, “Jesus gave more glory to God his Father by submitting to his Mother for thirty years than he would have given him had he converted the whole world by working the greatest miracles. How highly then do we glorify God when to please him we submit ourselves to Mary, taking Jesus as our sole model” (True Devotion to Mary, no. 18).
To God be the glory, the Holy Church Catholic through the Holy Spirit and her leaders have always demonstrated the reality of the power of God in the creation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this light, in the Papal Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined and declared ex cathedra the Assumption of Mary in the following statement: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” The second reading echoes the fact the Blessed Virgin Mary did not experience bodily decay, but also her triumph over death and her heavenly glory, following the example of her only Son, Jesus Christ.”
Do we still have reasons why we must always celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary?
First, we celebrate the truth of the article of faith, which we usually profess by saying “I believe … in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting…” What that means is that after the last judgement, our bodies will once again reunite with our souls to share in whatever will be the eternal lot of the soul – heaven or hell, as the case may be. I pray that all of us will make it to heaven, through Christ our Lord, Amen. Somehow, God did not wait until the last judgement before uniting the soul and body of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven. What we are preparing to experience at the end of the world, the Blessed Virgin Mary is already enjoying it. That is what Assumption is all about.
Second, we celebrate the triumph of God’s grace over evil and sin in a human being, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first reading from revelation is simply telling us that God is victorious in the struggle with evil and sin. Assumption is the celebration of what God can do for us humans if we allow him. Assumption celebrates the beauty of humanity that lies hidden in the heart of God. In the Blessed Virgin and her Assumption, we see clearly the beauty of humanity that cannot be destroy. No wonder scripture says, “You will not let your holy one to see corruption” (Acts 13:35).
Third, we celebrate Mary as a remedy to our contemporary crises. Since, the declaration and pronouncement of the dogma of Assumption on 1 November 1950, the world has not remained the same. On that day, great joy and enthusiasm permeated all the spheres of human life. Why, the Church made it clear to the world that she is a promoter of the glory of life that was yet to come. The Church made the world to know that there is something good about our human body (Matter). The Church gave humanity hope and the need to be certain about the future.
We can regain, hope for the many crises that are bedeviling us today. The crisis of godlessness and faithlessness, crisis of diseases outbreak like Coronavirus, crisis of morality, crisis of failure of marriages and family life, crisis of mental health, and crisis of identity and psychological stability. Thus, Mary according to St. Ambrose is a type of the Church. That is, a model to look up to for what the Church is established to be, for she is the one that has gone before us and has attained the perfect image that the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit expect of us. For instance, her faith is the greatest of all faiths that ever were manifested on earth but now that she reigns in heaven her faith remains for our good. Consequently, she is “the conqueror of all heresies.” Hence, we need to go to her for guidance and direction in this moment of crisis against authentic faith.
Devotions in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dear friends in Christ, On the 12th of August 2021, from the State House, Banjul, the President Adama Barrow acting under Section 76 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia declared Monday, 16th August as a result of the feast of the Assumption of Mary.
Now, what is the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in your life? How are you and your family going to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary today and always? Have you ever had an encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary? Is the Blessed Virgin Mary a Mother and Queen to you? She said all generations will call her Blessed, how often do you bless her in your thoughts, words and actions? When last did you do something in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Something commendable like buying rosaries and distributing for evangelisation, something great like praying the rosary daily, something interesting like adorning her shrines and grottos with flowers, something outstanding like building grottos to call people for prayer. Something wonderful like studying the virtues of Mary, applying them to your life and equally teaching people about the personality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mother and Queen Assumed into Heaven – Pray for us.