Date: Thursday, August 15, 2019
I like the old name of this feast day. Back in the fifth century it was called “Natale” or “Dormitio” – the “Falling Asleep” of Mary. “Falling asleep” is a phrase of St. Paul that expresses our hope that those who die before Christ’s Coming will awaken to enjoy Christ’s victory over death, the resurrection. When Mary died she is given a singular honor to be with her son in glory without delay or corruption of her body.
Both Elizabeth and Jesus speak of Mary being blessed by God. When Mary visits Elizabeth, Elizabeth says of her: “Blessed are you who believed that was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” When a woman calls out from the crowd: “Blessed is the womb that carried and nursed you,” Jesus replies with a beatitude: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Mary is both the Mother of Jesus and Mary is faithful disciple i.e. One who listens, reflects and follows. She is Mother of the Church.
Mary has a beautiful association with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit overshadows Mary at the Annunciation. Mary is at the cross with the Beloved Disciple to receive the bequest of the spirit of Jesus when he dies. Mary is with the disciples when they are gathered in the upper room to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. She is a vessel or reservoir of the Holy Spirit for all of us who have come to believe in her son Jesus Christ.
At this difficult time of lawsuits against the church, we pray for Mary’s motherly comfort to heal those deeply harmed by abuse and for the Holy Spirit to empower the church to create a pastoral culture that will not tolerate abuse but do everything possible to ensure the safety of children, teens and vulnerable adults.