August 15: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Sunday Scriptures blog

Only rarely does this Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary fall on a Sunday during Ordinary Time, when the liturgical focus is on the teaching and ministry of Jesus. One of the churches I was in charge of had an impressive statue of Mary. It was suspended from the sanctuary ceiling and hung higher than the crucifix attached to the back wall. It remains for me a good visual reminder of how, before the last Council, Vatican II, many devout Catholics thought of Mary as the mediatrix of grace. She was prayed to as a sort of necessary go-between who interceded or advocated for us before God. Driven by love and emotional fervor, Marian devotion focused on the glories of Mary, of which this feast was seen as the best of all. But at the Second Vatican Council, after a royal battle and by a close vote, the bishops decided not to devote a separate document to Mary or declare her the mediatrix of grace. Instead they placed the Council’s teachings about her within the document about the Church. By doing so they subtly emphasized that Mary is the model of a disciple. She is someone like us, an offspring of Adam, desiring salvation. Hopefully, therefore, in today’s feast day celebration and preaching we will hear about ourselves! The doctrine of the Assumption assures us that Mary is in heaven, and that is not a singular glory for Mary but our destiny too. The doctrine of the Assumption assures us that Mary is there completely, “body and soul,” which also is our destiny — as our second reading today from Corinthians makes clear. And Mary is Saint Mary because of her discipleship life, to which we also are called and to which, through the grace of God, Mary lived in an exemplary manner. Our destiny as disciples of her son Jesus is to join her in the communion of saints! Rather than mediatrix, let’s think of Mary as hostess for our heavenly party with God. May we be reinspired to live our discipleship lives in this feast which presents us with a picture of our future through Mary’s assumption.

– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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