The Assumption of the BVM is not a feast I ever felt attracted to so it presented a challenge to me when I was invited to write this short reflection. I think it may be because I was more drawn to the ‘earthiness’ of Mary than to the ethereal images of her that bookmarked my youth.
The image that stays with me as I think about her is of her closeness to Jesus in her womb a bond that is never broken. This is the closeness to Jesus that we all aspire to. The words of John O’Donohue addressed to a mother -to -be illustrate some of this closeness and make it more available to us.
Never have you travelled farther inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
unable to reach the fund of brightness
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.
You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.
Then in today’s readings we have that wonderful prayer of praise straight from the lips of the pregnant Mary who is making a visit to her pregnant cousin Elizabeth both surprised and overjoyed. How blessed are we to be able to share this joy filled encounter daily in our prayer.
Mary, full of joy glorifies the Lord. She acknowledges her ‘station in life and at the same time shows not only that she has been blessed but that all generations will know this. This merciful God is not just for her but for all. We hear those beautiful justice issues,
‘He puts forth his arm in strength
And scatters the proud -hearted
He casts the mighty from their thrones
And raises the lowly
He fills the starving with good things
Sends the rich away empty.’
Mary rejoices in God.
Mary is openhearted.
Mary is grateful.
Mary understands the ‘little ones’
Mary leads us to her son, and we are called, like her, to share in the fullness of Christ’s glory. She is the model. We pray today that we too may be found worthy to come to that place in heaven which God has prepared for those who love him.
Sr. Kathleen Fitzsimons OP