A reflection by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB
The meaning of Our Lady’s assumption is that of culmination and a new beginning. With her assumption, the promises of the Lord were fulfilled for Mary and as always, beyond all expectation. I would have loved to have seen Mary’s face at her arrival into heaven. She saw her Son under the horror of the Cross; and I’m sure that never left her heart. But now she gets to see the glory of her Son and she shares in that. Remember that as she came to heaven, she was body and soul—she had an expression on her face. And that expression has never left her. The beauty of her Son seated on His throne…
The word “assumption” comes from the Latin word “assumere”, meaning, “to take to oneself.” Our Lord Jesus Christ took Mary home to himself where he is. Now, on Mary’s part, it was the work of a lifetime of being watchful and ready to preserve the deifying light in her soul. In the Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict, we hear, “Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God.” Mary never took her eyes off of the light that comes from God, her Son. Further on in the Rule it says, “Run while you have the light of life, that the darkness of death may not overtake you.” Well we could say that Mary ran the marathon of life and outran sin! She never stood around long enough for sin to “attach” itself to her. There was no selfishness in Mary for sin to cling to. And isn’t most sin about selfishness? And while we also remember that Mary is the sorrowful Mother, her sorrow was never about herself. Mary’s sorrows have only to do with anything that separates us from the love and life of Christ. It would be good for us to imitate Mary in knowing true sorrow instead of selfish sorrow.
There is a story, that perhaps you have heard, of a very holy woman who would serve God’s people during the day without ceasing to pray. She would go to bed late at night but would get up early every morning to continue to serve. And when she would get up in the morning, as soon as her feet hit the floor, hell shook and said, “Oh no, she’s up!” I pray that could be said for every one of us. But for that to happen, we have to live like Mary—attentive to the body of Christ, attentive to one another, attentive to everything that separates anybody from the love of Christ and his life.
Mary’s assumption did not mark the end of her service. On the contrary, her service could now assume its universal work. We read in Lumen Gentium that “taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role, but by her manifold acts of intercession continues to win for us gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, Mary cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on…” And Mary cares for us. Let us do nothing that would grieve the immaculate heart of Mary. Let us live in her presence.
As we celebrate the Assumption let us make our house a place where Mary wants to dwell. That takes work and it takes love. Mary suffered, but she loved more than she suffered. Like Mary, we too have to pay more attention to what we love than to what we suffer.
“Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.”1 Thessalonians 4:17-18