Happy Feast of the Assumption of Mary! In case you didn’t know it already, today is a holy day of obligation so, as the title says, GET THEE TO CHURCH!
I and my family have a very special devotion to Mama Mary. We have a statue of her in the yard, one in the house and a few other icons scattered about. Being raised a Baptist I was never taught much about Mary so the Catholic tradition and ritual that surrounds her intrigues me. We never really spoke of her, it was always implied that she was chosen to carry Jesus because she won some kind of cosmic lottery but the reality is that she was asked, and she said yes.
Well, she said “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) but that’s basically yes. Through her yes, through her complete obedience to the Lord, we can all seek salvation in the arms of our Beloved. Her reward for her obedience and faith was that she was brought, body AND soul, into heaven with her Son.
It must have been such a scary situation for her. She was young, betrothed to Joseph, and this angel appears in all of his celestial glory to tell her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and make her the mother of God. She doesn’t question the angel or say “Why me?! There must be some mistake. There are plenty of other young virgins who would be happy to do the honors. Are you sure you have the right Mary? There’s a lot of us you know.” She simply says yes.
Mary was also there during the crucifixion. She watched as her son, whom she had felt in her womb and raised to manhood, was tortured and mocked and finally crucified. In one of His last moments He says to John “Behold your mother!” and gives her to John and to all of us. Then she waited, as do we all, to be reunited with her beloved Son.
All of which makes her braver than me and probably a lot of you. When asked by God to do something that is seemingly impossible do we trust in Him and move forward or ask him to move mountains before we take a single step? Do we ask for signs and miracles to prove His existence to us before we conform ourselves to His will? Do we approach impossible circumstances with faith and courage?
Today we celebrate Mary and her reward for saying yes. We will go to Church, the priests will wear white, and we will sing some lovely Marian hymns and maybe go to an ice cream social afterwards (I love our church.) During all the festivities, I hope you think of Mary as that sweet, scared little girl who showed great courage by saying yes. I hope you think of her as the courageous young woman who looked upon her son in his last moments. I hope you try to apply that courage to your own lives and when God speaks you say yes.