Today we have the rare opportunity to celebrate the solemn feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Sunday Mass. This feast is usually designated by our bishops as a day on which the faithful are obliged to attend Mass, but sadly, many of the faithful simply forget about these feast days or choose to be disobedient to the Church in not attending. Can’t do much about the latter (except remind people that that deliberate disobedience to the Church is a sin against Christ Himself since it is His Church). But if it’s just a question of forgetfulness, it’s a good idea to have a Catholic calendar at home. They clearly mark the days that are obligatory for Mass.
Why is this feast day so important? Many reasons, not least of which is that we should honor the very Mother of God because Christ honors her first. We try to love as Christ loves. But it also reminds us of our own destiny, if we remain faithful to the Lord and His Church. The Blessed Virgin was taken up (assumed) body and soul into Heaven, to be united with Jesus her Son and her Lord, with no corruption of the body at the end of her earthly life. There she reigns with Him and helps draw us to Heaven to be with her Son, constantly interceding for us her children.
Because of the stain of original sin, all of the rest of mankind will experience corruption of the body at death. But when Christ comes again in glory, for those who remained faithful and are among His elect, after any necessary purification, their bodies will be restored and glorified when Jesus Christ returns in glory. Then, the whole multitude who were saved by Christ will be part of the glorious Communion of Saints, physically gathered together with the Blessed Virgin, Queen of all those saints, to worship and adore Jesus Her Son the Lamb of God.
That is an image that holds out great hope and should fill us with joy.
On this day on which we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would like to leave you with a brief meditation from St. Louis de Monfort, an 18th-century French priest who did extraordinary work in promoting devotion to Our Lady. His works on Mary are still very widely read and prayed today. The reflection is from a new magazine entitled Benedictus, from Sophia Institute Press (praybenedictus.com). It’s dedicated to helping people pray and understand the Traditional Mass.
Mary is … indeed … the “living mold of God.” In her alone the God-Man was formed in His human nature without losing any feature of the Godhead. In her alone, by the grace of Jesus Christ, man is made godlike as far as human nature is capable of it. A sculptor can make a statue or a life-like model in two ways: (i) by using his skill, strength, experience and good tools to produce a statue out of hard, shapeless matter; (ii) by making a cast of it in a mold. The first way is long and involved and open to all sorts of accidents. It only needs a faulty stroke of the chisel or hammer to ruin the whole work. The second is quick, easy, straightforward, almost effortless and inexpensive, but the mold must be perfect and true to life and the material must be easy to handle and offer no resistance.
Mary is the great mold of God, fashioned by the Holy Spirit to give human nature to a Man Who is God by the hypostatic union, and to fashion through grace men who are like to God. No godly feature is missing from this mold. Everyone who casts himself into it and allows himself to be molded will acquire every feature of Jesus Christ, true God, with little pain or effort, as befits his weak human condition. He will take on a faithful likeness to Jesus with no possibility of distortion, for the devil has never had and never will have any access to Mary, the holy and immaculate Virgin, in whom there is not the least suspicion of a stain of sin.
Today on this Marian feast day, let us pray through her intercession for the grace to “offer no resistance” to the grace of God and His will, so that, like her, we may be completely docile (“moldable”) to the Holy Spirit and follow the will of Jesus in all things.