Ariel Hobbs, The Catholic University of America
The Assumption of Mary has been taught for years since the early teachings of the Church, although only having become dogma in 1950. A Holy Day of Obligation and a feast day for both Eastern and Roman Catholics, this celebration allows us to truly understand how important and special of a person Mary is. This feast stems from the Apostles’ belief that she had been assumed into heaven bodily after St. Thomas asked for her tomb to be opened and no body was found (Crux Now). In the Eastern churches, this feast is referred to as the Dormition focusing on the eternal, heavenly sleep in which Mary was assumed body and soul together into heaven.
One of the important comments the Pope made when proclaiming this dogma ex cathedra was that, unlike Christ’s Ascension which occurred of his own power, Mary was lifted up into the heavens by God’s grace. Such highlighting of the passivity of the Assumption makes a touching example of Mary as the ultimate model of what it means to be a woman. Even the Assumption, an event that showcases the graceful end to her sinless, earthly life, is receptive and graceful. A tender reception of grace that is so dearly characteristic of femininity for women to look up to in imitation of Mama Mary. When reflecting on the culmination of Mary’s earthly life, I would describe it as very reminiscent of Mary’s first yes, her fiat. God’s grace was clearly enough and sufficient for Mary at every moment in her life. So too should we find God’s grace sufficient for us, understanding that he has a plan for each of us.
When I attended the Vigil Mass last night in celebration of this feast, I was struck by the reading in Revelation which described the stars aligning for the virgin to conceive a king. (Cool story – there’s some neat star alignments at Jesus’ birth and death that line up biblically, but that’s for another article!) It made me ponder Mary’s life leading up to the Assumption and what God can do through me as an instrument of his grace if I only let him. Today, in honor of the Feast of the Assumption, ask yourself a few questions. 1) How can you imitate Mary’s reception of God’s grace in your own life? 2) How can you incorporate Marian reflection into your spiritual journey, and specifically, the Feast of the Assumption? and… 3) What impact does Mary have on your life as a spiritual mother or role model?
Dogma information found at: https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2017/08/15/history-assumption-holy-day-obligation/