Today, 15 Aug 2012, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. It is a day when we can entrust the deepest desires of our hearts into her intercession, knowing that today of all days prayers will be answered, and answered powerfully. For today is the day we recall that God answered the deepest prayer of Mary’s heart – to be united forever to her Son, face to face, in the wondrous glory of Heaven.
Can you imagine with what intense longing Mary desired Heaven after seeing the joy, glory and wonder of her risen Son? Can you imagine all the preparations that went on in Heaven to welcome her? Can you imagine how Heaven sparkled with happiness when she arrived? Can you imagine how amazing it was for her to experience the fullness of her relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit for the first time? If you can, then you will have some idea about how fervently all Heaven celebrates the anniversary of Our Lady’s entrance into that longed for place.
That is why this Feast day is the joy and the hope of the dying members of the Church, who, like Mary, increasingly long to enter through Heaven’s gates. That is why this Feast day sees so many happy souls freed from Purgatory. That is why this Feast day consoles all of those who are waiting for God to answer their prayers, and helps us make our times of waiting fruitful.
Yet, how sad it is that so many priests don’t know how to preach on Feast days like this. Perhaps the priest today wanted to leave the school children with only one simple thought – that of Mary’s generosity – and inspiring though that is, there was so much more that could have been said. Sitting in the pews sometimes a person can get the feeling that a priest is uncomfortable in his relationship with Our Lady. Let us pray heaps for priests such as these, because leading people to her maternal heart is the sure route to leading them to Jesus and to holiness.
On this Feast day, too, let us decide not to dumb down the faith to our children and our teenagers. They need to know about Heaven, and they need to know how to get there. Why can’t we give them hymns to sing that aren’t banal? Why can’t we give them hymns to sing that have decent doctrinal content? How does singing the school song as an Entrance hymn prepare them properly to enter into the sacred Liturgy? Surely ‘Firmly I believe and truly’, or something similar, would do a far better job? Do the dreadfully dumbed down Eucharistic Prayers for Children really help them? Do the shockingly bad ‘children’s translations’ of the Scriptures really assist their understanding? Our youngsters deserve to be inspired with truth, holiness and virtue.
May Our Lady assumed into Heaven obtain all the graces that we need, the children, the young, the not so young, and the old, for us to follow her Son Jesus in such a way that the gates of Heaven will open swiftly to us when our time comes to pass from this world to the next.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. Amen.