One of the things that we can readily see when we think about God and creation is that God seems to love variety. Just think about our own state here in New Hampshire at the northern most point of it we have almost boreal forest and 2 1/2 hours south will put you on the beach next to the ocean. As a result there is a wide variety of trees, creatures, insects, terrain, soil — all of which seem to fit a specific niche that in turn contributes to the health of the state, and the larger environment. We see the same variety and specialization in the spiritual world as well saraphim, cherubim, principalities, angels and archangels. This weekend on the Assumption of Mary we have an opportunity to focus on one of God’s most unique, beautiful and important creations our Blessed Mother Mary. The liturgy this weekend invites us to think deeply about who Mary is, what she has done and what she continues to do for us to this very day.
Blessed Mary is born of two parents just like you and me. However, God did something just a little different in her formation because she was not touched by the corruption of original sin. Based on this observation, it is apparent that God had something very specific in mind for Mary. This does not mean however that she was predestined to say yes to everything that God would offer or desire. Like us, Mary was given a free will, and we see this will exercised as she is greeted by the angel who proposes what God would like to do. She could’ve said no, but she didn’t. Instead, she gives her consent and becomes the vessel by which God will be made flesh. Just let that sink in for a moment — Mary’s womb becomes the place where the God, who created all that is, will reside for nine months; Mary’s womb becomes the vessel by which love, in its most perfect form, lives. Mary must have been an extraordinary person with extraordinary capabilities to be the vessel of God’s supreme love and presence. Mary must also be an incredible woman of faith and trust in God‘s goodness because when she said yes she had no idea where it would lead or what it would require. She had no idea that towards the end of her pregnancy she and her husband would have to trek many miles from home for a census. She had no way of knowing that she would give birth to her child in a manger far from her home. She was not even given the option of the comfort of family after she gave birth because she and her husband had to go to a foreign land in order to protect their son from those who wanted to kill him.
Scriptures to tell us that Joseph, Mary and Jesus did move back closer to home and lived a pretty ordinary life. Mary is present as Jesus makes his way into his ministry. She saved a young couple from social embarrassment when she realizes at a wedding that the wine is going to run out and and then request of her son Jesus that he address this problem of the wine and she instructs the stewards to listen to him and follow his directions. Once again, Mary is present in Jesus‘s life when she meets him as Jesus carries his cross and stands beneath that cross during his passion. Can you imagine the kind of strength and faith it must have taken for her to stand there, watching her flesh and blood die such a violent death? All through this there is no evidence that Mary becomes upset or angry with what happens to her son. It is our belief that at the end of her life that Mary is assumed into heaven, body and soul, where she hears our prayers and brings them to the attention of her son that are suffering and pain may be relieved. In addition to that, Mary is the for us the model of what it means to be a truly well-ordered human being, a model of perfect discipleship, perseverance, complete acceptance and trust in the will of God.
This weekend, Heavenly Father, we thank you for this most precious gift our Blessed Mother Mary and for her continued intercessions for us. Out of gratitude we lift our voices to you as we say:
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.