Assumption of the BVM 2019
On 14th August, 1972, very late at night, I arrived in Athens, having travelled by train and boat. On waking the following morning, I made my way into the city to find that everything was closed: it was the Feast of the Dormition of Our Lady, the term which the Orthodox use for the Assumption, and Greece was holding festival.
And so it should—and so should we, for this is our feast. It is our feast because it is a feast of Our Lady, and she is OUR Lady, because she is ours.
More than that though: it is a feast of the Church, because Mary is a member of the Church. She is the first member, the first to bring the Son of God into the world; the only truly faithful member. Mary represents the Church—indeed, IS the Church, at its best. She is always what we are called to be—what we shall be, in eternity.
Thus, the Assumption is not only about Mary: it is also about us, the Church. What we believe about Mary, we believe about the whole Church. Mary has been assumed body and soul into heaven, and we ARE TO BE assumed body and soul into heaven. Elizabeth pronounced Mary to be blessed because she believed that what was promised her by the Lord would be fulfilled. We are blessed if we believe that what has been promised to us by the Lord will be fulfilled, that we shall be raised from the dead.
In the Assumption of Our Lady, we see the fulfilment of that promise, for she is the first of the redeemed, the representative of the Church. The woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, is Mary, but she is also the new Israel, the Church, personified in her. She has been raised to share her Son’s glory, not simply on her own behalf, but on ours. She is what we are called to be. Rightly we rejoice in her feast because she is ours, she is us, and her feast is ours.