The Blessed Virgin, Cause of Our Joy | A Homily on the Solemnity of the Assumption

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“Mary has been taken up to heaven by God in body and soul, and the angels rejoice.” Joy overtakes both angels and men. Why is it that we feel today this intimate delight, with our heart brimming over, with our soul full of peace? Because we are celebrating the glorification of our mother, and it is only natural that we her children rejoice in a special way upon seeing how the most Blessed Trinity honors her.

It was on Calvary that Christ, her most blessed Son and our brother, gave her to us as our mother, when he said to St John: “Behold your mother.” And we received her, along with the beloved disciple, in that moment of supreme grief. The blessed Virgin embraced us in her suffering, as the ancient prophecy was fulfilled: “And a sword shall pierce your own soul.” We are all her children, she is the Mother of all mankind. And now, the whole human race commemorates her ineffable assumption. Mary is welcomed to heaven: the Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Greater than she no one but God.

A MYSTERY OF LOVE

We face here a mystery of love. Human reason barely begins to comprehend. Only faith can shed some light on how a creature can be raised to such great heights, becoming a loving target for the delights of the Trinity. We know this is a divine secret. Yet because our Mother is involved, we feel we can understand it more — if we are entitled to speak this way — than other truths of our faith.

How would we have acted, if we could have chosen our own mother? I’m sure we would have chosen the one we have, adorning her with every possible grace. That is what Christ did. Being all-powerful, all-wise, Love itself, his power carried out his will.

See how Christians discovered long ago this train of thought. St John Damascene writes: “It was fitting that she who in childbirth preserved intact her virginity should preserve without corruption her body after the conclusion of her earthly life. It was fitting that she who bore in her womb the creator become a babe should dwell in the divine mansion. It was fitting that the spouse of God be taken to the heavenly home. It was fitting that she who witnessed her Son on the cross, suffering in her heart then the pain she was spared in childbirth, should contemplate him seated at the right hand of the Father. It was fitting that the Mother of God come to possess what belongs to her Son and that she be honored as Mother and Servant of God by all creatures.”

Theologians have frequently come up with similar reasons to explain in some way the meaning of the abundant graces showered upon Mary and culminating in her assumption to heaven. They put it this way: “It was fitting; God could do so; therefore he did.” This is the clearest reason why our Lord granted his Mother, from the very moment of her immaculate conception, all possible privileges. She was free from the power of Satan. She is beautiful, spotless and pure in soul and body.

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“The Blessed Virgin, Cause of Our Joy” is an excerpt from the homily given by St Josemaria Escriva on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15, 1961).  The homily is published by Scepter Publishers in the book “Christ is Passing By”.

St. Josemaria Escriva

St. Josemaria Escriva, priest and founder of Opus Dei, was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and declared the “saint of the ordinary” for his example and teachings on the value of work and daily life as the path to holiness in the middle of the world.

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