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Assumption, August 15

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/08/13 at 8:00 AM

• If we are serious about our devotion to Mary, we must bear a special love for her in our hearts, constantly asking for her prayers, and completely entrusting ourselves to her just as little children fly without reserve into the arms of their mothers.

• And believe me, we have every reason to entrust ourselves to her maternal protection.

• Our first reading today gives us a rather interesting view of the Blessed Mother. The Book of Revelation describes her as “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

• In other words she is clothed in supernatural glory, a glory that is the reward of her perfectly sinless life.

• We know by faith that our Lord preserved Mary from all stain of original sin, and thus she was immaculately conceived. And we know by faith that God the Father gave Mary this particular grace so that she would be a fitting mother for His Son, Jesus Christ.

• Because Mary lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s will, because she perfectly fulfilled all that our Lord asked of her, God further honored Mary at the end of her life by assuming her, body and soul, into heaven.

• And it is this great mystery that the Church ponders and celebrates today. Although this mystery is not something that the human mind could know by its own natural power, this is a truth revealed by God and contained with the deposit of faith.

• Pope Pius XII defined this dogma infallibly in 1950, and thus it is a tenet of faith that Catholics are obliged to believe.

• The beauty of this feast is that our Lady’s Assumption is a foreshadowing of the perfection that the Church hopes to reach! Mary is an image of the Church as it will be in eternity! Thus, Mary’s Assumption is a great sign of hope for all Christians.

• The bodily glorification of Mary is an anticipation of the glorification that awaits all of the elect! Thus today is a day of great rejoicing for all mankind.

• One of the other interesting elements about the depiction of Mary from our first reading is that we see her juxtaposed against a “huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns”, whom the Church has always identified as satan.

• What we learn from this juxtaposition of Mary and satan is that our Lady is intimately involved in the battle between good and evil, a battle that we know will be eventually won by our Lord and His heavenly host.

• Curiously, the belief in satan and evil spirits has been downplayed by many in recent decades. However, our Church has always been steadfast in the belief that satan and other evil spirits exist.

• In fact, the reference in today’s first reading that the dragon’s “tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky” has been interpreted by Church Fathers to refer to the angels that followed satan in rebelling against God, and who are now demons.

• Our Catholic faith teaches us that satan and his evil minions are completely and wholly malicious entities. They are predators who prowl the earth “seeking whom they may devour.” Indeed, they seek to devour the souls of all mankind.

• And whether we know it or believe it, they are constantly looking for ways to lead us away from God, from His will, and most importantly from God’s mercy and love. In ordinary circumstances they do this by tempting us to sin.

• They observe us and know our weaknesses and faults, and they are utterly pernicious in using our weaknesses against us, hoping to lead us into mortal sin, which drives God from our souls and cuts us off from His mercy for as long as we persist in mortal sin.

• While the evil one and his cohorts may certainly seem fearsome at times, we must not allow our fear of them to consume us or rule us.

• Today’s feast reminds us that God has designed us for Heaven! Regardless of the vocation He has chosen for us to live out our lives on earth, He desires that all of us go to Heaven when we die.

• Today’s reading from John’s Revelation teaches us that in addition to St. Michael the Archangel and all of the angels, we also have our Lady to help us in our personal struggle against sin and evil.

• Like a good mother Mary desires to wrap each of us in her protective mantle, shielding us from the wickedness and snares of the evil one.

• She prays for each of us by name, begging her divine Son for all the graces we need to fight off the temptations of the evil one.

• And when do fail and fall into sin, Mary gently prompts us to reconcile with our Lord in the confessional so that we may be healed of our spiritual infirmities and once again be counted amongst God’s children.

• Thus she is the known as the Help of Christians and the Refuge of Sinners. She is the tender Mother of Fairest Love, and yet she is as awesome as an army in battle array.

• Therefore, we should be quick to place ourselves under her protection, affectionately invoking her holy name for all of our needs.

• My brothers and sisters, as we celebrate this magnificent feast in honor of our Lady, let us give thanks to our Lord for the great gift of His Mother.

• Let us thank her for all the times she has interceded for us, protecting us from evil and procuring for us the graces we need to avoid sin and grow in holiness. And let us learn to honor her as our mother and as the model of all we are called to be as God’s children.

Copyright 2010 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC

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