2cornucopias

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/08/15 at 12:00 AM

Many years ago when our Lord had made it clear to me that becoming a Catholic was His will for my life, I decided to convert out of a sense of obedience to His will.

 

While my own studies of Catholicism had led to me understand that the Catholic Church is indeed the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself, I didn’t yet believe everything contained within our Catholic faith.

Specifically, I didn’t yet believe in two very important things: the Eucharist, and the Church’s teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Once I made the decision to obey God and enter the Church, despite my reservations on the Eucharist and Mary, our blessed Lord gifted me with some incredible graces, and I was very suddenly brought to an understanding of the Eucharist the very first time I went to Adoration and Benediction. It was pure grace, and it was remarkable.

Coming to grips with Mary wasn’t so easy, though. Raised as a Methodist with a firm belief that all of us are sinners in need of God’s mercy, and not finding direct biblical support for Marian dogmas, I struggled to accept the Church’s teachings on Mary.

But over time I realized that since the Church was right on everything else I had previously questioned, Holy Mother Church was most probably right about Mary!

So despite my emotional misgivings and doubts, I made an act of the will simply to accept the Church’s teachings on Mary: that she was immaculately conceived, that she was perpetually a virgin, and that she was assumed body and soul into Heaven.

But perhaps even more important than this act of the will was an act of love and devotion that I made, too. Specifically, I began to pray the Rosary every day, and I began asking our Lady to reveal herself to me.

I think in my naïveté, I was hoping Mary would appear to me like she did to the children of Fatima or to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, but I’m sorry to report that so far in my life, I have not yet received a Marian apparition.

But even though I haven’t had an apparition, I can tell you that over the past 20 years that I’ve been a Catholic, and most especially in these past 8 years that I’ve been a priest, Mary has been revealing herself to me as she does to all souls who ask for this.

What I’ve learned is this: that Mary is indeed the Immaculate Mother of our Lord, the pure and virginal spouse of the Holy Spirit. I’ve learned that she is both the fairest honor of our race, and yet as awesome as an army in battle array.

Our Lady is unmatched in virtue and unsurpassed in holiness. She is without comparison in her beauty, and she is without rival in her capacity to obtain divine favors. She is unequaled in her love for God, and she is unwavering in her love for us.

Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that every grace our dear Lord has given to me has come through her hands. Because she is so perfectly united with our Lord, and our Lord is always with us, Mary is always with us, too.  My fervent hope is that all of you will come to this realization, too!

While today we celebrate our blessed Lady’s assumption, body and soul, into Heaven so thatshe might be crowned queen of Heaven and earth, we know that, as St. Thérèse once said, Mary is more mother than queen.

Today, as we celebrate Mary’s glorious assumption into Heaven, we rejoice not only for this crowning gift of grace that she so worthily deserves. We rejoice, too, because Mary shows us the way to Heaven, and she so capably aids us on our journey there.

In our chapel is a marvelous painting of Mary as the Immaculate Conception. Much of what is depicted in that painting comes right out of our first reading: she is the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

Shining with holiness, Mary is clothed with purity and adorned with the jewels of virtue. Thus, our blessed Lady shows us that we place ourselves on the path to Heaven by the earnest pursuit of personal holiness.

By shunning all vices and cultivating the virtues, most especially the virtues of humility, obedience, and charity; and by seeking purity of mind and body as well as purity of intention in all things, we become properly disposed to cooperate with God’s saving grace.

And because she so desires that we achieve the level of holiness her divine Son has destined for us, Mary helps us to do all this! Like a good mother, Mary teaches all of her children the ways of humility, obedience, and love.

When we give ourselves to her unreservedly, when we entrust our souls to her maternal care, Mary helps us to be pure, she enflames our hearts with love for God, and she helps us to persevere in following God’s will.

Mary also consoles us when we fail, she picks us up when we fall, she enables us to ask for forgiveness, and she always leads us back to her Son. But she doesn’t stop there!

Our painting in the chapel also shows Mary with her foot firmly on the head of the serpent, an image taken from Genesis 3:15, and a reminder of the battle between her and the dragon mentioned in our reading from Revelation.

This reading reminds us 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 angels.

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

My brothers and sisters, for the past 33 days many of us in this parish have been preparing to consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary. After Mass today we will pray together our prayer of consecration.

We will renew our baptismal vows, and we will give ourselves totally to Mary and ask that she make use of us according to God’s divine will.

As your pastor, I solemnly promise you, that if you are faithful to your consecration promise throughout your life, you will go to Heaven at the end of your life.

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 each one entrust ourselves whole-heartedly to her maternal care, and when our life on earth is over, may we follow her with great joy into the everlasting life of Heaven.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

15 August 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

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