Prayers to Our Assumed Mother
We celebrate today the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. I receive more questions about this feast than any other in the Church year. This is the only doctrine that was solemnly declared to be part of the faith through an infallible papal decree. This took place in 1950 when Pope Pius XII declared belief in the Assumption to be part of our Catholic faith. But this feast has always been a belief in the Church. In fact it is one of the favorite themes of Christian artists.
The question that people will often ask is: "Where is this found in scripture that Mary was assumed into heaven?" The answer is in the Church’s explanation of Revelation 11. In this passage we hear about the woman chosen by God who gave birth to a child who was destined to rule the nations. After this we hear that the woman was taken to a place prepared for her by God. The Church declared that this passage is about Mary.
But why should Mary be assumed into heaven? The Church answers that question also. Death and the grisly results of death are the major effects of sin, original sin. When mankind turned away from the Lord of Life, mankind chose death. Mary, from the first moment of her conception within her mother Anne, was always united to God. We call this the Immaculate Conception. Although she had free will and could have chosen to reject God’s invitation to be mother of the Savior, she continually chose God. She suffered being an object of gossip. She suffered having her baby born in a stinky stable. She suffered with him when he was scorned during his ministry. She suffered with him when he was tortured to death. Her entire life was a "Yes" to the Lord. She was not only conceived free from sin, she lived free from sin. Therefore she didn’t experience the effect of sin. At the conclusion of her life her body and soul were united with God. That is the Assumption.
We are in the hurricane season here in Tampa Bay. We have to be vigilant. When we do experience a hurricane we pray that we and our loved ones might survive the storm. We prayed to Mary. And we joined Christians throughout the ages who pray to Mary to help them in difficult times. Many port and fishing cities have Churches dedicated to Mary on the title of Star of the Sea, or some similar title. I once attended Mass in Barcelona, Spain at the Church of Mary, Star of the Sea. As I prayed there I felt that my voice joined with people throughout the centuries who prayed to Mary to watch over their loved ones out at sea, or wherever.
Why? Why do we pray to Mary? We pray to Mary because she is our mother. When we were little and we fell down and scraped out knees, we called out to our Mommies. When we got older we stopped calling out to our Moms in time of minor difficulties, but when major traumas hit, when a girl loses a baby, when a young man learns that he has cancer, it is usually Mom who is still the first person they call to for help.
Jesus gave Mary to us to be our Mother. He wants us to call upon our Mom in times of need. She wants us to call upon her for help.
And that is what we are doing today. We are praying to Mom, to Mary, to come and help us.