The Assumption: We Pray to our Mother in Heaven
Although the dogma of the Assumption is a relatively new declaration by the Church, made by Pope Pius XXII in 1950, the belief in the Assumption is one of the oldest and first beliefs in the Church regarding Mary. Instead of using the word Assumption, though, the early Church used the word, Dormition. Mary fell asleep in God’s hands where she remains united with Him in heaven. Actually, the Assumption of Mary was one of the most popular themes in the religious art of the medieval times. In those days when plague and class turmoil dominated life, the people were reminded that just as Mary is in God’s hands, the faithful Christian will join God.
In the second reading for the vigil, St. Paul states that death is swallowed up by the victory of Jesus. Physical death is a transformation from one manner of living to another. A few verses before this reading, we have the second reading for the feast itself. In this Paul explains that since the first man became the instrument of death, by rejecting God, the new Adam, Jesus Christ, became the instrument of life.
It is in this light that we come to an understanding of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Her death was a transformation from this life to the next. She is the model Christian who heard the Word of God and lived it. She carried the life of God within her, celebrated the life of her Son on earth and in His resurrection, and is united to His life for all eternity.
The bottom line of the feast is this: Mary is in heaven. The one who is our mother is with God for all eternity. Our prayers to Mary are the prayers of children asking their mother for help. 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 called upon 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 our mother Mary to help us. Help our country make moral choices. Help our people to ascend beyond the sex culture,. Help us to reflect her Son’s Love to all.
We Catholics have got to stop being over concerned with the misinterpretations and out and out lies perpetuated by anti-Catholics, sadly, some of whom claim to be Christian. We don’t worship Mary. We do pray to her. We recognize her love and care in our lives. We say the Rosary meditating on the mysteries of her Son and asking Mary to pray for us sinners. We recognize that it is Jesus’s life and power that saves us, but we also recognize that Mary was given to us at the foot of the cross as our mother. We call upon her to pray to her son, Jesus, to extend the various manifestations of His Love to us.
O Mary, Assumed into heaven, pray for us, your children, who are fighting the attacks of sin.