August 15, 2018
Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi
A teacher asks his students: “Who can tell me what the Solemnity of the Assumption is about?” A little boy offers this response, “It means that Mary was so holy that we just assume she went to Heaven.”
This little boy’s response connects with the Gospel passage from Luke proclaimed on this holy day. Mary’s holiness flows from this simple truth— she does ordinary things with extraordinary love.
We are called to do the ordinary day-to-day things with love, and what happens without us ever being fully aware of it is God works through us to bring His Son into the world. God does great things in and through us when we respond with simple deeds of love for those we encounter in our daily lives. Matthew Kelly speaks about this in terms of “moments of holiness”.
We mistakenly think that holiness is made up of extraordinary acts of sacrificial love every day, when the truth be told, holiness comes from ordinary acts of love every day. There is no way that every hour of our life can be filled with extraordinary deeds of faith, hope, and love, but there are moments each day when we can ask what another needs and act. This is the road to holiness, the path to abundant life.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, upon hearing that Elizabeth is pregnant, asks a simple question: “What does my cousin Elizabeth need?” In doing so, Mary leaves behind her own concerns and affairs and goes to Elizabeth’s side. When a visit seems appropriate, Mary acts. No piddling around here. She goes in haste to the hill country to help her elderly cousin Elizabeth in her time of need.
We should not ignore the simple ordinary things that in the end, when taken all together, make a person great, noble, or holy. Mary is taken body and soul into heaven as a consequence of an ordinary life lived by a mother and faithful servant of God. For Mary and for us, it will be the ordinary days that determine who we are.
The pattern here is asking and acting. What does someone need followed by an action responding to that need. The result is something more than we might imagine, for like pregnant Mary we bring Christ to others, to everyone we serve.
When Mary is visited by the archangel Gabriel, she is told she will be the mother of the Son of God. She has to trust that this will happen through the power of the Spirit, the mysterious workings of the Spirit. She is not told that her son will be tortured, executed on a cross, and rise again. She says “Yes” to a future she does not know. But the One she says “Yes” to, the God of the covenant, is worthy of her trust.
Mary does not try to figure it out. She trusts that God’s promises to her will be fulfilled. She is an example of letting God do God’s work, without trying to figure it out. Sometimes I think we spend too much time trying to figure out life instead of trusting that God will work it out.
When we can pray with Mary’s response of trust at the beginning of the day, “Let your will be done in me” and seek to carry out that will by asking and acting, then at the end of the day we will moved another step forward on our long journey home. Then at the end of our life we will find an open door in the home of heaven.
For the glory of Mary assumed bodily into heaven is simply a preview or foretaste of our glory. Her risen body is with the risen body of Christ her Son in the new creation. So it shall be for us who say “Yes” to the love of God by acting in ordinary ways of love.